Sometimes Business is Personal


Jul 2021

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In our third decade of helping clients transform ideas into coded reality, we’ve had the opportunity to work on hundreds of projects. From B2C apps and info kiosks to enterprise software and AI innovations, we’re always excited by the opportunity to work with companies and client teams unafraid to take a “let’s do this” leap. 

Given that the projects will often be specific use cases—think electrical grids, industrial processes, field service needs or other niches—working on something personally relevant is not that common. When the brief does have a personal relevance or association, the project takes on a little bit more import. This was the case last year when a consumer packaged goods multinational approached us to discuss one of its healthcare brands. 

Closer to Home

Instead of strategy sessions on how to increase sales of a product line that helps men and women living with something most would consider a personally embarrassing condition, our discussions with this Fortune 500’s brand management team started with the problem. As with every project scoping exercise, our initial focus was to learn more about the context and understand the customers’ feelings. We began, as we always do, by exploring the end-user’s heart, mind and emotions long before we spent any time on technology considerations.

Because the condition isn’t something you’re likely to discuss with neighbors or co-workers, or reference when answering a “How are things going?” query, most people don’t talk about it with anyone other than their GP. Which can be problematic as most people, whether they have this condition or not, see their doctor only infrequently. While the opportunity to close a first deal with yet another Fortune 500 multinational was obviously attractive, it quickly evolved to something more than writing code. 

Coincidently, a member of the project team has parents with the condition. Having an EX Squared teammate so familiar with its effects and inconvenience prompted us to wonder who else in the EX Squared family might have this condition. A quick poll followed and the responses were frankly surprising; we learned that many have family members, particularly parents and grandparents, living with it. 

The project’s “create connection and community” objective quickly evolved from an opportunity to help the brand’s customers, whom we would likely never meet, to helping the people with whom we live, visit and dine, and even open birthday and Christmas gifts. The business opportunity had become personal. 

Open With Something They’ll Remember

I couldn’t say that we worked more hours developing our proposal than others, but there was a certain perspective and imperative that influenced what we put into our presentation deck. And it certainly provided a uniqueness to our pitch which we delivered, of course, over video due to Covid-19. Our intro, in sharp contrast to every other finalist, went something like this: 

“You can pick any agency in the world to build this, but we know the issue better than any. We surveyed our employees and learned how many are familiar with it because someone in their family has it. My mother has it so I know the issue very well.”

Our team was privileged to work on this project with a global healthcare giant. We earned this business over the names you see on pro golfers’ bags because we demonstrated that, above and beyond our resources and capabilities to deliver to the spec, we focussed on the customer. While other firms focused on the technology and the process, we wanted to deliver a customer result, a result that just happened to be very personal. It meant more to us because it would mean more to the greater EX Squared family. 

So, what is it? We’re building a mobile application for the community who shares this condition. When it goes live, they’ll have a virtual space to connect, share and learn. We can’t wait for that date.

When Business Really Becomes Personal

Tech is highly personal and irreversibly connected to our lives. We can talk to computers and have things happen in our driveway or fridges. Designing technology that improves our lives—like this healthcare example—is the reason EX Squared exists. We understand tech at its DNA level and we understand the psychology of software. It’s what separates us from other firms. And when we get opportunities to improve the lives of people we know, well, that just adds to the enthusiasm of everyone working on them.

EX Squared is a creative technology agency that creates digital products for real human beings.