Consumer Experience by Design Thought

Hosted by Strathmore Business School.

This Design Thinking Workshop covered a spectrum of topics related to “branding the consumer experience”.

Its starting premise was that it is usual for small and medium sized business owners who are passionate about their
business ideas to imagine a brand identity for their new product or service. Very often it can be subject to their
personal taste.

We structured the participants co-creative thinking process as a catalyst to help participating business executives
test the idea that their tastes can be placed in context of user sub-cultures.Hence participants became staff of a fictional fast moving good company called “Karibu Delicious Chocolate Factory Ltd KDCF”.

Participants used various prototyping methods to conclude that limiting KDCF’s brand identity to their personal aesthetic preferences is not a substitute for prototyping in the context of market forces. Inferences from which to inform prototyping such as story making, role playing, experiential and assumptive references of varied South American, African, North American, European, Australasian, Middle Eastern or Asian consumption patterns, knowledge of existing competitive brands, market trends, distribution platforms and assumptions about production abilities provided cross referential material.

The group of executives were able to conclude that when beginning the brand identity phase, whether by themselves or in collaboration with a creative agency key areas of inquiry include a couple of Whys & whats? some include: Why do we want it to be ornate, or minimalist?

What is the philosophy underpinning the brand’s narrative? Why do we want soft lines; why flowing angles? If the start-up brand does not have precise, well-considered responses to questions such as these, it should reflect and reconsider its choices, specifically in the context of the user’s sub-culture, priorities, expectations and market factors discussed

The workshop highlighted importance of design thinking and prototyping in making coherent connections between the functionality of aesthetics, brand assets such as packaging design, products, services and the consumer’s priorities and expectations. It highlighted the point that every shape, pattern, color, innovative benefit and texture choice cannot be made in the vacuum of its appeal to producers, creative agencies and business executives reviewing creative work, the choice must be made and judged in the context of its specific and necessary impact on the end consumer.

An ongoing design strategy and packaging design project – facilitated by Value Added in Africa and OsanNimu with a
Tea Manufacturer in Nyeri (north of Nairobi) who currently retail in the UK under the Marks and Spencer brand became a live case study around which participants were able put co-creative “design thinking” into context.

This workshop took place on March 25th 2014, at Strathmore Business School’s agri-business management program, Nairobi, Kenya.

Organisation and facilitation – Strathmore Business School, Value Added in Africa, Dublin and OsanNimu.

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