WORKING WITH DESIGNERS: MAKE SURE YOU GET THE BRIEF RIGHT

WORKING WITH DESIGNERS: MAKE SURE YOU GET THE BRIEF RIGHT

We are big fans of Malcolm Gladwell. So we thought we would share one of this stories to illustrate a point. Howard Moskowitz is a market researcher and was briefed by Pepsi to help them create ‘the perfect cola’. Howard failed. He never found the perfect cola. He thought he had failed. He hadn’t. He hadn’t been given the correct brief.  He realized that he should have been finding the perfect colas. He applied the same thinking to Spaghetti sauce and created brand leaders and a way of thinking that revolutionized the food industry (you can watch the TED talk at the bottom of this post). That’s why when you go into a supermarket, you now have endless variations on products. How many different flavors of hummus can you buy these days? The point is that sometimes the brief is wrong. Pepsi wanted to change their product to increase sales. They were asking for a solution to the wrong problem. If you commission a designer, you will get the best out of them if you if you treat them like a creative partner rather than a supplier. Sometimes they may come at a problem from a different angle, sometimes the wrong problem has been defined in a brief. • Good design is an answer to a problem. One of the main things we’re asked to do is to make a product or service stand out. But what if the main problem isn’t looking different from your competition? What if potential customer’s perception of your product doesn’t match what you’re actually offering? What if the proposition, positioning or even name is wrong?...
WHAT DO ROOF TILES & CARS HAVE IN COMMON?

WHAT DO ROOF TILES & CARS HAVE IN COMMON?

  If you haven’t heard the news already your answer might be nothing. That certainly would have been the case less than 15 years ago. On Friday, Elon Musk unveiled the new solar roof tiles that Tesla and Solar City are bringing to the market (Tesla is due to take over Solar City). Why will you buy a car and roof tiles from the same company? Once it’s clear that we’re talking about electric cars and solar roof tiles from Tesla, the answer seems obvious, but that wouldn’t have been the case just a couple of decades ago. After all, it was just 2001 when a computer company successfully launched and started selling what’s become the most successful mp3 music player, 2 products that on paper, you wouldn’t buy from the same company. The real questions should perhaps be, what do Tesla and Apple have in common? The answer is they both know their why. Apple believes in thinking differently, in designing products that aren’t just beautiful but also easy to use. That’s why they can be a computer shop, a music shop, a phone company and a watch company at the same time. Tesla also knows its why, they want “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy”. What they believe in determines and inspires what they do, that’s why buying a car, a home battery and solar roof tiles from them presents no contradiction. Don’t get us wrong, brands are not the latest church, with followers that congregate around a shared belief blinding following their leader. Noble principles are not enough, ultimately, if your product and/or service isn’t as good or better than the...