The most innovative product in years.
We have worked on many strategic initiatives and a variety of product launches for HP. But it was not until we received a call late one night about the new HP Sprout that we had heard such anticipation about a new project. Our responsibility was to support the retail launch for what promised to be a breakthrough in computing. The scope of work included working on the messaging, the merchandising fixtures, the campaign graphics, as well as the videos and demos that would help people understand the new technology. We were also responsible for the design of the product packaging and unboxing experience, as well as the website destination that would introduce the product across digital platforms.
Liquid Sprout team
From the start, this project felt like one of those quintessential Silicon Valley moments that define a new era. Given the time frame for launch, it also felt a lot like a race. We assembled a seasoned team of client directors, program managers, retail strategists, designers, and programmers—and we braced ourselves to work long hours and most weekends until the launch date. When HP kicked off the project, they invited all of the agencies working on the launch to operate like one team, and be collaborative, share ideas, and connect as often as possible. This, of course, was music to our ears, since collaboration is a big part of our own culture and we were delighted that all of the agencies set aside their differences and their egos, and embraced a collaborative approach.
Customer journey map
We began with a deep dive into the product demos and an audience definition exercise, from which we learned that this product would cut across traditional demographic models and appeal to a segment that blurred the lines between a prosumer, a DYI persona, and a tech enthusiast. In parallel, our retail strategists developed a consumer journey map—taking into consideration an omni-channel approach that included a wide variety of online and offline touch points. All of this informed the design direction we would apply to all of the retail materials influencing purchase behaviors.
Early retail fixtures
Clearly, this product deserved to be showcased separately from other PCs, as a way to signal to consumers that this was a radical leap forward in technology. We started by exploring custom merchandising fixtures working collaboratively with HP and a team of retail display experts. We crafted a solution designed to appeal to the “maker market”—people passionate about making and creating with an affinity for reclaimed materials.
The retail merchandising system needed to take into account a variety of retail environments, including a scalable solution for Best Buy stores and stand-alone kiosks for airports and malls. We carefully incorporated the colorful patterns created by 180LA onto the reclaimed aesthetic of the merchandising fixtures, and arrived at a solution that is earthy and organic, as well as modern and dynamic. Suggestive of workbenches, the fixtures are an eclectic mix of modern and earthy, while the legs were inspired by the HP Sprout industrial design, and feature HP’s signature blue color.
Retail demo video
A key element of the communications strategy involved developing a series of videos enabling consumers to better understand the benefits of the new technology. The attract loop featured 6 different usage models that showcased the HP Sprout being used by a variety of creative professionals; in educational scenarios; and in home settings. And by simply touching the product anywhere, the consumer is invited to engage in a demo session which allowed them to design something, to save, and keep or share.
The demo invites consumers to create a postcard by scanning a three dimensional object with unprecedented ease through the built-in camera scanner. We created a set of colorful paper butterflies using the patterns from the visual style. The wings could be bent at different angles, making the butterflies look as if they were flying. We made it easy for people to share their creation through social media which extends and amplifies the impact of the experience, introducing the HP Sprout to audiences outside of the retail environment.
A packaging design that helps tell the story.
Due to the production lead time and the supply chain requirements, one of the very first items we needed to produce was the packaging. Given the size of the product and the number of components, the HP Sprout box is fairly large, so we used the front and back as “billboards”, showcasing the unique touch mat technology and the ability to scan and manipulate physical objects. We also worked on the unboxing experience, focusing our efforts on creating customer delight by making it simple, friendly and interesting.
A mobile experience for use at events across the country.
In order to communicate that this product is different than the anything else out there, we extended the reach of traditional retail through a mobile truck that could reach audiences at sporting events, music festivals, maker’s fairs, art shows, conferences, etc. The truck environment was modeled after a small artist’s loft, and allowed visitors to try the demo and learn about the features and benefits of this new technology while pointing them to HP’s site where they could order the product and be one of the first people to own this innovative technology.
Besides all of the physical retail touch points, Liquid was also asked to deliver a website experience. Starting with a “mobile first” philosophy, we created a fully adaptive solution that works just as well on phones, tablets or desktops. Of course the website includes the requisite specs and pics—but it also features video testimonials from people who use the technology in a variety of professional, creative, educational or domestic applications. The website experience was successful beyond expectations, surprising most of us in terms of the amount of traffic and the number of sales it generated.
Launching this project was undeniably exciting. The team at HP, as well as the other creative agencies involved were excellent collaborators, each of whom worked incredibly hard to make this product introduction a great success. And we are inordinately proud for the opportunity to work with so many talented and nice people. At the moment of truth, when the HP executives stood on stage in New York in front of some of the industry’s most influential reporters, analysts and reviewers, they asked Liquid to share the spotlight and tell the crowd about how excited we were to be one of the first creative agencies to test this product. And that’s how we ended up with a system in our office that we really don’t want to give back!