Buying a steak is not a challenging task. We can simply choose portion (e.g., sirloin), quality (e.g., AAA), and weight (e.g., 8oz).
However, when I visited the SSG food market, an upscale grocery store in Seoul, to buy a steak, the store asked me to choose the thickness of the steak as well. Interestingly, I was provided with several pieces of wood plank whose thickness varies. Thanks to this tangible decision support tool, I did not have to scratch my head to figure out the numerical value of the steak thickness. Instead, I picked up one piece of wood plank and simply said “I would like to go with THIS thickness.”
Wood plank will help other buyers choose the right steaks and taste the flavor of the professional services.
About an year ago, I met two artists who opened StudioBlank and carved wood like a bowling pin. They produced a single product: wood massager called Tapi. We discussed how to increase sales and I suggested them to vary its size in order to target different segments. For example, sales representatives might be interested in small-sized Tapi because they want to give something special to their clients.
Recently, I visited StudioBlank’s newly opened shop and found that the two artists did not simply change the size of their product but developed the product line. Now, they make and sell from typical massagers to aroma diffusers, wooden pillows, and special (acupressure) massagers.
Marketers wonder how to develop/extend the product line without sacrificing the consistency among the products. They tend to focus on visual cues such as brands, logos, or colors. However, product designers can use material, the essence of the product, as a vehicle to develop a successful product line.
Jaewoo Joo | design thinking, behavioral economics, new product development, new product adoption