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What’s your brand?

See my updated, expanded post here:

What Brand R U?


[I’m leaving the original post below for the record.]

Was it a confusing icon? Was it a term used on different screens to mean different things? Was it a layout that could have been more logical? I don’t remember what I was pointing out to the product manager in charge of this device-in-development, but his reply seared itself onto my psyche. He might as well have said “Customers be damned.”

brand ironWhat he said (did he shrug?) was this: “People will get used to it.”

Maybe he thought the fix would have cost too much or would have delayed delivery. Business decisions involve trade-offs. I get that. What burned — a company’s brand is called a brand for a reason — was the unmistakable couldn’t-care-less attitude toward the user experience.

Some writers have a similar attitude toward their readers. The attitude sounds like “They’ll know what I mean” or “They’ll figure it out.”

True. They will. They’ll also figure out that the writer figured they would.

  1. Wendy Hood
    March 4, 2011 at 5:53 am

    So true. If you don’t consider your audience (what do they already know about your topic, what are their questions likely to be, what words might they not understand?), you should not be surprised if your audience doesn’t get your message. For a business this translates directly into money lost.

  2. Doug Eaton
    April 29, 2011 at 4:59 am

    The sad truth is that “people do get used to it.” We accept mediocrity in a thousand ways. What was that Mr. Thoreau said about “the mass of men”?

    It’s generally safer to stick with what we got used to. It’s true in relationships and politics. Why would we expect more of technology and prose?

    In the case above about a product feature, the fact that something “burned” is what counts. A dialogue in which an intelligent human being says “People will get used to it” is a difficult one worth having. Such dialogues create the tension that leads to superior solutions. Sometimes, during such a discussion, Elegance raises its lovely head, and, generally speaking, Elegance is hard to resist.

    • April 29, 2011 at 11:39 am

      Doug, Love your point about Elegance even (and especially) in the face of difficult conversations. Elegantly stated.

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