Posts Tagged new-product-development

The Value of Kindness

In these turbulent and uncertain times, a little kindness goes a long way to creating brand value.

For disenchanted and disenfranchised millennials, and those who share millennial values, an act of kindness has never been more gratefully received. If brands want to create empathy and connection they would do well by looking at how they can show random acts of kindness to lift the mood right now.

Campden Desk Beer dropped at We Work the day after Brexit.

Campden Desk Beer dropped at We Work the day after Brexit.

This is especially true for brands in categories where ‘mood enhancement’ and ‘affiliation’ are motivations they want to own, so when Camden Town Breweries desk dropped beer samples at We Work Southbank, the Friday after a Brexit which had left We Workers shocked into silence, feeling awkward, confused and embarrassed; there were smiles all round.

But it can be bigger than that. When there is an apparent lack of viable trusted leadership and honesty in politics, to be a leader yourself, who shows compassion, is transparent and essentially acts in a way to build a better feeling world, you can also create a way to differentiate and create life-long loyal fans. Boutique brands in artisan food and drink categories such as Camden Town Breweries and Vinomofo have successfully driven this trend until now. One brand KIND, actually stand for acts of kindness. Their manifesto states ‘Our aim is to make the world a little kinder, one snack and act at a time. One simple belief underpins it all: There’s more to business than just profit’. Now doesn’t that make you want to purchase a second delicious snack?

It is worth highlighting that the sharing economy we live in today values genuine acts, and a focus on others – rather than introspective analysis of internal balance sheets. Brands that get this will win and establish a strong platform to nurture in the long term.

Perhaps goodness or kindness should be a tracked value. Brands that display a genuine interest in being better global citizens, in relation to becoming more financially valuable could benefit from a virtuous circle of ‘betterment’. As we explored in our previous article Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, creating consumer habits drives higher customer lifetime value, allows for flexibility for companies to increase prices, and supercharges growth. If we can make a simple gesture of thought and kindness a habit, we will generate goodwill with customers and create value.

In the meantime, We Work enjoyed the Camden Town Breweries beer drop, and no doubt the brand will stay front of mind next time there is cause to visit the bottle shop.

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

Hooked - Habit Forming ProductsHow do you get consumers hooked on your product?

Creating consumer habits drives higher customer lifetime value, allows for flexibility for companies to increase prices, and supercharges growth.

Nir Eyal, writer for TechCrunch, Forbes, Psychology Today, recently authored the book Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products.

Hook is an experience design to connect the user’s problem to your solution with enough frequency to form a habit.

Many of Silicon Valley’s most successful and innovative companies like Facebook have Hook embedded into their products, and the emerging wave of tech superstars, like Meerkat, keep this model in mind during their product development.

Here is a recap of his 4 Part Framework straight from the source. How can you use his framework in your own product development?

  1. Trigger: How does the loop initiate? In the beginning this may be through external triggers (such as an email, notification, icon badge, etc) but through successive loops the user eventually creates internal triggers where a particular thought or emotion will send them back to your product. Usually a person will seek a solution to a negative emotion (pain point) like fatigue, loss, powerlessness, boredom.
    • What is your customer’s internal trigger? What is their itch?
  2. Action: Once the user is aware they need to use your product (through the trigger), what is the simplest action they can perform to get some kind of reward? For example, a Facebook “Like”.
    • BJ Fogg’s equation B= motivation + ability + trigger
    • The 6 factors to increase motivation: Seek Pleasure, Hope, Acceptance, Reduce Fear, Pain, Rejection
    • The 6 factors to increase ability: Time, Money, Physical Effort, Brain Cycles, Social Deviance, Non-routine
  3. Variable reward: How are they rewarded for this behavior? This could be social validation (e.g. “my friends approve!”), collection of material resources (e.g. add a photo to a collection) or personal gratification (e.g. inbox zero). The “variable” part is important – rewards should not always be predictable, encouraging users to repeat the cycle.
    • The unknown is fascinating
    • 3 Types of Reward: Tribe (Social rewards), Hunt (Search for sources), Self (Self-achievement, mastery)
  1. Investment: Finally, the user needs to put something back in to increase the chance of repeating the loop. This could be content (e.g. a book in your Kindle), user entered data (e.g. profile information or linked accounts), reputation (e.g. something to gain a 5 star seller review), or a learned skill (e.g. I’m now really good at this software program). The investment also sets up the trigger to for the next cycle of the loop.

