Amazingly, brands and agencies are still slowly and expensively turning out websites no-one cares about and campaigns no-one wants. Using a mixture of lean startup methodologies, creativity and software engineering techniques, you can use rapid prototyping to quickly create new digital products & services that consumers actually want to engage with.
Speed isn’t the only reason to rapid prototype
Using powerful techniques for ideation, iterative design & development and live user-testing you can go to market with something that you know is relevant to your customers.
This is way better than taking a punt on an unproven campaign concept then crossing your fingers and hoping it catches fire. No-one can afford to behave like that anymore.
Spending less time and budget during the development phase should also mean that you have money left to optimise in-market. No more finger-crossing.
Great ideation is very important. Strong ideas based on good insight are the platform you need to make awesomeness happen. Getting your r&d/science/medical people involved at the ideation stage and talking to real customers right from the start are potent ingredients for good ideation.
Iterative design & development
Agile projects are executed in a series of rapid, iterative cycles or ‘sprints’. By breaking the project into a series of releases it allows ‘product owners’ on the client side to make quick decisions, uncover the winning ideas and tune out the stuff that doesn’t matter. This combination of empowerment and constant refinement creates velocity.
We’re increasingly using live user-testing of prototypes in our work, up to and including prototypes that real customers are driven to from search campaigns. As long as the experience is handled correctly and the brand is protected, testing with real users in a live environment offers offers tremendous insight. By looking like the proposed real thing, acting like the real thing and even offering useful real interactions and content you can very quickly stress-test the real-world relevance of a proposed service/product/app.
Below is a great example of Nordstrom’s in-house innovation team rapid prototyping a customer service app and testing it live with real customers.
Managing stakeholders & compliance
Managing stakeholders takes a combination of design leadership and expert project management. Crucially, it also provides a way to get stakeholders involved through co-creation – in our experience this is the single most powerful tool for getting buy-in. Over the course of (typically) 3 sprints you need a narrowing basket of options backed up by an evidence base for the choices you’re making. Powerful ideation should give you a range of options so stakeholders feel comfortable to progress. Rapid prototyping demonstrates progress and multi-variate testing should give you the ammunition to back your decisions.
Managing compliance is primarily about good project management. Identify the lead time legal will require to make decisions and building it into the project plan. Make sure you keep the legal team briefed as the project progresses and work with them to identify what you can prototype and test without coming up against legal issues.
Before you try to run, walk the dog.
This is a new approach to marketing and you need to learn how to develop a distinctive brand response. If you have a risk-averse culture you might want to try it out first on one of the languishing brands in your portfolio. Doing your learning on a non-critical brand can give you an easier ride.
In part 3, we’ll look at why you must think omnichannel when you plan your campaigns.
If you missed it, click here to find out why you should create products and services instead of campaigns.
Joylab creates digital products and services for brands. We specialise in:
- Ideation workshops
- Collaboration with in-house teams
- Omnichannel strategy: online, mobile, in-store
- Rapid prototyping and live user-testing