Blog Fest, Uni life and so much more

 

Hi guys, would you believe that this is my first post of 2014, time literally ran away from me and I’ve been chasing it since December 2013. This years has already been so busy that it’s left me in a continuous state of ‘work mode’ but never the less my excitement for not only finishing but also seeing the combination of all my hard work is pushing me to continue through this final step. It is now April and all my taught classes have ended then in September I hand in my last ever piece of work, it’s hard to believe that I’ve been doing this for a whole year.

I’m so ready to move on to the next part of my life and see new experiences come by. Also in the words of my famous strategy teacher “once you have a masters, you’re pretty much a master of the universe” I completely believe that 100%

My first week back in to the Mace Design a Business class was so interesting and intriguing because it offered insight into how other people saw me as a blogger and a serious writer. I was entered into a competition called Blog Fest 2014, where a group of other bloggers read each other’s posts and voted for the best Blogger and best blog post. Would you believe that I came fourth out of 35 for best blogger and had one post that was a top favourite? This one session really showed me how to continuously grow and be better than what I previously was. From the comments of the other bloggers I learnt that I am unique, as a writer I have a voice that is very different which helps me stand out. This is an important skill to have when starting a business because when it comes to marketing, having a unique way to present the service or product can truly elevate who and how people approach the business.

This Is very true for the Memoby product, we deliberately wrote in a style that is both light hearted and fun but also very thought provoking. We focused on using two different styles of writing, expository writing and descriptive writing.

Expository writing is used to help effectively explain what the Memoby product is quickly and accurately. It wasn’t a place for us to give our personal opinion on the product, but rather give facts and statistics about not just the product but also the research we did to produce the product.

Descriptive writing is used as a form to be more creative and opinionated within the Memoby brand. This was by far the best way for us to truly allow consumers to understand what our product is about. We created stories and used words that allowed the imagination to become very creative.

 Hub Pages (2014) Four Different Types of Writing Styles: Expository, Descriptive, Persuasive and Narrative, Available at: http://hunbbel-meer.hubpages.com/hub/Four-Types-of-Writing (Accessed: 11th April 2014).

 

Remember when writing you always want to leave a great or lets just say important impression. The product might be amazing but if you can’t make people love the products based on how you present it in terms of your writing skills then they wont fair well in the long run.

 

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Presentation Is The Answer

How do you successfully present an idea?

 Creating and developing an idea is just two aspects of designing a startup. You could say that the presentation of the product or services could be one of the most important aspects of starting a business. Successfully presenting a idea could be a game changer in terms of receiving funding, support and constructive criticism.

This is my amazing class MACE!!

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Thanks to our amazing lecture Dr. Corrine Beaumont my class and me got to experience two different types of presentations to that gave us great feedback on our presentation skills and product.

The MA Students Who Cried  “Wolff!”

Was a presentation where the different groups within the class presented there branding strategy to the internationally known company Wolff Olins. The presentation was so good for us because we got insight from an amazing company about the good, the bad and ugly of what each product brought to the market and how successful we could really be if we change and modified a few things.

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Dragons Dean MACE Style

This presentation day was also amazing but a lot more intense. The judges where a lot more unforgiving and definitely trying to find fault, don’t get me wrong trying to find fault now is a good thing because it gives us the chance to learn and perfect our product before we roll it out. They pointed out loads ways to perfect the presentation and product its self, which allowed us to do more research and develop ourselves.

Tips to a successful presentation

  • Know your main point and make it clear.  What every your trying to say, just get to the point.
  • Have a beginning, middle and end (tell a story).
  • Load voice, clear stance.
  • Person element could help the audience understand more and connect.
  • Stay calm; remember if you forget something the audience don’t know that.
  • Keep it short and sweet, sometimes less is more don’t over complicate it.
  • Practice makes perfect.

There are loads of other tips that could be useful for you but the main point is to take it one step at a time and always take advice but support your idea.     

