In our quest to create that awesome product as writers, designers and content creators, we sub-consciously look at a checklist of three attributes – creative, functional and a compelling wow-factor. To represent these, this three-headed dragon toy is a favorite in my collection. It also inspires me at work. The three heads represent three attributes. All three together take the product to the next level. Your product may a physical product, video, animation, poster, written piece of work, or any craft.
Creativity is what makes your material look good. it gets you the eyeballs from the passerby or user towards you; be it in a social post, mall, magazine, pdf or a flea market. She is locked into the beauty of your design because its beautiful and has a certain aesthetic appeal to it. He may want to converse further about what it does, what it costs and how to get it instantly. But that conversation started because your product LOOKED great in the first place. She will pay for it instantly not because she needs it, but because she just wants it as part of her life. This is the reason $1000+ phones sell quickly.
Functionality is the on-ground problem-solving your product does for the user. It does the job. Its the reason the budget was okayed. No war room was created to make the product to tackle a major challenge. Then they decided to involve a designer. Or not. Aluminium foils, wires, paper cups, you get it.
Wow-factor: The tiara, cherry on the cake, which makes the product so amazing that users own it and make it their own. You didn’t have to do it, but you killed yourself a bit, immersed your heart in it to make the product special. It may come from some amazing collaborative effort from content owners, vendors and designers. The joint effort makes the product so amazing that no one can get enough of it. It gets talked about next year as well. People still want something ‘like’ that. It becomes the benchmark. The team sells it to kingdom come because the outside world, clients and customers also want it. But throughout its life-cycle, it looked great, was functional AND adorable. The world knows in a glance that you lost sleep, put your holidays, missed parties to make that crown shine. The wow-factor may be a sustainable solution which worked for everyone at many levels- budget, timeline and egos.
Getting all three right is the holy grail.
Challenges: Typically we end up creating the product which may have any two ‘heads’. It may be creative and functional but it lacks the ‘wow’ which could have made your product compelling enough for users to share ahead. Deadline based reports and brochures go through weeks of writing and editing, followed by many iterations of design. But when the report is launched, it fails to tell a compelling story to the reader or share unique insights.
Or your product may be functional but is simply not sexy enough to want to look at again. Content-heavy emails are a typical example. It does the job it was made for, then everyone forgets about it.
Sometimes, there is a wow-factor and it may be creative, but it doesn’t do anything after its initial release. So it lacks functionality. Users may not know what to do with it. Shockingly, many products are created without the end-use thought through. We have been in so many knee-jerk situations wherein business teams get a video scripted, shot and curated, but are unsure of where to screen them.
All great products look at getting the right mix of all three heads. That’s when you get to justify the price. The client wont care so much about the price tag that may not get in the way of closing. The user or client should be able to scream “shut up and take my money!”
This is a sick act of indulging with a few of my favorite things: writing about an idea, toys, photography and finally putting it all together with my 10-year-old Wacom Intuos tablet. So to apply things here, I may have the idea, but not an ideal visual icon to get it across. The toys are lying around forever but aren’t doing anything to communicate a thought. I may have the skills but may not have the inspiration to share the thought in a compelling way. Also timing plays a part here, considering our distractions, blocking out Netflix and putting the time into sharing the idea could be the 4th invisible head.