Sometime towards the end of 2014, I came across the Instagram page of this young ice-cream shop in Lagos, there was so much excitement around the company on social media, I was intrigued.
So one day later that year, in November I saw the store at the Palms mall in Lekki and went to check it out. I was very impressed at the atmosphere, it was just different.
I ordered my ice cream or ‘gelato’ as they say, and I paid and left. The smiling faces of the staff and their great customer service in general, was not lost on me. What cemented that great first encounter with that brand was the taste of the ice-cream, it was clear that the product was made well.
That entire experience was the first step in Hans and Rene making me a loyal customer. Fast forward to today, I’ve taken numerous friends and family members to get ice cream from whichever of their locations we find ourselves close to. I have been so loyal that they recognize me, and even gave me a free cupcake once as a thank you. Every time I went, the service, atmosphere and product was consistently good. The entire experience was on point.
I use this experience to illustrate that in this day and age, it’s going to take more than on-point digital marketing, loud product launches, more than celebrity endorsements to grow one’s company and to remain relevant in the long term. This is true for both the young SME or the globally known corporation.
One of the ways that has proven true for innovative and hugely successful brands around the world is through design, and design thinking .
Simply put, design thinking is a way of solving problems that allows innovative ideas to emerge. It is centred around the customer, and combines tools from the design process with what’s do-able in technology, to help business innovate to succeed.
The design thinking methodology has simplified an otherwise complex process for birthing innovative ideas in business. This has allowed companies worldwide to create solutions and experiences for their customers that have made them rise above their competition, some we know very well, for example Apple’s user friendly products, Google’s beautifully designed and functional software, and other lesser known ones like Bank of America and their successful ‘Save the Change’ program, a great saving program for customers that many banks worldwide have now emulated.
The term design thinking has been thrown around here and there in Nigeria and even in Africa, but rarely are companies using them in their day to day running to effect growth. A few have touched on it, perhaps unknowingly, but nevertheless, the customer sees and appreciates the results, organizations like Diamond Bank, Hans and Rene, and others have set out to provide solutions and experiences for their customers that keep them coming back.
I truly believe Nigerian companies have yet to tap into this process to gain the resulting benefits. Probably because it’s a process and results are seen, after series of activities, later down the road. At DODO , we try to implement the processes and introduce them where relevant, whenever we do work for clients.
My hope in doing these series is that companies will see how design thinking can help birth solutions that truly resonate with their customer base thus gaining them gaining competitive advantage and customer loyalty, two things that impact the bottom line.
I hope you’ll follow along. Through these case studies, I hope to show you the potential of design thinking on companies, and steps you can take to start incorporating it.