It is widely known that product design is important in consumers’ evaluation of goods. However, managers and researchers do not fully understand the broad values that design creates for consumers and how these values create preference for a product. Based on work by Holbrook, other researchers and this work on “consumer value,” it is shown that product design can create four types of broad based values: (1) Social (2) Altruistic (3) Functional and (4) Emotional (SAFE values).
Here we explore how product designers can create the SAFE values and embed them into the product through the new product development process. It also empirically evaluates how well the initial design goals of the product designers are implemented in the final developed product and explores the factors that help or impede this implementation. The developed product is then evaluated by consumers from the target market of the product to assess the effectiveness with which they perceive the values the designers embedded into the product. In this context, it also evaluates the role of consumer expectations.
Longitudinal multiple informant data were collected on 62 different products in the new product development process over a period of one year and were analyzed. The results indicate that product design does, indeed, create the SAFE values and that the product designer is central to this value creation. The analysis showed NPD creativity, cross functional integration and experience as important factors that can help designers overcome resource constraints and bring their initial visions of value in the products, to reality.
The research shows that when the vision of the designer is more successfully manifested in the final product, it is more likely that the consumer will perceive the values as they were intended to be perceived. This research finds that user centered market research is key in informing designers about the needs of the target market and bringing their conception of value closer to the target market’s conception of value. This type of creative and user centered approach of bringing new products or service ideas to the target market will define how products are created and marketed for years to come.