Design Thinking

Design thinking involves solving problems creatively by beginning with the end in sight. The create-test-and-learn process is iterative and can involve several rounds of ideation, prototyping, and testing. Customer feedback is obtained early and often, to reshape solutions and get closer to the final answer.

The objective is to identify a surplus of benefit-based marketing concepts and test them in concept form before investing significantly in full development or implementation activities.

The process is user centric and can be used for a variety of strategic purposes, from developing value propositions and new products to positioning and messaging product development.

Customer need areas are used as a platform for developing concepts, used to express the core benefit in slightly different ways.

The concepts are then exposed to customers – one at a time – to determine the overall appeal and probe specific areas of interest — survival of the fittest.

Concept Optimization

Once concepts are explored individually, they are compared to determine which is most preferred and why. This is essential to refining and narrowing the list of ideas for subsequent development.


  • To fully optimize brand and business strategy concepts “real time,” based on target consumer input

Major Activities

  • Conduct qualitative research exposing the initial strategcy concepts to assess concept appeal, target relevancy and differentiation

  • Specific concepts and messaging components are probed and prioritized, and tested for relevance and distinctiveness
  • Concepts are changed, added or dropped between groups, drawing on target feedback
  • “Look and feel” can be probed to gain understanding of fulfillment potential for leading vs. current positioning
  • Review and select the “winning” propositions “real time”
  • Prepare detailed report of qualitative research findings, including strengths and weaknesses of all tested concepts

Key Deliverables

  • A focused number (2– 3) of consistently high-performing strategy concepts

  • Focus group research findings report

Key outputs of this step are used as an input into the strategy and plan development step.