Prototyping has gone from a buzzword to an actual part of the process in agencies and creative studios. We started our own digital studio over a year ago with the idea to create prototypes for every project. During this year we have worked with various brands like Electrolux, Hilliards, Sony and helped renowned agencies such as Your Majesty, B-Reel and Snask to create physical prototypes.
So how did it go, what did we learn? We decided to sum up our learnings and share it with you.
1. Invest in having fun to earn money
When we mentioned the idea to create prototypes for every project, one of the most common questions was; “How will you guys make money out of this?”. Of course we got a bit anxious, we are not traditional business people who think about ROI and revenue, we are passionated makers who wanted to change the way we work. In the beginning we didn’t make any profit from it at all, we made prototypes because it was fun to create and was driven by passion but after a while we realized it also was a great sales tool. But that was not enough, we believe that brands should pay for creative services and it is important for our industry. So we started to insist to always have a prototype-phase and get payed for it. As time passed our clients have realized that we discover so much during this phase and find future road bumps that we can prevent, so now prototyping a natural part of the budget and time plan in all projects.
2. The real thing will blow you away
Wolfmother’s first prototype was for a beer brand in the US that wanted to create an interactive vending machine that would serve you a beer if you payed by uploading a picture on Instagram with a specific hashtag. We were really excited and had a bunch of ideas on how to create the product. The problem was that we just started our company and had a really tight budget, so we couldn’t buy a full size vending machine. So instead we went to the closest hardware store, bought a cheap first aid kit-box, spray painted and rebuilt it to create a simpler version of the prototype. We were worried that the client and agency would think we were a bit nuts, bringing this sketchy looking box to the board meeting. But guess what? They loved it. We realized that if we could communicate the core idea, in physical form, it would be a home run.
3. Act fast and have an open mind
Before we joined forces, our Technical Founder, Mattias, connected a Raspberry Pi to a toy candy grabber, so we could feed him candy at his desk remotely. His prototype and imaginativeness gave birth to an idea. “Can we do this, but a lot bigger?”, we asked. The video was sent to a client, a famous chocolate company, just to feed them with an idea. A few days later we were in production. For us it was a new and exciting way to work, but of course a bit scary to ignore the standard agency process and send ideas without having a proper brief. But we trusted our team and learned to always act fast and that ideas can be born from anywhere.
4. Keep on failing
As long as we can remember we have been prototyping, even though we didn’t know how to label it. It has always been a way for us to evolve. The core idea behind prototyping is to try, fail and then try again until you succeed. What will be the next big thing everyone is talking about. We don’t know. Just keep on evolving.
Christian Hammar & Mattias Ottosson
Founders of Wolfmother Co.