 

 “It takes one hour of preparation for each minute of presentation time.” Wayne Burgraff

 

Branding, Branding and more Branding :)

Branding is the Boss!

After a product has been produced, branding to me is the most important aspect to get right. If branding is perfect then marketing and sells will be a lot easier because the customers will come to you. My group Memoby has just stated the branding stage with the design of our logo.

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Whilst designing the logo and starting other processes we uses the system below to help us accurately develop the idea.

 

  • Brand is everything that creates an experience for the customer
  • DNA is the unique message of the business that is communicated in the brand
  • Identity is usually the visual part of the brand: logo, colours, layout, adverts, design

Source from Dr. Corrine Beaumont, Kingston University

 

It’s clear from the system below that my team has started looking at the identity of our product. Memoby is a combination of Memory and baby; we wanted our product name to be something that people would automatically associate with baby products. We also wanted to be a combination of the two main aspects of our product. We picked the style of writing including the smiley face and color because the round and smooth edges resemble the round edges of a bouncing baby. We felt as a team that after a while it would be a common association.

 While in class we looked at different companies that really created a strong branding theme without directly making it obvious. The new Virgin Atlantic Safety video is possible the most perfect use of branding based on the original company and the service they offer.

Please take a look at this link, and feel free to leave comments: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hbib-A6NpW8&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL1F0154B2D3972B62 

 

Memoby’s Next Step for Branding

The next step for Memoby Is to create a brand and image that we wish to be know by because that will also help us attract a certain type of customer. We will focus on ways of how to connect marketing and branding together, which will just support the strength of the product. When marketing we will use STP: Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning but stay tuned because marketing will be discussed in another blog.

 

“The keys to brand success are self-definition, transparency, authenticity and accountability.” Simon Mainwaring

Know your Market – Market Research

Market research can be described as desire to obtain information based around the product or service you are trying to offer. It’s the effort to gather information that best helps assess the market and type of consumers you are delivering this product/service to. Market research is also important because you are able to get out into the public and really ask the public what they want and what type of product/service they would put there money to. It’s a way of seeing you competitor and allowing yourself to learn the different ways they are successful

 

As a team, we found that market research would be such am important area for us because it could actually help us determine whether going a long with a product we created was still the right thing to do. Before settling on the Memoby time capsule design we looked at writing an interactive children’s book by creating an experience before the kids went to bed. So we decided to do market research in both books and boxes, below shows the system we used to obtain information.

 Market Research System

We first began by going into the market and seeing the different products offered in theses areas. We were surprised to find that there was such a high level of interactive books on offer.

 

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A book where the parent plays the puppet hand and shows the emotions of the snow snowman. Very interactive with the ability for the child to physically touch and feel the snowman.

 

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A book where the pages are moving like a Television screen. Allows the child to physically see the action.

 

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By far one of the best children’s books i’ve ever seen. This was a pop up book with music and character sounds.

Everything we thought had not been done, had been and to a great standard. We decided as a group that doing a book we not no a good idea because we couldn’t find a need that hadn’t already been met or a style that was new and innovative. After that we decided to do research into the different types of boxes that was similar to the capsule box we wanted to develop.

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Below are the other ways we did market research to best understand our product. 

  • Talk to the employees for the shops we visited
  • Talk to customers that may use the product
  • Go on websites and read different reviews
  • Look at the overall history of the market and its current success rate.
  • Look at the different products that could be similar to what we are developing.
  • Look at different ways to make our product better
  • Carry out online surveys and questionnaires

Some of the questions we asked were:

  • What different things do you consider when buying a product?
  • What things do you like and dislike about the products? currently on the market right now?
  • After seeing our idea, what would you make better?
  • What would you pay for our product?

 Market research is not something that can be done in just one day, it’s a process that should take time and take many different forms and directions. I think market research is an area that can really help create a strong product, its the customers buying the product so knowing what they want can only help help your product be a real success.

