Our experts collaborate to identify challenges, define objectives and formulate solutions.
A new TV brand had been on the market for a few years, but each model had a different menu, with look and feel subject to whatever Asian TV manufacturing partners wanted. Menus were unattractive, and hard to navigate, with confusing terminology. None matched brand image. This drove higher documentation and translation costs. Testing took longer because there was no common test plan. Tech support calls took longer and frustrated customers. Our customer turned to D2 for help because they knew we would solve these problems and create a menu customers would like.
The full D2 team worked on this project and used our extensive experience in TVs. The Data Analysis team dove into data to help us understand customer problems. The Behavioral Science team designed the navigation and used terminology customers would understand. With their fingers on the pulse of design trends, the Global Communications team turned it all into a beautiful menu that fit the brand. Throughout the design process, we worked closely with our customer AND the TV manufacturing partner to make sure they liked the design and that it would work on their TVs. We worked through obstacles together. We not only delivered the specification document on time, but also provided all of the icons, as well as Spanish and French translations.
We created a great-looking and very usable TV menu that made sense to customers and matched the brand. TVs could get to market quicker, documentation was more accurate, and translation costs were lowered. Tech support agents now had a common menu and could more effectively help customers. The specification document itself was usable, written to make sure that the development team knew what the TV menu should look like and how it should behave. In the end, we worked as a partner, listened to the customers (end users and our customer), and used our diverse skillset to create a specification with tangible benefits.
We had worked with a long-time partner on a variety of projects, when they called one day, asking for insight on a new marketing project. They had a client who needed custom packaging for a national pharmaceuticals tradeshow two weeks later. Initially, they just wanted ideas. After getting approval to proceed, however, they called again. Another partner had “dropped the ball” and our customer was starting to panic. Their creative team didn’t have the expertise to develop or deliver the high-quality output needed within schedule.
We started the project like we do every one—we listened to our customer to understand needs and scope. Pulling together a cross-functional team, including communications experts and customer advocates, we brainstormed to provide dozens of creative, yet usable, ideas. Two weeks later, when we learned that another partner wouldn’t be able to deliver all of the required pieces within schedule, we jumped into action. We worked with the Account Executive to get a complete list of deliverables. A focused team corrected errors in dielines created by the 3rd party partner. We created functional dielines and applied partner-provided artwork. Rapid prototypes were assemble to test fit, with structural and creative adjustments made, as necessary. Drafts were shared as they were completed, updates made, and final digital files sent to production. Color proofs were approved and production scheduled. It wasn’t until fully-assembled boxes were delivered that we learned of a new challenge: our customer needed yet another piece to accurately reflect the presentation they had proposed to their client. We responded quickly. A dedicated team collaborated to come up with a viable solution, then worked late into the night and throughout the next day to design new dielines, color-match artwork, test, and produce new pieces. We worked closely with our customer to verify accuracy and ensure highest quality possible. Less than 18 hours later, we had everything done and ready for shipment to the tradeshow.
Packaging prototypes were received with excitement and enthusiasm by both our customer’s client and tradeshow attendees. The tradeshow response was tremendous and exceeded all expectations. The client reported that several attendees actually wanted to take packaging prototypes with them to show pharmaceutical executives. The client did end up letting one attendee take packaging because of a potential $1 million project with that company. Subsequent email and phone calls from our customer indicated sincere appreciation for our partnership and focused efforts to successfully complete this project. Not only did we help them meet a deadline, we helped them deliver on a promise to their client. More importantly, that effort ultimately helped cement a relationship with their client and will likely lead to additional work for them in the future.
In the summer of 2013, the CTO of an information technology company shared concerns about challenging product returns. D2 President Tony Olson described the proven D2 Trifecta methodology for improving products from the customer perspective. Not long after that call, the CTO set up a meeting at U.S. headquarters. Corporate President and VP of Product Marketing heard about the holistic approach used by D2 in the Trifecta methodology—how we analyze all types of tech support events, product returns and customer reviews to build customized plans of attack for each product area. D2 provided examples how working on all three simultaneously helps develop a deeper understanding of product issues from the customer’s perspective. Even though it was unusual for this company to use outside resources, after hearing about the D2 methodology and reviewing case studies that showed results, they decided to give D2 a chance.
