The Most Dangerous Practice In Product Concept Development: Thinking You Are Normal

The Problem

You are not normal! I know you feel normal – on a good day and if you’re lucky you might even look normal. But you are, in fact, not average.

Let’s compare ourselves with the average UK consumer for example:

the average family, man woman and two kids standing outside there house not normal Table

As such we are not fit to judge what consumers want or need from a product – even if we are a regular consumer of that product ourselves. And then there are the non-statistical attributes… If your friends and family describe you as the ‘marketing-type’, or ‘the creative one’ you know what I mean; If you feel you wander the planet dissecting and analysing things that others merely enjoy you know what I mean. We’re different. You are different.

Why Is This Dangerous?

You might be thinking: “yeah yeah yeah – this is why we do rounds and rounds of research and focus groups”, but think again. Because you need to be sure you haven’t laden your product concepts with assumptions before you’ve even gotten them in front of the consumer. If you have – your innovative product concepts will be misfiring as you have inadvertently designed them for you and your peers.

Let’s look at a typical product concept – how many assumptions are layered into it:

Stain Wipe Example of explaining how we work, and analysing the product

The Solution: Co-Creating Product Concepts

If in your product concept development, you’re not co-creating them with consumers, you’re relying on the wisdom of your abnormal self and abnormal internal team to get to solutions that are very unlikely to be optimal for the target market. You are then likely to be presenting your innovation in a traditional product concept format – a format that feels like a fait accompli to the consumer and which they find difficult to unravel, criticise and build upon to improve.

The danger is brilliant and innovative ideas are getting lost or derailed, due to lots of little assumptions based on you thinking you’re normal! Furthermore, if your competitors are undertaking co-creative product concept development from scratch with real ‘normal’ people, the same ideas you had will be flying through their quant tests only to resonate with your consumers.

References:

BBC & Mirror 

Reed  & http://www.salarytrack.co.uk/average-product-manager-salary

Average 

http://www.electronicproducts.com/News/Engineer_vs_engineer_Who_has_the_higher_IQ.aspx

Published 29th September 2014 by Natalie Reed @ the Strategy Distillery