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Picking up the pace: The need for speed in brand design challenges

For brands, design is more important than ever. With the ‘logo slapped-onto-advertising’ way of creating brand worlds being a thing of the past, design, and the power of design is edging up the priority list for brand and business leaders.

Add into the mix urgent commercial objectives, emerging category threats and changes in consumer needs and desires, brands are increasingly finding the need for speed, without compromise from design agency partners.

The C-suite, including The Coca-Cola Company’s CEO, James Quincey is even starting to mandate the ‘test and learn’ way of working from the top, vs. the traditional ‘perfecting for launch’ strategy.

Normal client/agency rules no longer apply

Here at Dragon Rouge, we’re increasingly finding that design briefs are coming to us with the need for speed explicitly or implicitly woven into the challenge.

dreamstime_m_2456095copyThere will always be external drivers and factors, and from our experience, it’s better to be explicit about what’s driving shorter timelines to define the best possible way of working together, whether that be like an in-house strategic, design team, or as a design sprint partner.

When the need for a design sprint is established however, the normal client/agency rules no longer apply.

The success of a design sprint relies on a level creative playing field for all involved, where creative thinking is crucial from a spectrum of disciplines (all the way from product + R&D to marketing, design and activation). Ideas are not only the responsibility of designers. And neither is expression – all involved need to be open to picking up a pencil and doodling ideas.

As such, it’s crucial to approach a design sprint with an active, collaborative, iterative and agile ethos – where no idea is a bad idea, and ambiguity in ‘the answer’ is embraced, not shied away from.

Design sprint success

Each sprint is different, as is every design challenge. But from both agency and client-side, here are our top tips for design sprint success:

Watch-outs brand-side

⁃ Truly see your agency as part of your team, and let go of some of the traditional expectations/benefits of this dynamic (i.e. wonderfully designed PPT presentations, picking up some of the activities etc.)

⁃ Encourage cross-discipline team to maximise collaborative potential by bringing along insights, inspiration and learnings to influence final outputs

⁃ Work with your partner to define a well-considered, yet flexible design sprint programme, along with success criteria and ground rules for the session

Watch-outs agency-side

– Genuinely collaborate with your client partner, bringing the right people and right insights at the right time

– See your role to subvert – bringing the outside in, finding new and interesting stimulus to the challenge that your brand experts may not have considered before

– Keep the energy levels right up, and don’t forget the coffee and Haribo!

About: Rosie Brodhurst-Hooper, Dragon Rouge

Rosie has a curious spirit that always wants to understand the ‘whys’, and ‘so whats’ of business, brand and consumer behaviour.

She has spent the last 10 years working with global and local brands, helping them plan ahead, understand more and translate insights, data and observations into robust and effective strategies. It’s getting to the heart of a knotty business challenge that drives Rosie, and she has enjoyed working with brands such as Danone, Unilever, Kimberly-Clark and P&G across a breadth of categories, helping to solve problems and pave a new way ahead.

Image credits: 

© Alext |

© Jiajing Pan |


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