The Blog

The Power of Designing Experiences in a Foreign Language

by riley

We recently began designing a custom open innovation community for an international company.  The open innovation community is going to be in Arabic, so we, and our awesome partners at Young & Hungry, decided to design it all in Arabic and fill it in with Arabic filler text. What happened next was fascinating. Because our brains were not registering the words, we looked at the first round of designs through an entirely different lens. Instead of copy and buttons and calls to actions, we saw the designs only by colors, shapes, icons and images. Our early designs would require some explaining to anyone we showed them to, but after some time and fiddling, we could show someone the design in Arabic and despite not knowing what anything meant, they could navigate the experience. They could explain what they thought was going on and it was correct. They could pick out where they should add comments, ideas and could make sense of what the different galleries of content were. I think if we had done this same process in English or even Lorem Ipsum, we would have relied on the text too heavily. When we were forced to use basic icons, …
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Major New Release From Napkin Labs

by riley

Napkin Labs Launches Major New Release Napkin Labs continues to evolve its collaboration platform with new features, a refined user interface and now the ability to go beyond Facebook.   Foster Community Wherever it Exists. Napkin Labs has spent the last year perfecting its collaboration tools within Facebook, but this week we are launching the ability to create and launch communities anywhere. You can create a collaboration space and embed it within a website, launch a microsite and/or launch it as a Facebook app.  Now you can create the same social and collaborative hub and enjoy the same social features, but embed Napkin Labs wherever your customers are interacting with your brand. Better Social Integrations. We have implemented multiple hashtag support for Twitter and Instagram and now support Instagram Video features. We have also improved our advocate and influencer identification to keep pace with new Facebook tools and new Napkin Labs activities. We have also launched multiple sign-in options like Facebook, Google + and even Linkedin for internal collaboration projects.  Choose which sign-in options to give users and add additional screening questions to collect key information about your users.   New tools for admins. We have made it much, much …
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Innovation – Ready or Not?

by napkinlabs

Brands are being told everyday that they must embrace innovation like never before; and that includes turning over part of the process to consumer.  And, by the way, this isn’t any random consumer. These consumers are the brand’s self-selected advocates; ones often found engaging in social media.   But, before a brand can even begin to think about advocacy, innovation and the new face of R&D, let’s consider organizational structure and the company’s ability to engage in this new process. According to Lisa Bodell’s new book, Kill The Company, companies need to question assumptions and to challenge rules that have outlived their time. Killing these status quo attitudes makes space for change and more value-added work, like thinking (gee, wouldn’t that be nice to have the time to think?). Innovation is supposed to make things better, not worse, easier, not more complicated. A company that empowers its people to think critically, question relentlessly, and act boldly, to move from Zombies, Inc. to Think, Inc., will own the future. When the internal compass is set to this temperature, external innovation efforts will also be easier and more fruitful.  Believe us when we say that we know the sirens may be going off …
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What I Heard At The Automotive Social Media Summit

by napkinlabs

By Dan Bergeron, Strategist @NapkinLabs I’ve always considered myself a car guy.  I appreciate many different makes and models and like any other gearhead out there, I certainly have a list of favorites that would go into my dream garage.  I’ve been to dozens of shows, meetups, and cruises which are typically saturated with vendors and consumers (fellow gearheads) like myself.  A few weeks ago, I had the unique opportunity to attend the Automotive Customer Centricity Summit and the Automotive Social Media Summit.  This was a slightly different crowd, primarily consisting of automotive industry leaders, gathering and sharing insights about how they connect with consumers and the role social media plays in the automotive world. As a consumer and gear-head coming from the social media realm, it was a very interesting experience to hear how many of the automotive industry leaders view their brands and customers.  While there was much thoughtful insight shared, I noticed 4 key themes that seemed to be common ground for many of the brands.   Identifying Advocates/Influencers – Every customer is important.  However, in this day and age where social sharing is such a regular piece of so many consumers’ behavior, it is certainly important …
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The Critical Role Advocates Play for Automakers

by napkinlabs

Few purchases command the amount time and research as a car.  For some, it’s a purely utilitarian purchase based in facts and figures, but for most of us it is a personal, emotional and tough decision. We worry about safety, reliability and if a car will work in every potential situation it may encounter including IKEA runs or a trip to the mountains during winter. Because cars are such an important purchase our nature is to ask around.  We ask friends, 3rd parties, look at reviews and ratings.   But one bad review from a friend or one glowing one can cut through years of brand impressions, ads and social content.   Social influence is a huge opportunity and a potentially huge problem for auto brands.  They can advertise and tweet all day, but if they cannot cultivate a strong and effective base of vocal advocates then much of it can be wasted.   Recent data from the Dachis Group showed that across several product categories, tiny groups of advocates have a massive impact across the web.  According to their data, advocates active on social media represent about .001% of people interacting with brands online.  However, that .001% represents almost …
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Consumer Research In The Natural Environment

by napkinlabs

Ethnographies have become one of the most powerful tools a researcher can employ to discover authentic consumer behavior. Traditional focus groups bring consumers into an artificial environment. On the other hand, ethnographic studies go into the consumer’s environment. The artificial environment of the traditional focus group can skew the feedback from consumers and leave brands with misleading data. Ethnographies are able to uncover deeper truth’s by being the natural environment of consumers. However, it is not sustainable on a large scale. It is costly and logistically challenging to visit a large sample of consumers’ homes.
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Brands, Don’t Just Listen – Participate in Consumer Conversation.

by napkinlabs

We’ve heard it a million times before, ‘Your customers are talking – are you listening?’ It’s a great starting benchmarking point for brands on social media, however, the question itself rather incomplete.

Listen up, brands! Your customers are talking… are you a part of the conversation?
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Breaking The R&D Innovation Silo

by napkinlabs

When Harvard Business Review asked executives, “What is the number one innovation killer at your company?” they responded, “silos!”

We’ve entered an age of communication where information flows freely and is easily accessible, yet top executives still face challenges of, to put it simply, data getting stuck. Innovation dies within the Research & Development silo.

In the age of social media, why are brands still facing these challenges?

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The Constant Focus Group

by napkinlabs

There is a standard practice when preparing and executing a focus group: a question idea bubbles up internally, a discussion guide is prepared and a group of individuals is selected and paid for their feedback. The setting is casual at best; and the conversation is lead by the moderator. In a few short hours, insights are formulated, collected and interpreted resulting in a decision set in motion. Sounds simple, right?
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