Since return reduction was the major emphasis, the Director of Returns was appointed as internal project leader. Working with her, we proposed that the effort be broken into two phases. Phase one was to find all the data, understand sources, learn what was missing, then start on the effort to clean, process, and analyze it. Phase two was to start publishing results of our analysis in executive level snapshots. This provided us with focus and prioritization on the product areas where we needed to concentrate. The snapshots led to behavioral science and communications studies, adjusted based on where the data led us, and customized to meet the problems at hand.
The ongoing analysis of the continual flow of new data allowed D2 to focus on the highest-priority product opportunities. It also allowed us to recharge the recommended behavioral science and communications study efforts to best fit to the problem at hand. All this was done with oversight and direction from our corporate partner. Together, we made sure that all projects were first approved, then completed on time and we ensured that D2 was always on budget. Over the course of Phase Two, we ran 29 projects and uncovered over a thousand findings. These findings led to a series of recommendations and, finally, changes. Some of the changes were made in existing products, others were fed forward to impact new follow-on products. With the increase in sales from 2013 to 2014, if the return rate had remained unchanged, this company would have experienced a 50% higher return rate than they did in 2014. Not only did the number of returns not rise at the same rate as sales, they actually dropped YOY. This resulted in over a $60 million positive impact. That doesn't even take into account any impact the improvement in products had on the increased sales volume. We believe that there are likely more positive impacts regarding tech calls, and customer rating, but do not have the data for that calculation. Finally, one of the closing comments on this phase was that the outsource vendor handling returned products recently called the Director of Returns and and complained, "We can't turn a profit with so few returns to process!" Now that is a nice problem to have.
This particular Trifecta project has seen a huge product returns reduction. In our experience, the work needs to continue in order to keep the momentum going and allow the company to continue to enjoy the current success. Also, while we believe D2 had a significant impact with the project, we fully believe it was a true team effort. Congratulations needs to be given to the product teams, the support teams, and the data teams, without whose contribution, this result would not have been realized.
When a big box retailer decided to enter the tablet market, dozens of brands and models already existed. Not only was our customer entering unfamiliar territory, it was competing against brands already well-established in the marketplace. This retailer needed to offer compelling product features at a competitive cost in order to attract the first-time buyers it was targeting. To establish itself as a serious tablet contender, it also wanted to provide a customer experience that would generate excitement and create a loyal following for future models. There were a number of obstacles to work through. The retailer was dealing with a new vendor and faced a shortened product development cycle so schedule was a concern. Both D2 and the retailer anticipated a high number of support calls and knew customers might need extra help. At the same time, the desire to reach a cost-conscious audience meant budget constraints. This resulted in the decision to provide no on-device document reader, which meant their traditional PDF would not be an option. The retailer acknowledged the need for a different approach to providing product information but wasn’t sure how to proceed. They needed an innovative approach that maintained a consumer focus but didn’t compromise on quality. For that, they turned to D2.
D2 data, usability and communications experts collaborated to identify challenges, define objectives and formulate solutions.
The Data Analysis team provided data on what tablet consumers contact technical support about. The Behavioral Analysis team conducted various studies to better understand the information customers need and how they want to access it. The Global Communications team provided insight on how and what competitors were communicating to customers. The teams then worked together to identify communications channels best suited for delivering specific content and targeted toward key audiences, including consumers, sales staff, and support agents. We considered issues, such as enterprise and manufacturing limitations, and software restrictions. We utilized findings/learnings from related research and studies to design and detail potential solutions. We also created a unique methodology called “Taste Snack Meal Dessert” to define what content should be provided when and by what mechanism (on-product, online, printed). We designed branded pieces and tested in
real-time to determine what worked and what didn’t. In the end, we delivered a high-level strategy, along with branded communication elements, to help the retailer better understand and envision the proposal. We showed how the plan would create a positive experience for customers learning to use their tablets. We explained how it considered important factors, respected business needs; kept market goals and objectives in mind; offered a solution unique from competitors, along with elements never before successfully undertaken by the retailer. The plan also provided a mechanism by which content could be monitored and fed back to communications teams for evaluation. We explained how leveraging core materials in later product documentation would streamline the process and reduce development costs on future tablet communications pieces.
The retailer loved the overall plan but, due to cost and schedule constraints, did not approve all elements. The most critical ones, however, were and, in the end, the effort resulted in a highly effective communications strategy that successfully achieved retailer goals. Initial customer ratings were high and the retailer expanded its tablet line. The approach was so successful that other product teams ultimately decided to apply the same communications strategy to their products and continue to do so.