Creating Remarkable Products
“If we keep putting great products in front of people, then they will open their wallets” – Steve Jobs.
Last week I wrote about how to choose your product range which was especially relevant to those sourcing products for a vintage shop or curated boutique. Today I thought I’d discuss how you can create remarkable products by asking yourself a few simple questions.
I work with people at differing stages of the product development process, through my agency and consulting work. Sometimes they are right at the start and still developing their product ideas or they may be at the strategy stage where they have the product but need to know how best to get it in front of customers during the launch phase. Sometimes they will be selling already but they want to improve their product offering so they can sell more.
Whichever stage you are at, your products must be remarkable, offer something different, unique and of great value to others. Competition is fierce and people are being more selective than ever with what they spend their money on. Not only because of the dire economy but people are also choosing to buy less stuff, to simplify their lives and focus on buying things that might cost a bit more but are better made, higher quality and longer lasting.
So what does this mean for us as product designers? As Steve Jobs once said, “if we keep putting great products in front of people, then they will open their wallets”. It sounds crude, but it is true. People don’t pay for mediocrity.
What makes a product great though can differ from person to person and it isn’t just the tangible aspects of the product that affects the decision or perceived value.
So how can you create great and remarkable products?
Here are my top five tips:
What is your vision for the future? Where do you want to go with your business? If you know the bigger picture surrounding why you are in business you will be able to focus on providing value and creating products that fit with this vision.
Innovate and take risks.
Ask yourself how can you solve problems with your products? Innovate and be creative in finding these solutions. Instead of playing it safe, think about ways you can shake-up your industry with a totally new product offering that is also answering a need and helping humans flourish. Throw out the rule book and take risks!
Listen to your target market but don’t always take them literally.
Monitor what your target market are saying by keeping your ear to the ground, listening and joining in conversations. Read articles, blogs, newspapers, tweets, Facebook statuses, talk to people at craft fairs, anything that gets you closer to discovering what your target market really need.
Find out what they think they want then use this information to build a better product. Remember that not everyone knows what they really want especially as they may not know the full range of possibilities. As Henry Ford said, “if I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses“. So listen, but interpret the real need. If people want a faster horse, provide something faster. Don’t limit yourself to thinking it has to be a horse.
Think outside the box for inspiration.
With easy access to inspiration online through blogs and sites like Pinterest, design and products are starting to feel homogenised. With everyone drawing from the same inspiration it makes sense that the work we create is starting to look more and more alike. Counter-act this by finding inspiration in less obvious places. Limit browsing online inspiration sources while you are in the initial product development phase and be creative in your approach to new product ideas. Courses like our Creative Boost e-course can also help you discover new ways of finding inspiration that you can use in your work.
When you think you have your final product, test it with people who you think want and need it. Send them a copy, give them a sample and ask them what they think. Don’t prompt too much, instead listen to their opinion and suggestions. This can help you tweak a good idea and turn it into a great one.
Once you have the best products you can make then you can think about how you are going to get them in-front of eyeballs.
Does your product range need a revamp?