One of the most invaluable pieces of information I learnt before I went into business was this: "You can't do it all by yourself". The excellent Business Start Up book by Sara Williams (Financial Times Guides, ISBN-139781292175867) reinforces this point. Very early on in the process of starting my own business I had to sit down and do some evaluation of my own strengths and my weaknesses. Don't underestimate the value to be gained in such an exercise. It's far better to be honest with yourself at the outset than to struggle on with things that are not your domain or particular skill set. I am very grateful that I was introduced to a great accountant at the beginning of my small business venture. The investment has already proved worthwhile.
Anyone developing a new product shouldn't underestimate the importance of having a cohesive brand identity and social media presence. That's where it becomes useful to work alongside people whose business it is to do that kind of thing. Luckily for me I just happen to work alongside some very talented creative media professionals at Cohub at Eastbourne.
Just recently I have had the pleasure to do some work on product branding with Alex Read from Bamb Creative. Branding and product naming is something I have been involved with in the past but I have to confess its not my area of real expertise. This is when it pays to recognise your own strengths & weaknesses. By engaging a person (or team) whose specialty is the area in which you are needing assistance you will unlock many different approaches and skills that'd simply take too long to develop on your own. Expertise of course does come at a price but you have to see past the initial cost and see it in terms of the 'value added' to the overall project or product. See it as more of an investment. A great product design or a strong and cohesive brand will pay back your initial investment many times over once your product(s) starts to sell.
Working together over the course of a couple of hours Alex helped me to map out a whole range of words connected with the product I'd been working on. Some were quite direct and literal, others were more abstract. Over the course of the session it became really useful to focus on products key attributes and words associated with those attributes.
Following Alex's advice we concluded the session after a couple of hours, took numerous photos of the scribbles we'd made on the Cohub writing wall and headed home. Over the course of the next few days Alex kept me up to date on the progress of the design. Effective communication between designer and client is so important in any collaborative process. Most of the ideas were exchanged on Slack (I recommend you check it out) before the next meeting to finalise the small, but all important details.
The finished product, seen below, captures what the new product is all about. It is condense, simplified. The dropping of the double 'd' in Puddle is a subtle but deliberate shortening of the word giving a clue to the stripped back form of the new product we were working with.
Just by engaging with Bamb Creative it was possible to quickly formalise a new product brand and identity. Establishing an identity early on in new product development is key in these fast moving days of multi platform social media. We consume far more visual / digital content than ever before so having a strong & memorable identity is crucial to helping to develop brand awareness or attract potential investors in your idea. Pudle is now out there on Instagram and Facebook circulating and creating interest. As the Pudle project progresses it'll now become possible to add content and build upon the story that has been started. It was an invaluable experience for me to learn some new tips & tricks from a fellow designer. I certainly learned a lot, I hope that Alex & Bamb Creative in turn picked up a few benefits in return. It can certainly be said that by working together you are both stronger & smarter.