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Design thinking and your brand

January 17, 2013

Design thinking and your brand


Pip, the BrandHook fashionista, thinks of herself as a bit of a designer. She fondly remembers the orange lame and white jacket ensemble she designed for her year 11 formal. We often hear her telling anyone who will listen that she was “ahead of her time” and “everyone thought I looked ridiculous, but 6 months later they were all wearing orange lame”.

I think, when given the chance most of us have the designer gene, whether it is inventing something to keep the table from wobbling or wearing a skirt as a dress, we all like to get a little creative sometimes and this is true of brands too. We are seeing a rise in brands adopting a “design thinking” approach where consumer insights are leveraged in the beginning in order to kick-start innovation.

Unlike top-down approaches, design thinking focuses first on making sense of why users act the way they do. Once un-met needs and problems are identified, then product and services solutions can be prototyped and solutions explored.

Design thinking has helped us at BrandHook witness first hand what really annoys consumers and what makes their life easier.  We have also seen our clients products used in ways they weren’t designed to do which in turn has trigged a complete brand invigoration.  Design thinking requires you getting out into the world and connecting with new things and here are just some of the ways we believe you get great insight:

  1. Location, location, location!    People in strange rooms with strange people tend to say strange things. An Ethnographic approach like in-home sessions gains genuine insight from consumers as we see how they act in real-life situations.
  2. Empathy.  Set aside existing assumptions, essentially becoming naïve. We ask insightful questions to try and understand what customer stories say about their needs.
  3. Creativity.  Be imaginative and use powerful interactive techniques and exercises to stimulate creativity. This helps them to pull out what they don’t know or can’t initially see about themselves.
  4.  Collaboration.  Many of our clients have involved not just consumers but also their employees in helping us devise business solutions and innovate new products. From projects like this we have seen some fantastic innovations, which have been successful in the global arena.

If you’d like to learn a bit more about design thinking check out this link.  Otherwise pop into the office for a chat, I’m sure I could get Pip to model her orange lame creation.

  Adweek in the UK has given us their top 10 ads of last year.  Melbourne’s own Clems has come in at 10 with Beer Chase from Carlton Draught but we agree that the outright winner is the Three Little Pigs, BBH’s brilliant film for The Guardian.  Enjoy!  

  Back in my dad’s day, a job was a job for life. He worked for the same company from when he was a fresh graduate to retirement over 40 years later. This got me thinking about whether the concept of a job for life exists in businesses today. And even if it does, is Continue reading


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