Ryan Hall, Director of Brand Strategy, shares how and why it’s OK to fail quickly: if you incorporate some relatively cheap and easy testing functions at each step, then you can validate as you go.

What keeps a creative team up at night?

Upcoming client meeting? Budget? Last year’s Pantone swatches?

Maybe. But more than anything, it’s the fear of last-second failure–that a project will get all the way to the final presentation before it collapses, and instead of celebratory drinks, you’re ugly-crying in your office.

Thankfully, you don’t have to wait until you present to the client to tighten things up. It’s okay to fail along the way if you validate as you go by incorporating some relatively cheap and easy testing functions into your early process.

Here are three strategic validators that will help you sleep at night:

A/B Testing

At each development milestone, build in A and B versions, and make a habit of testing them in bite sized chunks as you go. From landing pages to video lengths to experience design and UX, it can make your process more accurate early on.

Crowdsourced Micro-Testing

There are few projects that have the time and resources to pull traditional market research and test groups. Instead, try some crowdsourcing. You can get objective feedback that informs your next creative cycle without spending the big bucks. It’s not a substitute for formal research, but it is a way to fail—and learn–more quickly at the earlier stages of the process. There are services to do this online so just add a little extra budget and time to use one of them.

Rapid prototyping

Whether you’re working with wireframing, messaging, visual language, outbound campaigns, or even retail experiences, make sure you’re prototyping early and repeatedly before you lock in your expensive influencer campaign. Bring your designers and developers to the earliest meetings and ensure their voice is in the mix.  Remember, your goal is not perfection, it’s validation.

Design-led thinking encourages fast failures and evidence-based decisions. If you’ve got the money and time, sure, do the big dollar research. You will learn a lot. For the rest of us, use methods like the above to test and validate as you go. Get that right and maybe, just maybe, you’ll be clinking glasses at happy hour and not ripping your hair out after hours.

Ryan Hall

Ryan Hall

Director of Brand Strategy

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