Discovery, UX & Creative Strategy.
The millennial mom is "the most mobile and social of all consumers. She's a voracious content consumer." says VP of Digital and Consumer Marketing, Shannon Delaney. "Whatever she's doing is driving trends."
Kids II has a 40-year history of inventing baby toys and gear, having a portfolio of almost 400 products—more than 100 of which are award winners. Their products are sold in 70+ countries and represent some of the best-loved brands for baby toys, including Bright Starts, Ingenuity, and Baby Einstein.
Their website, serves as a product catalogue which directs interested buyers to such popular retailers as Amazon, Target, Toys“R”Us, Dillards, and more.
When Shannon Delaney, a new vice-president of digital and consumer marketing joined Kids II, she knew they needed a digital strategy that would capitalize on their competitive advantages and build on the success of their brands.
From her previous experience with several members of the Launch Interactive team, she also knew the people who could help her achieve the company’s goal of creating an experience similar to that of multi-channel merchants—a unique challenge, since the Kids II website isn’t a true e-commerce experience because although information about their products are offered on the site, purchase of those products is handled through other retailers, like Amazon, Target, and Wal-Mart.
Kids II engaged us to discover and communicate an understanding of the company’s present consumer while also providing forward-thinking insights of the possible shifts and trends in future consumer behavior. Effectively, Kids II wanted Launch to design a digital experience for the present while also imagining future design needs.
In order to meet this objective, Launch had to quickly get up to speed on the industry, value proposition, and unique buyer behaviors, while also working as an integrated, collaborative team with the Kids II stakeholders and with the outsourced development partner.
Successful completion of the project included delivery of:
- A competitive analysis which included review of 4 competitors and recommendations for Kids II
- A findings presentation which provided research conducted, findings, and key take-aways
- A requirements document to be used in the subsequent phase of website development
- 2 versions of creative strategy to communicate the visual brand of Kids II
Risks & Challenges
For Kids II, the biggest risk was their aggressive timeline. The discovery portion of the project was slated for completion within 5 weeks (beginning in Q1) whereas the entire redesign of the Kids II website, implementation of a new CMS, and the launch of the new site are to be completed before Q4. Because of the necessity of providing a requirements document to the development partner, any delay on the Launch side of the project would have significant ramifications for the success of the overall project. Therefore, it was critical that all teams, internal and external, work together as one.
A second risk of the project was more of a personal one to Shannon Delaney, the project sponsor. Having recently joined Kids II, she presented her vision for the digital future of the company and then brought Launch in, as a new vendor, risking her reputation at her new employer; however, she’d worked with Rachel, Javier, and Dave previously and knew their expertise with mobile and e-commerce would be critical to the project’s success.
When it came to Launch, the tight timeframe was certainly a challenge, but there were others that had to be addressed:
On the UX side, we had to envision both immediate and future site architectural needs. This required incorporating the future state of the site into the wireframe annotations while also presenting the state for the immediate redesign.
Although currently a brochure site, Kids II wants to create an omni-channel merchant experience which feeds into their new digital strategy. This was a challenge for us because we had to come up with methods of measuring conversion that were unlike those of typical e-commerce sites.
A third challenge for us was in finding a way to create a visual brand that felt unified among all Kids II sub-brands—some of which have greater recognition than the parent company. Well-loved brands like Bright Starts and Baby Einstein needed to maintain their identity while still establishing a clear visual connection to Kids II.
With so many moving parts during a short period, we took responsibility for managing the project. Vivian Lowe, Account Lead at Launch, set the timelines for deliverables and worked on behalf of Kids II in communicating the discovery recommendations and requirements to the development partner. Our team functioned in a continuously collaborative and iterative manner.
The discovery process included:
- Multiple stakeholder meetings
- A project planning session (which included participation with the development partner)
- Two user experience work sessions with the client (to review and consider various features and functions of sites admired by the Kids II team)
- Review of competitors, the Kids II site, and of pertinent information relating to Kids II’s business.
Addressing a millennial mom consumer carried its own challenges. Shannon describes the millennial mom as “the most mobile and social of all consumers.
She’s a voracious content consumer…a digital and social maven, and her behaviors are different from others and changing all the time. Whatever she’s doing is driving trends.”
For millennial moms, mobile experiences are a must which is one of the reasons Kids II trusted their discovery project to our UX lead, Rachel Peters. Because of the short project duration, there wasn’t time enough to complete personas and journey mapping, so Rachel’s approach was to provide early stage personas and storified user flows to bring context to her recommendations.
Also, to Shannon’s point about how much content millennial moms consume, Rachel recommended a strategy with multiple user flows to engage their consumers with the brand. This strategy met one of Kids II’s objectives which was to “create digital endcaps,” and leveraged their competitive advantage in long-tail searches by providing content relevant to the lives millennial mothers lead.
For Kids II, being a challenger brand with a fraction of the marketing spend of much larger companies, they needed to make certain that their content investment would pay off in building stronger, long-lasting relationships with their consumers.
By leveraging information revealed through her competitive analysis, Rachel recommended strategies for building communities, connecting to consumers before, during, and after purchase, and tying content recommendations to various features and functionality to deliver the best consumer experience.
When it came to visual design, Javier Santana, Creative Director and Cate Kennedy, Sr. Designer, crafted a creative strategy in the form of mood boards that expressed the visual brand of the parent company while still incorporating the identities of some of the sub-brands. The mood boards communicated the visual brand of the company, from font recommendations to color choices and imagery recommendations.
Finally, Rachel created a comprehensive requirements document which included specifications for site navigation, page templates, filters to be applied, content types, and more. These functional requirements allowed Kids II to proceed with site development, knowing the site would be designed with both the user and the company’s digital strategy in mind.
Following our research, we were able to illustrate the opportunities that Kids II can use to build their brand, engage their mom-centric audience, and create an omni-channel experience. Our creative strategy deck communicated a unified visual message for all brands. And the final road map that we provided Kids II supported a more efficient design and development process for both the current site and for its future state.
When it came time to share the results with her CMO, Shannon created a presentation which combined highlights from Rachel’s discovery deck, elements from the competitive analysis, and consumer flows. Shannon said the presentation to her CMO , and screenshots of wireframes which she said, “went over exceptionally well,” and that it “was great being able to present [her] digital strategy by peeling out the web project and showing how it all culminated in the creative.”
The user experience discovery findings created by Launch paid off the strategy which she’d created when she first joined Kids II—a great accomplishment for both a new employee and a new agency partner.
About Kids II
Kids II has a 40-year history of inventing and reinventing baby and infant toys and gear and has quickly become one of the world’s fastest growing baby product companies. Driven by innovation and a comprehensive brand portfolio, Kids II designs, markets and distributes more than 400 unique baby and infant products, launching 125 new products a year across the globe. The brand portfolio strength runs deep under the Kids II umbrella, which includes Ingenuity™, Comfort & Harmony™, Bright Starts™, Baby Einstein™, Disney Baby™, Oball™ and Taggies™. Kids II spans the globe by selling products in more than 70 countries and maintains 13 global offices, including international affiliate operations in Australia, Canada, Europe, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico and South Africa to manage its global operations. To learn more, visit kidsii.com.