Eyal also cautions the reader in their product development, emphasizing the difference between habit and addiction.  Habit is an impulse behavior done with little or no conscious thought. Addiction is something you want to stop doing but can’t.

As psychology becomes increasingly important in the tech world, we’ve seen many psychologists and those with behavioral economics backgrounds being tapped by Silicon Valley companies to gain deeper insights into the human mind.

However, sometimes businesses exploit the human psyche with tactics to take advantage of how we naturally think and respond as humans. Employing such manipulative tactics will only work so far, as those companies will find that eventually users will grow tired and migrate to more friendly, ethical competitors.

In our efforts to build products that people love and can’t put down, how can we create honestly and kindly, in a way that encourages behaviors that benefit the user?

How to make your idea stick

Sticky Tape

With every company trying to be its own content machine after the rise of the internet and social media, we are inundated with more information than before.

So how can your message stand out from all the white noise?

The Heath brothers wrote Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive While Others Die, a popular book amongst marketers, entrepreneurs, and managers, which explores the concept of “stickiness” – first coined by Malcolm Gladwell in his book The Tipping Point.

The Heath brothers distilled their learnings into 6 principles, creating the acronym SUCCESs (Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Stories).

Here is a recap of the 6 traits that will make your ideas and messages “stickier”:

Simple:
What’s the core message? Can you communicate it with an analogy? A lot of brands want to be one thing, ten things, and everything. Services tell their clients that they are the fastest, the most efficient, the healthiest, the most personalized.  The authors encourage brands to remove excess and really prioritize.

An an example, the authors tell us Southwest’s core message is to be “THE low-cost airline”.  When proposed with the idea to offer dinner to their customers, the CEO decided against it because the main concern was not passenger comfort, but being low-cost. If it didn’t meet that core goal, it was not a priority. Southwest is still today the world’s largest low-cost carrier.

Unexpected:
How can you violate a schema? How can you surprise your audience? Brands need to grab people’s attention so that, like a well-written mystery novel, they will hold on tight, eager to stick with you to the very end.

As an example, the authors describe a commercial where the audience sees a happy family getting into a minivan and cruising through the suburban streets. Then out of nowhere- CRASH! The advertisement to “buckle up” was effective because it violated our schema of real-life neighborhood trips.

Concrete:
Use vivid imagery.  Paint a mental picture. Much research shows that concrete words (like “V-8 engine”) are more memorable than abstract ones (like “high-powered”).

As an example, in the old Aesop’s fable of the fox and the grapes, the fox declares the grapes he was unable to reach are probably sour. Instead of the phrase and lesson “don’t be bitter when you fail”, the term “sour grapes” appears in every language. It’s concrete imagery has remarkable staying power.

Credible:
How do you make your idea believable? You can do this easily by bringing in a true authority. But if you can’t, there are 5 other ways to create credibility:

1) anti-authority (use living proof to show that your product works)

2) concrete details (extensive details=internal credibility)

3) statistics (using data to prove your point)

4) the Sinatra Test (look for one proof that will convince all customers you’re great; named after Sinatra’s famous song New York, New York, where he sings “If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere”; also known as social proof)

5) testable credentials (allow customers to test your product/idea for themselves)

Emotional:
Sticky ideas appeal to our subconscious wishes, desires, and hopes, and inspire people to act.  You need have people take off their analytical hats and show how your ideas are associated with things they really care about.

For example, instead of emphasizing your features (“we have the best seed”), tell people that you’ll give them what they truly desire (“we’ll give you the best lawn”). Empathizing with your target consumer will help you to be in more tune with what will emotionally resonate with them.

Stories:
Why bother telling an entire fable or myth if we can just say the bottom-line moral of the story? Why is “Beware of being bitter when you fail” not as effective as telling the entire fable of the fox and the grapes?

Stories can not only include all the earlier stickiness principles (concrete imagery, emotional resonance, unexpectedness) but they can also create a mental simulation that allows the listener to really internalize the ideas in their mind. If you hear a story, you can more readily retell it to others, as if you experienced it yourself.  It’s the same reason why flight simulators are more effective than flashcards when training pilots.

