Behind every great brand is a critical, creative force that holds the brand to the qualities that set it apart. This force won’t tolerate mediocrity, half-ass execution, or excuses. It’s a force that radically differentiates the brand from the commodity approach of “good enough.” The “good enough” approach leads to products strewn across discount aisles, or piled in remainder bins.
Commodities are “good enough.” Brands are special.
Commodities are “good enough.” That’s why they’re commodities. Brands are special. And when it comes to delivering a special user experience, at the personal level of touch and feel and interaction, small details become amazingly large.
Details make the brand
As a case in point of details that make the brand, we might consider the new Zune HD, pictured above. See where I’ve outlined the word “marketplace.” The review site RantsAndStuff noticed that the full word “marketplace” doesn’t fit on the screen. The final “e” is truncated. Yep. Chopped in half. Read their article for their comments and the comments of others on how this “little” detail makes a big difference.
It’s the little things like this that make me wonder what else did they not pay that much attention to. They couldn’t have dropped the menu font just a tad to make it fit on the screen? I know I’m nitpicking but shouldn’t someone at Microsoft also be nitpicking this kind of thing?
Of course, brand details are not really “nits.” Brand details are the brand.
In Microsoft’s defense (sort of)
In Microsoft’s defense, the new Zune HD hasn’t been officially released yet, so flaws we see now can still be fixed. Engadget checked it out, with a video, too. So did TechFlash on 8/13. Official release date is September 15, 2009.
The question remains, however: Why send out a pre-release PR picture of a flawed product? First impressions are brand impressions. Why advertise your flaws? It’s not a good sign when the builders of a brand are less attentive than prospective customers.