Spicule: Building for the future, focusing on the now
2018 has been an exciting year for Spicule, and through our blogs we’ve tired to keep you informed every step of the way. But one of the things we rarely do – and we’d actually like to do more of – is tell you about specific projects from both our and our clients’ perspective. In this blog we wanted to give you a small insight into an app we developed that’s a little bit different from our other work and was a satisfying challenge to conquer.
ALL is FLUX are a brand positioning agency based in Norwich. They are experts in helping their clients build a sensational brand by identifying and tuning in to their customers specific wants and needs, and they have developed a process called CBX (Customer Brand Experience) ModellingTM that helps them do just that. With CBX Modelling, ALL is FLUX can focus down on their client’s vision, values and purpose and find the commonalities that will align them to their customer’s identity, thereby giving them the best chance of attracting and selling to their target demographic.
CBX Modelling takes place over a series of ‘Discovery meetings’ with their client, and in its original (i.e. pre-Spicule) form it was very paper-based and extremely labour intensive. ALL is FLUX’s founders/directors Mike Stiff and Aaron Fickling could spend anything up to fifteen hours with a client and then have to manually transcribe all the information afterwards before analysing it and then creating a bespoke client document. It was laborious and inefficient and Mike and Aaron knew there had to be a better way to do things.
Mike initially came to us because he had already seen the potential of refining CBX Modelling into a piece of software they could use while working with their client in real-time, but he wasn’t sure what to do next. At that stage, he was simply looking for advice and we suggested he should build it in Excel. After Mike went away and produced a kind of ‘first draft’ in Excel as a proof of concept, he realised there were a lot of errors within the data and that a lot of the data was repeating itself. We knew we could build an app that would do everything ALL is FLUX needed and vastly improve upon Mike’s proof of concept, which is when he and Aaron gave us the go-ahead to start work.
There was a lot to consider with this app, but the goals ALL is FLUX set us were very clear. They wanted a piece of bespoke software that would allow them to input client information and generate solutions in real-time, so the client could immediately see how their values and messages matched up with their target customer and what their customers motivations are. They also wanted the software to be intuitive and funnel down to the messages that were most important so that – from the very first Discovery meeting – the client had options to think about and a clear understanding of what the outcomes might be.
Our solution was to build an app that lets ALL is FLUX's clients understand aspects of their offering they might not realise are relevant to their customers when making a purchasing decision. For example, a high-end wedding catering business might focus all their marketing messages around the "look and taste" of their food, not realising that there are many other "pain points" or objections that their customer has which will cause friction (or possibly a lost sale) if not addressed: e.g concerns around price increases, the organisation of utilities on site, or dietary requirements. ALL is FLUX's new software will help highlight many of these other pains the customer has and help create relevant messages to alleviate concerns; increasing sales conversions and building a robust and consistent brand in the process. It’s a hierarchical solution that will eventually evolve to become an inexhaustible database as Mike and Aaron input more and more data into it, and as their client’s choices determine what happens next.
Of course, even though all those database processes are going on ‘behind the scenes’, the app still had to be as simple to use as possible. With that in mind, we built a customer interface that allows Mike and Aaron to input their client’s data quickly and easily and interpret the results as a series of graphs the client can immediately see and understand. Not only does the app vastly improve the client’s journey and let Mike and Aaron get things moving during the very first Discovery meeting, it eliminates the delay and duplication of their workload, accelerates productivity, and literally puts finding the best solutions at their fingertips… all in real-time.
What the client says
Mike and Aaron have named their app the ‘True Value™ Tool’ and it’s already proven to be a big success. We asked Mike for some feedback about his experience of working with us:
“We had a lot of discussions with Spicule throughout the development of the app and listening to their client and understanding what their client really needs is something Tom and Steve are particularly good at. One of their other really strong points is that they are great at getting going and focusing on ‘let’s get the first step done, get it out there, get it tested, and then work on the next part’, which is very much in line with ALL is FLUX’s mindset.
“Spicule are also really good at highlighting the possibilities of where the app could go without trying to sell them to you. For example, Tom suggested we could take the app to market and gave us some fantastic ideas about where to go next – like pulling in external data and plugging in AI – but he’s not pushing to make us spend more money. He’s giving us possibilities to think about further down the line.
“The other thing I loved about working with Tom and Steve is that you can see they’re genuinely in this for the journey and to take the product to the best place possible. They’re passionate about what they do. Even though they’re building for the future they’re focused on what you need right now. It’s really refreshing and we’re looking forward to working with them again.”
At Spicule, we offer a wide range of IT solutions to make your business life easier, more productive and more effective. If you’d like to know more, or if you’ve got a tricky app or data management project you’d like us to make a reality, we’d love to hear from you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01603 327762.
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