I have 3 confessions to make. The first is my weakness for whisky. Single Malt Scotch preferably. I have tried more malts than I could name, and though I have my favourite brands, I do like trying new variants, or expressions as we aficionados like to say, from my preferred distilleries.
But what if I could create a new whisky? What would I call it? What type of casks would I use for maturation? And for how long? How would I describe the nose, taste, and finish to my fellow connoisseurs?
Having a large number of dimensions to think about is nothing new to people working in innovations. And so I decided to try out Affinnova Concept Studio to organise my ideas. And so to my second confession. And my third - sort of.
Confession #2: I have had no training on Concept Studio so far other than a short demo presented at a company meeting. I only joined Affinnova last week and my formal training begins this week. But curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to give it a go. And I have to say, I am seriously impressed! By now you may have predicted that my third confession is that I work for Affinnova. So does that make me biased? Maybe. Until I tell you that it was the very idea of Affinnova’s IDDEA (incorporating Concept Studio) that meant their headhunter was the one I called back.
I found Concept Studio to be intuitive, intelligent, and capable of doing everything I would ever want to be able to do to explore different ideas, propositions, and combinations. The 3-minute online intro video provided orientation, and the helpful little buttons gave me instant and contextually relevant advice for the more complex functions.
You start with a base concept, which is at least as easy to create in Concept Studio as it is in PowerPoint. Then simply highlight the words or phrases for which alternatives can be considered and just type these variations into the box that pops up. Ditto for age, cask finish, reason to believe. Want to display 3 out of 6 flavour descriptors for the tasting notes? So easy, I made smell, taste, and finish separate variables. And it works in exactly the same way for images.
And now for something really complicated. I wanted to display an image of the bottle… with 3 different bottle designs… and dynamically “stick on” the label design relevant to the name presented (of the 4 options). A quick Google image search and a bit of photoshopping to create my image layers was the hard part. Adding different options for the colour of the closure and the design of the emboss would only have taken a few minutes more. But within the 2-hour limit I had set myself, I already had just under 5 million unique concepts!
Now if only I can persuade Marketing that funding a concept optimization to find the best of these ideas would be good for PR purposes!
As for any other confessions, those will have to wait until we share a glass.
Ben likes to help organizations make better marketing decisions by including consumer wants, needs and behaviour alongside the corporate agenda. You can follow Ben on Twitter at @BenLangleben.