The Brand Experience and the Peak-End Rule

Greg Ness  |  August 27, 2008

Credit Michael Johnston

The Peak-End Rule was put forward by psychologist and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman. He postulated that “we judge our past experiences almost entirely on how they were at their peak (pleasant or unpleasant) and how they ended. Virtually all other information appears to be discarded, including net pleasantness or unpleasantness and how long the experience lasted.”

There is a lesson for those who are trying to improve their brand and user experience.

The lesson is that at some point your brand had better “wow” someone with a good experience, and that the final part of the marketing and sales funnel will have a disproportionate amount of impact on the customers’ impressions of your brand.

The online airline reservation process for your trip might have been flawless. The flight may have been on time and had silky smooth air. The airline personnel may have been courteous and helpful. However, if at the end of your flight your luggage doesn’t arrive, that becomes your moment of “peak unpleasantness” and it is also at the end of your brand experience. Chances are that all the other niceties of this trip are disregarded and your bad Peak-End Rule becomes the criteria on which you judge the brand.

If you are looking for ways to improve your overall brand experience, you would benefit most by first defining how you will create a memorable peak experience, and also how you can conclude a customer’s experience with your brand in a clearly positive way.

Posted in: Branding, Customer Experience, Brand, Audience, Message