Karjalainen, Toni-Matti, Nikitas, Alexandros and Rahe, Ulrike (2013) Strategic Design through Brand Contextualization. In: 5th International Congress of International Association of Societies Of Design Research, 26th - 30th August 2013, Tokyo, Japan.

Providing meaningful customer experience is at the core of any successful business activity. Brands can function as vehicles to bundle the ingredients of experience together and give them structure by which consumers are able to understand and interpret products and services. To complement the technical and functional reality and experience, brands create particular narratives around products and services, within the realm of their use experience. This paper aims to contribute to understanding of strategic design and brand contextualization by looking thoroughly into a research-driven student project. The product-service design assignment given to seven teams of four to five post-graduate students was to design a new bike-sharing system, serving the sustainable urban mobility needs of the city of Gothenburg in Sweden. The task was accompanied by a request to create a fictive brand case and specific brand narrative, based on a thorough analysis of pre-selected existing brands. The paper discusses how the teams crafted their brand narratives and how different design and service elements were used to create specific and meaningful brand experiences. In addition to the contribution of the paper to design research and practice, we present a process that might be more widely useful for the education of strategic design and brand management.


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