Say hi to dorris — your new companion

Why we founded dorris — Your new Strategic Experience & Digital Growth company

Having worked with different clients, different industries and sizes of companies, we have realized there is a real need for a new kind of business partner today — A consulting firm that is a valuable partner to their clients leading them into a successful future. Meet dorris!

Chris Weier
Feb 1 · 6 min read

Since we founded our first digital agency, kontor eins digital, back in 2007, a lot of things have evolved, a lot has changed. What we have seen over the past years is that everybody is talking about diversification, agile work and inter-disciplinary teams, selling these as holy grails to their clients although they still practice the waterfall model, splitting responsibility among different teams and parts of the agency, left side not knowing what the right side is up to, not working towards a common end goal but rather working on their part solely. Other agencies have specialized in one single part of the user journey as UX, Design or Social Media which makes it even harder aligning with different departments on the client side and working on a common goal with other agencies involved.

How often have you seen a great Social Media campaign and then been sent to a one-size-fits-all (that never works out) Wordpress-theme-like Landing Page where no one has taken care about the actual goal of the customer at that point, who that customer is, why he landed here and what he is up to?

Why is dorris different?

dorris takes a different approach — dorris has been founded by entrepreneurs who have constantly been working on their own brands, their own companies. Who know what questions to ask before even starting a „project“ although we usually not only do one sole project for a client. We regard ourselves as strong partners who stay at our client`s side for years because their success is our success. We are your problem solvers. This feeling of attachment and sitting in the same boat has formed valuable relationships between our team and our clients.

Since 2007 we have been working very closely with many different brands, at first mostly without a concrete assignment at all. Together we helped to identify fields of improvement, find out where the real problems are and define a strategy to achieve the business goals as well as satisfy their customers’ needs. Then we are able to create an innovative solution combining Product and Brand Experience with Marketing and Growth Strategy. Understanding our client`s business is as important to us as understanding user needs.

How can we achieve that?

Because great founders and great growth marketers are one and the same!

We, the founders, are part of each project team which is possible because we only take as many projects per year as the two of us can handle. We do not take part in Pitches where we pretend to be everything the client needs and as soon as we have won the project, we hand the work over to our Junior team or freelancers we hardly know. We do not present fancy designs and ideas to potential clients that were created by a team of contractors who are not part of the actual project team later on. How can you know what the DNA of an agency you want to do important work with is if you do not even know who the people are this agency is made of? Apart from that we don`t impress you with some crazy design concept that might win an award but neither helps your users nor has anyone checked if it can actually be technically realized.

We at dorris regard ourselves as facilitators whose mission is to collect our client`s best thoughts and knowledge. Build fast, test, validate and have an experimentation mindset is our #1 rule. Together with a high-profile network of Expert Partners we are able to staff the best team for our clients’ special needs. From day 1 we share our ideas and concepts, build on each other`s knowledge and develop a consistent customer experience across all channels and touchpoints. Our clients love us because we are full of new ideas, we are fast and flexible, we are the speed boat you need to overtake your competitors and enter new, unknown waters.

The dorris way

Besides the way we work, there is another important aspect to what sets dorris apart from the agencies you know: We have developed a tried and true approach for rapidly improving digital products and services and integrate Marketing and Growth strategies already in the early stages of our work. We do not focus on one small part as UX or UI Design but have a holistic view of bringing the design and business side together. We think beyond interfaces to create better products and transform the entire customer experience while not just sticking to industry patterns or existing solutions. Because solely creating great user experiences is not enough any more these days. This is not what users want any more but what they expect you to provide.

So, how does that the dorris way of working look like?

1. Discovery & Goal setting:

When we start working with a new client we always do a Discovery Phase first. During this phase we need to work with the decider on the client side because this phase is crucial.

You have probably encountered this moment after months of development, sweat and hard work when the decider (be it the CEO, Head of or Founder of a company) gets a first presentation of what you have come up with and suddenly shuts down the whole project because he hasn`t been involved before, would have chosen a different path or just disagrees. Right?

Being aware of the importance of mutual alignment we start with a workshop including people from different departments and teams on the client side as well as of course the decider. Our goal in the Discovery Phase is to craft an actionable problem statement we can then work on.

Another important part of the Discovery Process is getting to know our client and their business as well as finding out more about their customers. We use different techniques from Design Thinking, Design Sprints and classic User Research to uncover as much as possible. Even if our client tells us he has got these personas and actually can answer all our questions about his customers without us talking to them in person, we do our own research first before starting the next phase. Our experience has taught us there is always something important no one has seen before or listened to explicitly.

2. Ideation and Creation

Having laid the groundwork we start with the Creative Phase: finding solutions to the problem statement. We do this by running several ideation sessions applying methods and tools from Hyper Island, Google Design Sprints and Design Thinking. We create storyboards and use methods like Concept Framing to bring our ideas to life. Together with our client we discuss these concepts, decide on the strongest ideas and how we can implement them.

Already during the Creation Phase our Growth Experts are heavily involved in ideating around possible Strategies for the finished product. They already then discuss these strategies with our Technology Experts to figure out how to build the foundation for their realization after the product has been launched. In alignment with the Product Concept Ideas, our Growth team develops several Growth Experiments matching our defined goals in Phase 1.

Before we move on we design our test scenarios, both for the Product Test and our Growth Experiments. We prioritize our assumptions and frame the most important ones as hypothesis.

3. Test, verify and build

In the next step we create a Product Prototype implementing the core features which we think are most crucial to evaluate before we spend months and loads of money developing them. In user tests with real customers we gather important feedback and re-work our ideas until we have identified a clear path to follow. By that time we have a validated prototype showing the core features of our product and a Growth strategy derived from the outcome of our Growth Experiments.

The outcome of this 3-step phase which usually lasts between 6–8 weeks is highly valuable to our clients. This process accelerates what is usually a months-long process of building consensus. Not only do we provide our clients with all the research results and ideas we created but they also get a validated high-fidelity product prototype, a detailed concept paper along with a proven Marketing strategy, a Product and Growth strategy paper with recommendations on which path to follow.

Closing this article about why we founded dorris with a short recap:

Chris Weier

Written by

About damn good cx: how I adopted processes and toolkits from IDEO, Hyperisland and Google to help my clients create products their users really love

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