The future is live
In the middle of 2019 we got a call from serial entrepreneur Adam Hudson. The tone indicated he was sitting on a idea that had some serious potential. At the time Adam was pulling out his phone and going live on instagram most mornings, sharing his thoughts about business, entrepreneurship and life. Combining honest, unguarded truthful content with live video seemed to resonate with his audience.
The problem, as Adam put it to us was this : Insta is noisy and full of useless content, making it hard to isolate the stuff that could be really helpful. What if you just pulled out the raw, real stuff that helps people improve, achieve or learn something and you delivered that in live format? And hey presto, Youspired is born.
Adam and his business partner Joe, run an incredibly successful education company (plus another 9 companies) which makes them short on time. Through a series of catchups and discussions, we started to understand that the mammoth task of building a product from the ground up was going to put Adam and Joe under considerable duress, so we put a plan to the guys to become an extension of their team, responsible for everything that needed to be planned, designed, managed and built with the goal to deliver a working app within 8 months.
The natural place to start was product strategy session, taking the guys through a series of exercises designed to extract the business model, app features, go to market plan, brand & core messages, allowing the Ply team to work independently while Adam and Joe focused on other business ventures.
Youspired is an ambitious idea and it has global application. That puts a certain amount of pressure on the brand system to perform at the highest level. Think of brands like spotify, airBNB, netflix ..yadayada. That's the kind of benchmark we set internally for this project.
Through a rigorous process of ideation, early ideas and concepts, one idea really started to stand out. The 'Y' in youspired became our focal point and we set about crafting the letter to be unique and memorable in the way that the two shapes intersect to form the Y. With the brand mark locked down, we moved into creating a brand system that would support the logo, with graphic devices, typeface, and colors.
Youspired is a start-up and that presented a few key challenges in building instant trust & creds with the audience. For starters, at launch we only had one coach available on the platform. To get around the lack of coaches, we built core personas around the types of coaches we wanted for the platform, from cooking to DJ's. Sourcing local model talent, we put together a shoot day, with photography and video working side by side to capture core personas, developing visual assets to be used in web, social and display advertising.
It's not everyday you get the opportunity to work on an app that might have global reach and this drove our team to reach as high, to design a product that would be loved by subscribers and coaches. We leveraged our decade of designing and building products, working through the full cycle of feature documentation, product wires, prototypes, UX/UI design and development docs.
The user feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive, they say it's easy to signup, pay, use and interact with the app. And the really nice little cherry is that we are sitting on a five star rating in the app store. Thanks early adopters.
When you set out with a plan to build a business that can scale and grow on a global stage, you need to be willing to investment in the brand and product to show up in a way that users will instantly trust. This attitude and lofty goals set the standard for what we had to deliver; and we didn't compromise.
For any two-sided platform, you have to strike the balance of appealing to one target user group without alienating the other. The best way to do this is firstly find common ground that all users care about and amplify that, then pick your spots to lean one way or the other. This doesn't just affect brand but also everything from information architecture to UI design, go to market strategy and more.
What often gets lost in the launch of a brand and business like this is how much work went into getting to "day one". The product launch was the result of over 12 months of planning and execution, and it's only the beginning. Brands are never set in stone and we will continue to work hand in hand with the team as things evolve and grow.