Strathmore Business School (SBS) Nairobi

This design strategy workshop covered a full spectrum of topics related to branding the consumer experience.

Its starting premise was that it is usual for 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 their personal taste.

The workshop was designed 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 which led them 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 such as existing competitive brands,market trends, distribution platforms, production abilities or future expansions.

The group of executives were able to conclude that when beginning the brand identity phase, whether by themselves or in collaboration with an creative agency, a few “whys” are critical such as Why do we want it to be ornate, colour blue, red, green or yellow, or minimalist?

What is the philosophy underpinning the brand’s narrative? Why do we want hard angles; why flowing surface areas? If the start-up brand does not have specific, well-thought through answers for questions such as these, it should take a step back and reconsider its choices, particularly in the context of the user 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, colour, innovative benefit and texture choice cannot be made in the vacuum of its appeal to producers, creative agencies and business executives reviewing creative work, but rather the choice must be made and judged in the context of its specific and necessary impact on the end consumer.

The workshop received constructively critical feedback feedback: Sabine Huster CEO Kiboko Leisure Wear (www.kiboko-leisure-wear.com) said: “I went to the workshop, and enjoyed it very much. It was very refreshing to brainstorm with different people. Anything which requires ideas and creativity, and where you challenge each other in a team, is very satisfying. Please keep up the workshops, as they widen our horizons and give us the chance to exchange ideas.”

Workshop Delivery Partners – Strathmore University Agri-Business Programme, Value Added in Africa and OsanNimu LLP

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