Summer 2020

Design Thinking in Action:  Coca-Cola Happiness

Coca-Cola’s Happiness Machine Campaign

Machine Campaign

When it comes to viral videos, one of the earliest to make a splash on YouTube was a series of candid-camera-style videos made by Coca- Cola in 2009 as part of their Open Happiness campaign. In this series, the company retrofit a classic Coke machine and placed it in the heart of a college campus. When the first customer made a purchase, the machine dispensed soda after soda after soda while a candid camera captured the reaction of both the customer and the gathering crowd. As one would expect, the “winner” handed out the extra Cokes to the gathered crowds and everyone celebrated, because everyone loves the feeling of getting a free product and sharing in the moment. Ideas like this don’t come from cost-per- click metrics on paid ads, A/B testing, or even standard survey data. The marketers really honed in on what brings people joy about Coke beyond the taste of the beverage itself—sharing it. As members of their design team recall, “The process started with a large brainstorming session . . . The brainstorming and ideation began with a well-defined framework of constraints and set of objectives provided by Coke. Otherwise we were given free rein.” They took their time and shared their concepts with many people. It took them 60 days to storyboard and refine the pieces before the idea was ready to go live. At the end of the day, emotional connection

was what mattered most. As one designer summarizes, “What Coke really gave away was a sense of happiness, which created an emotional connection with the brand. Students involved in this video were caught up in their everyday lives, and this little moment touched them. We used free stuff to surprise people, but what we gave away was happiness and a smile. The key is engagement; whether you were there or just watching, free stuff was just the catalyst.” The results of the campaign were human and candid and emotional, making a lasting positive impression associated with the brand. The campaign was also a tremendous success for the brand on YouTube, where the videos earned 10 million+ views, each with zero advertising dollars spent on promotion.

 Sky Zone Refines Their Party Packages

Their Party Packages

When Josh Cole, CMO of Sky Zone, the popular indoor trampoline park chain, wanted to refresh and rethink the company’s approach to party package offerings, he turned to design thinking to shape the product marketing strategy from start to finish. “We began with steps to empathize with and define our core demographic—moms planning birthday party experiences for their kids,” he reports. “Through the use of interviews and surveys, we obtained feedback from moms who bring their kids to Sky Zone. This allowed us to better understand the psychographics of our key mom segments as well as identify important commonalities between them as it relates to what they look for when considering party venues.” The key finding? Make the party easier for mom. Next, Cole’s team began the ideation phase— brainstorming to modify the packages with this goal in mind. They then tested the new elements across a sample of their trampoline parks as a real-life prototype. “From the test sample, we observed impact, made tweaks and improvements, and also refined messaging changes on the website. In the process, our overall language about Sky Zone parties shifted from ‘your kid will have a good time’ to ‘your kid will have a good time and it’s easy for you.’” The results? More people are spending time on the party pages of the company website, and “party mom” feedback has improved. When asked for his best advice for other

marketers looking to use a design-thinking process, Cole adds, “Take your time and invest the resources to do the first few steps well—with emphasis on the empathize and define stages. Spend time with customers and watch them use your product or service, and, most importantly, spend time understanding your customer up front to make sure you’re developing solutions that answer the most important product and emotional needs.”

Sky Zone Refines


 Improving a

Improving a Websiteebsite

Maksym Babych, CEO of SpdLoad (a software development support company for startups), faced a common challenge. The company’s website was okay—7 out of 10 clients gave their site positive feedback (with two calling it “incredible”)—but he wanted it to be great. To tackle the redesign project, he used design thinking. For the first two steps, Babych interviewed 50 users. “Based on the answers we received, we then identified the main pains and challenges (for example, users wanted more interactivity but at the same time a higher site speed),” he recalls. For step three, ideation, he brought together a diverse team with designers, developers, and employees responsible for customer experience for a two-day session to generate solutions. “Ideas were developed through constructive criticism and suggestions, and we prioritized what to carry out first,” he explained. “We then developed mock-ups and showed them to the customers again, to make sure we understood their desires correctly.” They also tested the ideas for usability and found that the improvements removed 80 percent of the UX errors site visitors were previously experiencing. But there were other important gains as well. “The changes we made using the framework brought significant results. The most important thing was the feedback. Now we get 9 out of 10 positive feedbacks, and 5 people call the site very beautiful. The bounce rate of the site decreased, and the number of pages visited increased.”

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