SUCCESsSimple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, and Stories are the 6 key principles to make an idea really stick with your audience. It is a fantastic book whose examples and lessons can be applied to almost anything in life, no matter what career or industry you are in.

How have you seen these principles work in your own brand communications and product development work?

3 lessons marketers can learn from tech’s open source movement

Unlock Open Source

Open source practices may seem counter-intuitive at first glance. Why would you offer universal access to your product’s design or blueprint for others to build and improve upon?

In Silicon Valley, these open source practices are well established in software development with heavy hitters like Google, Microsoft, Netflix and Amazon having released millions of lines of code to the public and hosted hundreds of projects for the purpose of making greater advancements at faster speeds. It was actually through this development model that Android’s open operating system has gone on to become the world’s largest computing system.

Before you entirely dismiss this development model as one that is only viable for software development, I encourage you to consider the method to the “madness” (Tesla did as they took an unprecedented step of opening up all of their patents in an effort to grow the EV category at large). There are lessons that we, as marketers, can take from the open source movement, and apply to our innovation and product development processes.

Lesson 1: Make your consumers work for you
In the open source model, the users of the system are seen as co-developers, who all have access to the code and can build upon it and fix all the bugs in the software at a faster rate. What if you were to leverage consumers as co-creators of a product/concept brought in to offer feedback early in the development process?

Traditionally consumers are brought in closer to launch to screen ideas, concepts or prototypes that have already been almost completely fleshed out. At this stage, the consumer feedback solicited is often reactionary and limited to only the aspects of the product/service that can be optimized or tweaked versus an overhaul.

Consider the value of inviting consumers to feedback earlier in the process, where there is still flexibility to actually change and adapt the product based on insights from research. Instead of having a functional conversation with consumers about which features, characteristics, functionalities they like/dislike, brands can leverage initial ideas as stimulus to engage in deeper, more meaningful conversations to unearth consumers’ unrealized and unspoken needs, behaviors and motivations. These data points will better inform and guide development as they are grounded in actual needs and behaviors. More so, by bringing consumers into the development process, where they are encouraged to co-create, it starts establishing an emotional connection as they start to feel vested in the actual product and brand itself.

Lesson 2: Greater exposure for better optimization (and reduced risk)
With the open source model since the code is accessible by all users, it is continuously analyzed by a large community, which results in more secure and stable code. What if traditional NPD opened their process to include a bigger consumer community to constantly analyze, iterate and optimize an idea?

Currently consumer research does not live continuously along the traditional stage gate process, so there are a lot of assumptions (albeit informed) being made from idea creation to concept validation through to actual launch. By increasing the touchpoints for consumer feedback throughout the journey will help you optimize your idea, and also reduce the risk of launching a product that will not resonate or is not relevant to consumers.

Establishing this iterative and constant learning partnership with consumers can result in a great deal of value add for you as an organization. As it:

  • Leads to learnings that can help steer product development and design without slowing down the process
  • Provides data to help encourage internal buy in and alignment
  • Sparks ideas to launch entirely new initiatives to address the consumer and market needs that come out of this iterative research approach.


Lesson 3: Leverage barriers to identify future opportunities
Companies will often pivot to an open source model to crowd source solutions that they need addressed quickly or haven’t been able to solve internally or when they are limited in resources be it funding or audience instead of having to close down and letting everything they have built go to waste. What if you applied this approach to NPD for the ideas and prototypes that never made it or were deemed unfeasible to identify the parts that can be leveraged and built upon?

Even if an idea or prototype doesn’t perform as well as you may have hoped, by inviting consumer feedback along the product development journey allows a brand the ability to reposition the product. This helps you still leverage the technology and investment that have gone into the initial development by figuring out how to redirect resources and development based on consumer insights and market trends to lead to actual commercial opportunities.

At first glance, the open source movement may appear to be only applicable to the software development, however, there are practices that all marketers, no matter your vertical, can apply to the NPD process. By truly treating the consumer as a co-creator and inviting feedback from them along the journey from conception to launch will allow you to learn faster and make smarter decisions based in insight and data to get to end products that truly solve for unmet, unrealized and constantly evolving consumer and market needs.

To learn about antedote’s new platform, Idea Accelerator, that allows you to explore and iterate concepts early in the development journey with consumers globally and in real time, please click below:

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