 

“It is not possible to make a realistic test of the effectiveness of a commercial in a laboratory situation in advance of real-life exposure. Until this simple but uncomfortable truth is grasped much advertising research will go on being sterile and unproductive.” Alan Hedges 

The Journey to Find the Perfect Idea

In my last blog the last thing I said was that “ its normally those who fail in the beginning that succeed in the end.” That’s exactly what me and my team found when we started the journey of running a startup. We had a total of 100 different product ideas that just didn’t seem to be what we were looking for. On two occasions we thought we had the most perfect idea but after more research and countless amounts of issues we found that we was starting to fell less inspired more drained. With some encouragement from our lecture we was reminded that we was on track to having a great idea but we was on a track that helped us learn while we developed our own idea.

The Ideas Before the Idea

The first development was an idea that came to the group after I explained that when my father pasted away he recorded two thousand hours of messages to see me through my childhood. I explained that the recordings where amazing but I always wished I had something to hold while listening to my dad tell me stories. All I wanted to do is hug him but I couldn’t do that so the next best thing was to hold some sort of toy.

  Copy write   Property of Kingston University – Team Memoby

 

  1.   Our first creation was L BEARL

L BEARIs a stuffed bear that has the ability to record and store 30 second recording. The need was to help young children deal with their emotions and sensitive information that may be hard to deal with.

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 2.    Creation Two HAT BAG/BAG HAT

Hat Bag is an idea that is more relaxed and easy going, the need or meaning was not so emotional or issue based. The idea was a hat that could easier transform into a bag. When the idea was originally developed everyone in the group was excited because we thought it was something unique and different that could be used in multiple countries. However as time went on we found that people saw the product as a bit of a joke, the need was not serious enough and that meant that people couldn’t see a real product but rather they saw something that could be sold in a fun shop.

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By this time we was feeling a little deflated but decided not to give up or stop trying. We decided to bring our different abilities and skills together to see what skills we could bring to the product. We came to the conclusion we are  such a unique group because we as a group hold skills in pretty much all the areas that help to make a successful start up. We also came to the decision that we wanted our product to be focused on meaning. The product we created had to have some emotional meaning that helped improve or change peoples lives n a positive way.

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Our product, Memoby box is box for pregnant parents that would like to keep memory for their child. Sometimes, it is so hard to keep every memory of a new life and it is quite messy, and memories can be lost if not collected. As a result, we created this time capsule box for parents who do not know where should they collect a lot of memory, they can use our capsule as a way of keeping many things such teeth, shoes including picture of baby or even recording the first time there baby walked or said there first word. 

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Memoby is the idea we decided to go with and i can honestly say that as a team we can happy with our product. We will work to the best of our ability to make it beautiful and what everyone wants. 

 

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill 

The Dream Team

 Can entrepreneurs be successful by themselves?

 Well to answer my own question, I don’t think entrepreneurs can be successful by themselves. I believe that success is based upon individual people working to the best of their ability with the support of people around them. You see success isn’t something people can obtain by themselves, everyone need a little encouragement, support and sometimes-constructive criticism to be they’re best and continue to grow. So let me introduce you to the team that offers all of those things and more.

 

Just to refresh the memories of my regular reader and introduce myself to the new comers. I’m Indie, hi J and I’m currently enrolled in graduate school at Kingston University in the United Kingdom, studying International Business Management with Entrepreneurship. I’m using this blog to map my journey of possibly the best class in the world, designing a Business taught by the most amazing and innovate lecture DR. Corrine Beaumont. The aim of the class is to create a product, design and sell a product So in short with the support of the school we will be running our own business with the aim of making a profit, get a great grade and also learn something that we can take with us throughout life.

 

The Team – If you don’t want read about the group (Why not? We are awesome) scroll down to

 How Many Ideas Does it Take to Hit the Jack Pot?

