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Making Meaning


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In a market economy characterized by commoditized products and global competition, how do companies gain deep and lasting loyalty from their customers? The key, this book argues, is in providing meaningful customer experiences.

Writing in the tradition of Louis Cheskin, one of the founding fathers of market research, the authors of Making Meaning observe, define, and describe the meaningful customer experience. By consciously evoking certain deeply valued meanings through their products, services, and multidimensional customer experiences, they argue, companies can create more value and achieve lasting strategic advantages over their competitors. A few businesses are already discovering this approach, but until now no one has articulated it in such a persuasive and practical way. Making Meaning not only encourages businesses to adopt an innovation process that's centered on meaning, it also tells you how. The book outlines a plan of action and describes the attributes of a meaning-centric innovation team. With insightful real-world examples drawn from the Cheskin company's experience and from the authors' observations of the contemporary global market, this book outlines a plan of action and describes the attributes of a meaning-centric innovation team.

Meaningful experiences-as distinct from trivial ones-reinforce or transform the customer's sense of purpose and significance. The authors' vision of a world of meaningful consumption is idealistic, but don't be fooled: this is a straightforward business book with an eye on the ROI. It shows how to bring R&D, design, and marketing together to create deeper and richer experiences for your customers. Making Meaning: How Successful Businesses Deliver Meaningful Customer Experiences is an engaging and practical book for business leaders, explaining how their companies can create more meaningful products and services to better achieve their goals.

About the Author

Steve Diller has more than 20 years of strategy and marketing consulting experience. He leads Cheskin's Experience Design Studio and also drives Cheskin's innovation practice. Diller's impressive roster of clients includes the Washington Post, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, LG and Weight Watchers. He has contributed to numerous books, including The Human-Computer Interaction Handbook, The Principles of Trust, and Newspaper Brand Development and has produced and directed several feature films.

Nathan Shedroff is one of the pioneers of experience design, which has been the focus of his speaking and teaching engagements, his writing, and his professional projects. Part designer, part entrepreneur, he provides strategic thinking and design consultation to companies seeking to provide their customers better experiences in a variety of media, including print, digital, online, and product design. He was twice nominated for a Chrysler Innovation in Design Award, as well as for a National Design Award. Nathan is the program chair of California College of the Art's groundbreaking MBA in Design Strategy. He is also the author of Experience Design I (New Riders).

Darrel Rhea is CEO of the innovation consulting firm, Cheskin and is considered to be one of the world's most influential strategic design consultants. In addition to his work in executive coaching and training for international organizations, over the past 25 years his leverage of research for user-based design has influenced thousands of products, services and brands for the world's leading companies. A frequent keynote speaker to business audiences around the globe, he is a leading advocate for customer-led innovation, design research, and design management practices. Rhea was featured in Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, and won the Jay Doblin Design Award for his contributions to experience design.


"We're now hip-deep, if not drowning, in the 'experience economy.' Here's the smartest book I've read so far that can actually help get your brand to higher ground, fast. And it's written by people who not only drew the map, but blazed these trails in the first place." -Brian Collins, Executive Creative Director, Ogilvy and Mather Worldwide Brand Integration Group "This delightfully clear book is intended to help companies connect real people by placing meaning at the center of a company's "culture of innovation." With wit, intelligence, and humor, Making Meaning is about as far as one can get from the rapaciousness of soulless consumerism. Louis Cheskin must be smiling!" -Brenda Laurel, Ph.D., Distinguished Engineer, Sun Microsystems "A visionary, eye-opening book that tackles the critical emerging question: When everything is possible, what is necessary? Authored by top leaders in the field, it is a must-read for anyone looking towards the future, for it brilliantly illustrates one of the promising keys to business success." -Marco Steinberg, Associate Professor, Harvard University, Graduate School of Design "Turning the ordinary into meaningful is at the core of this innovative book about how to enrich customer experience through powerful insights. It analyses universal meaningful experiences derived from global research. The marketing strategist, the brand manager, the market researcher, the designer, and many others will find in these pages inspiration for actionable improvement of products and services.Making Meaning holds the secrets of powerful marketing. Thank you, Steve, Nathan, and Darrel, for bringing this book to life." -Felipe Korzenny, Ph.D., Director of Graduate Studies, Communication; Director of the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication, Florida State University "Making Meaning is a 'whole brain' innovation process that makes a whole lot of sense." -Brad Casper, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Dial Corporation

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