Constructing a winning concept isn’t easy. There are features and benefits and trademarks, oh my! And making each one sound as unique as one of the 124 Munchkins in the Wizard of Oz can seem as ominous as taking a walk down a long, winding and daunting yellow brick road with lions and tigers and bears, too.
New product concepts: build it first, and the writing will come
But in fact, building a solid new product concept has more similarities to construction than to any scarecrow, tin man or lion at all. At Writing by Design, we use our exclusive Concept Blueprint™ to help our clients build the “bones” of a good concept – prior to writing ANY concept at all. Like any good carpenter, we find that upfront planning, or “measure-twice-cut-once” strategy, pays itself off many times over when it comes time to evaluate the written concept. By starting with a strategic framework, you’ll find that your concepts will be more tightly constructed, more differentiated and more focused than without taking that step at all.
So whether you’re trying to “DIY” your concepts, or are using an agency like Writing by Design to write them for you, here are some basic tips for constructing awesome concepts:
- Separate the parts. As I mentioned, writing a concept requires a basic understanding of the insights, features and benefits of the new or improved product you are launching. If you are writing concepts for ONE new product, you will likely have the same features (unless there are afew you want to explore communicating separately), which on a strategy document (like our Concept Blueprint™) can be stated the same way. The point of the strategy document is to be sure you know what you will be TRYING to communicate in the actual concept once you (or an agency) begins writing. It lays the foundation for the concept and plays a large part in achieving differentiated concepts.
- Trim the overlapping pieces. If you think you want five different concepts (i.e., ways to talk about your new product), then you should strive to have five completely different ways of talking about the product. Remember, your features are likely going to be the same across most concepts (though you can explore different language to bring them to life in the concepts). But your functional and emotional benefits should be distinguishably different or you shouldn’t have five concepts. Maybe you only have three, or four concepts. Be sure to brainstorm all the ways you can possibly position your new product and agree on them before having your concept writer put even one word on paper.
- Measure twice, write once. I know. You’re in a hurry. The concepts are due tomorrow, or two days from now. You don’t have the time to take the extra step of planning—you just NEED TO WRITE! But don’t. Don’t give in to a rushed timeline or you’ll end up spending more time after the writing is done wading through many similar-looking sentences trying to pull them apart between concepts. Due diligence on the front end of concept writing pays off, just like measuring twice does in construction work. Take the time you need to strategize over your concepts and doing steps 1 and 2, and you will ultimately end up with better concepts than if you skipped right to the writing step.
Just like in construction, starting with a blueprint, in this case, a new product Concept Blueprint™ like ours, makes a whole lot of sense and pays off in spades when it comes to writing a solid concept. Start with strategy and the writing will follow the yellow brick road all the way to positive qualitative or quantitative test scores!
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Request an estimate on your new product concept writing project. We use our Concept Blueprint™ in all of our concept writing services, and there are no surprises on your invoice with our flat-rate pricing.
Patti Purcell brings 25+ years of journalism and marketing skills together to provide national and international companies with outstanding concept writing services via the company she founded in 2006, Writing by Design, LLC. She and her growing team, based in Wisconsin, have written hundreds of concepts and achieved many successful A.C. Nielsen BASES test scores over the last 10 years using their Crystal Clear™ concept writing methodology.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.