 

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Indie (Me)(Managing Director) – Music is my passion, eating is my art and helping people is a life long obsession. I believe I’m good at supporting people, it’s always my aim to help people feel great about themselves and to never give up on what they want. I’m more of a dreamer than a logical person but when it comes to working hard I strive for perfection always, but lets get something straight, winning isn’t everything. The journey counts more than the destination, so if you can push yourself to be your best you’re already winning.

 

Flora (Finance Director)This lady is calm, cool and collected, She the cooling energy that relaxes the group when things get a little heated. She helps us understand the math with everything we do. Reminding us that with every purchase there is a price because sometimes we just want to spend but we are on a tight budget.

 

MaxiThis guy has a crazy genius mind thing going on, plus he likes to bake so he’s pretty much perfect J. He comes for an engineering background so is able to look at the technical side of everything. He helps the team be creative but a little realistic in terms of time and resources.

 

Aei – This woman has the ability to make everything modern and fresh. She is am amazing photographer and videographer that helps us as a team to be innovate in how we brand and present our product. She has so much energy and passion for life.

 

Faii – Is the funny one of the group, she has amazing skills in management and outside the box creative thinking. She pushes the team to be unique and not always to take ourselves so seriously. She is a multitasking superwoman that supports everyone in every way.

 

Prashanna – Is smart, level headed and down to earth. In a team full of free spirited dreamers and go with the flow individuals, he offers the group some peace and quite. When we need to take a step back he helps us look at the situation from different points of view.

 

 How Many Ideas Does it Take to Hit the Jack Pot

Over the space of three months my team and me have thought of over 100 ideas, started then rejected two ideas and hit the jackpot with one. Below you will find the system we used along side the USER Model to work on the ideas that we came up with.

 

  1. Research: What are all the different needs we can think of. Research into different areas and look at the problems or whys to make the product or how it’s used better.
  2. Think: Think of as many ideas as possible, look at different areas and themes, things that may already been done but could be better, things from different countries that would work in the UK and so on and so fourth.
  3. 3.    Gather:  Get together as a group, look at all the ides created, don’t be so quick to say no to an idea just because you don’t like it now. Whittle down the ideas to top 5.
  4. 4.    Research:  Research the top five ideas picked, look at all the different elements that will help make each product. Calculate time, costs, and overall need. Is the timing right? You may have a great product but the timing is wrong.
  5. 5.    Vote: Vote as a team for the best idea, discusses what the need is and how you feel you can help the need.

 

Don’t forget it’s normally those that fail in the beginning that succeed in the end So even if the idea doesn’t come in the beginning, by the end you will have a great idea.

 

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” Bill Cosby

 

 

What is the USER Model ?

What is the USER Model and how is it helpful when designing a business?

Dr Corrine Beaumont is an amazing American lecturer currently teaching and sharing her vast wisdom at Kingston University. During her studies as a PhD student she developed a framework for the design thinking process. The framework helps section the different stages of the design thinking process which subsequently helps structure and organise the whole process of designing simpler and straight forward.

The USER Model stands for: User System Establish Realise                      

When starting the process of thinking of an idea, the user model can help simplify the process by allowing the participant to see every area of how to design a business in a systemic way. It breaks down the process into easy but detailed sections.

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During one of my first classes, we was set with the task of testing the model seeing how it really worked and to also see how I might use it when developing my own product as part of a team.

The experiment was aimed at shoes;

  • First market research about shoes (What are the factors that make people buy shoes? E.g. color, style, price, fashion, the comfort or statement to the environment.) USER
  • Understanding the story behind the show will allow us to understand the user. USER
  • Role-play-(storytelling) creating or adapting a story to help with the development of the shoe. SYSTEM
  • Setting a goal how many shoes to design in a certain amount of time. ESTABLISH
  • Prototype –Seeing a version of the product, in this case the shoe (Learning why prototyping is so important and why taking time to properly develop an idea is important). REALISE

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It is clear that this framework can help un-complicate the process of designing a product. It breaks down the areas enough so that the process is simple but the project is detailed enough.  It allows you to see the big picture and work on the key points.

 

 

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” Steve Jobs

 

 

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