The 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has just started and thousands of people and brands are carefully watching for the latest and greatest gadgets and tools that are either being released or dreamed. From cars that can park themselves to a Bluetooth monitor that can be attached to a child, there are several interesting things that are being invented.
But the thing is: Do any of these designs actually solve problems?
Product design and art have some similarities. Both can be beautiful. Both can be functional. But the biggest difference, in our opinion, is why they must be done. We think of "Ars Gratia Artis," art for art's sake, because art is part of human expression. Art is what brings enjoyment and emotion into our lives and separates us from the other creations.
But design for design's sake? Not so much.
In many cases, shows like CES are for brands and product developers to posture and show what they are capable of producing and designing. Though there may be several hundred different products being shown, only a sliver of them were thought of because consumers need them. Showing how creative and technologically savvy your design team is can be a good thing, but when it comes to advertising it to your market, we must tackle the ultimate question: What's in it for the consumer?
Yes. Why will they buy the product?
It is interesting, then, that many brands are concerned with being ahead of the technology market when many consumers are trying to "unplug" their lives. Will this disconnect be fixed? We guess time will tell.
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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