How was your week?
Maybe not a week, maybe a month, or a couple of them. Maybe even a year.
Did your work meet with new challenges and head-spinning growth? Did your venture face a stressful period or even decline?
The reason I'm asking is that I know something has recently brought you to the point when you had to stop and think.
Think about your company, your craft, or your product.
Think about what makes it worthwhile for you, and what draws people to it.
Think about what it will become shaped by circumstances, but also by the way strangers see it and treat it.
You picture it when you close your eyes, when you check your email, when you meet with a friend who asks what you've been working on.
It would take many lifetimes to tell each and everyone what inspired your company and how many pains go away thanks to the product you are building. You don't have that much time. But you do have an open letter in form of a website – or maybe you're just getting to create one.
You are keen to share with the world what you bring to the table. Engage, excite, and build a lasting relationship with people out there.
But the words are gone.
Suddenly the message that rings so clear in your head dims out. There's too much noise, too much competition, it catches you like a huge wave and breathes you out on a digital beach, where thousands already are. Each brand is unique like a seashell, but for passersby they blend together into the sand.
Every customer you had was a stranger to your brand once. So if it is your brand voice that makes outsiders turn into adopters of your product, that voice needs to be explicit and articulate.
I am a storytelling kind of stranger who meets your brand incarnation and tries to get to know and understand it with questions. Like the ones below. Do you want to have a take on them?
The subtle details can make all the difference. Little commodities or humble services may end up surprisingly lifesaving.
Today a person doesn't know your company even exists. Tonight they will find out about it in any magical way – and give in to the charm of a genuine value your product brings. Now something has changed, and their day will be different. Different how?
Do they become healthier or smarter with your product? Can they shake off certain fears that have been hovering on? Can they use it as a one-time magic potion, or will they build upon it a new chapter of their life?
And coming to think about it, what would their tomorrow look like if they have adopted your product a year ago?
The future holds a mystery for your company as well. You might pivot. You might grow a set of new features, or even break them off as separate offerings. You might become acquired by a vast business or you might acquire one. But there is something that makes your project what it is, no matter what. Not for the internal team, or management board, but for people at the other end of the production line – users.
So think of these two: something your company won't stop doing, and something your brand would never do.
Armed with your pledge for the better future of the target users you set out. The headline sounds dramatic, I know, but the goal of asking these questions is to make your happy customers see your company as a hero at the end of your day. Even if your product helps them in a small, prosaic way.
And if you think that your industry doesn't tackle any serious issues, just take a look at the angle that might help to answer "the monsters question":
The list does really go on endlessly. Let's stop it right here and turn to the important thing: what problem you take off your customer's chest?
Everyone got overwhelmed with information triggers when stepping into the virtual world for the first time. After a while we don't notice it, we grow numb. A lot of credit for this goes to the words and hooks that steal the attention without actually saying anything. Overused promises and outdated statements echo around the internet to turn into clichés. People don't do research on your product just for fun, so these fake pieces of public opinion can twist the perception of your images.
You have to break through the noise for them, your customers. Think about the fake stereotypes of your industry that prevent people from seeing your true value or innovation.
Other brands have successfully used their website user experience to prove that getting new skills is not tainting, chatbots are not irritating, outsourcing the design project is not risky, and so on. Your website message will reach the audience when you formulate what fake conventions have been muffling it.
The company was started to solve the pain for a customer. But the route your business took since then was shaped by the market, competitors, cases of success, and maybe unexpected findings as well.
A huge part of what makes your brand one and only is who (or what) you are looking up to.
Where do you find inspiration for your next strategy meeting?
Which news source somehow makes it to your pitch presentation?
What are the brands you wish to steal a marketing team from?
Who are the giants on whose shoulders you've built your product?
These are subtle influencers you might not even be fully aware of. But they leave a solid mark on your brand. Weave them in the narrative delicately, and you'll love it even more.
After a few years of working with brands, asking the right questions becomes easy.
That's answering them that does take some work. And putting the answers to work with a brand-centered design is an entirely different, complex ambition.
And that's exactly the pledge that dops.digital made – building stellar digital experiences for brave and imaginative products to make them visible, and even more – make them look splendid. Shaping the design concepts time after time we've proven that a well-crafted brand gets through the noise. We reveal the essence of brands in design, and we can do it for yours, too.
Of course, we start with questions first.