Hello party people. I just hosted the first ManeFrame prototype party and it went off without a hitch. We had some drinks, caught up with old friends, made some new friends & saw ManeFrame in action. The party (& customer discovery) was a bigger success than I had anticipated & I am so pleased with what I learned & the new direction I have. A full post on the party is coming...stay tuned. I've summarized some of my big lessons & revelations below. The major areas of discovery were around the prototype, the ManeFrame logo, & the tagline for the company. I hope you'll find these as amusing as I do. They're things we know (& we know we know) but it's always a shock when they happen to us, our product, and our brand.
Here we go:
- Even though you know you'll find that something doesn't resonate with customers, it's still hard to accept it when it happens. I've been obsessing over finishes, colors, & cute knobs. Not a peep on these things. And the ManeFrame logo that I love like it was a rescued animal was not a winner. Not when your guests start voluntarily drawing you new logos!
- Your brand is for your customers. Not for you. They must receive & embrace it. It's not something you contrive & project at them - no matter how much time you spent choosing fonts, building that logo & balancing color hues. If they don't get it, it's just a pretty picture you made for yourself. And I am apparently great at making myself pretty pictures.
- You might have solved a problem. But did you solve them all? I was sure that I had solved the problem. In terms of lean startup, I was certain I had identified a problem worth solving & was now testing product-solution fit. However, I didn't solve the entire problem. There's more I need to address. But I got crystal clear confirmation that I'm solving a problem that needs solving.
- One-on-one interviews are the way to go. Group discussion & interview worked great this time but we had an ideal group size & a gaggle of lovelies that enjoyed the debate. There was a moment where a few broke off to voluntarily draw my new logo! This won't happen every time & group dynamics will determine the quality & authenticity of the feedback.
- You can't see great ideas that are just on the edge of your vision. Super Tiffany suggested I fix the cord issue & immediately launch a "naked" paint-it-yourself DIY version to begin generating income & quickly get real-time customer feedback. Brilliant! And I never would have seen it.
New direction & next steps for ManeFrame & Pember.lee:
- Pember.lee tagline is chosen. Unanimously. It is: Gorgeously efficient.
- ManeFrame logo: Back to the drawing board. Ditch the lion or give him blond highlights & make his mane bigger. Logo on 2 lines with a big M. Preferred colors were pink & grey.
- ManeFrame design: Solve the cords issue. Design & prototype the other configurations in the product line. The cords issue is the final frontier.
- ManeFrame launch: Look to immediately soft launch naked DIY version.
- ManeFrame: more parties & interviews!
Here's to following Seth Godin's advice to develop products for your customers rather than developing products & trying to find them customers. And so we begin!