Stefan Jakobsson

Santa Maria website

How insights built Sweden's best FMCG website

Better insights lead to a better user experience. Notice I use the word “better” in that sentence. The world is full of data – gathering ‘big data’ has become somewhat of a cliché. It’s easy to gather and then drown in ‘big’ data, but it’s tougher to find the real insights within that data.

Here at BRV we only employ Growth Hackers
Here at BRV our employees are all trained in the ninja arts of Growth Hacking. The Growth Hacker ruthlessly optimizes incoming traffic for success, and the focus is always on refining the service of our client… constantly improving customer retention, as outlined by Eric Ries.

The most successful companies understand the value of research; insight-driven recommendations; user experience and top-notch design. This body of work returns actual business results. When we first started working with Santa Maria we proposed to really nail the right insights and do thorough research before we started pixel-pushing any new designs.

We started with a thorough website evaluation. To do this we have a host of favourite tools, techniques user experience and data analysis software. These tools help us deep dive the data, measure behaviour of the site users and many other nifty things. This kind of background helps us decipher what must be improved in order to have a website that converts better and give the end user a much smoother and happier experience of the Santa Maria brand.

 

Santa Maria evaluation of website

 

How to you get the best effect from masses of data?
How do you eat an elephant?* You break it up into small chunks. Based on our mass of data and insights we gave a list of prioritized actions to focus on when redesigning some of the website’s most important pages and functions. Some changes are more important than others. Some changes will give quicker, more effective results – we prioritize our actions according to expected business results.

One concrete change we decided upon was to give more space for the site content by adding a left menu and minimizing the logo to the top left corner. By doing this the end user will see more content much quicker and also makes the website even more mobile-first. The site now looks and feels like a web-app.

 

Santa Maria website

 

Santa Maria website

And the result? – Well check it out yourself …it’s state of the art UX and design and top of the class in the FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) food and beverage category at the moment.

We call this method of working “Evaluation+“. If you’d like to know more about our process and the practical improvements it can make to your business, then send us an e-mail and we’ll tell you more.

 

 

 

*We do not condone the eating of elephants. In large or small chunks.


How awesome UX will bring you more business (including 6 tips)

Today’s methods of finding new customers are very common. We try Social Media Adverts, SEM (search engine marketing) and banners – that’s often the media mix.

More and more companies have also turned their heads towards content marketing and the use of ambassadors and influencers. Much of the above works effectively and brings traffic to a website. But when the customer finally lands on said website (let’s imagine it’s a travel agency) and the range of hotels and trips are just the same as any competitor…

Why would that person stay and buy their 2 weeks’ holiday there?

Is it because the website has an amazing CRM system that can collect all kind of useful data?
Could it be because the CMS that is used is written in Microsoft .NET and hosted by the world’s best cloud based servers.
Or what about that great HTML framework that it’s built upon and its perfect way of storing cookies so that they later can offer you re-targeting banners on your favorite news site?

Hmm, probably not! Techy mumbo-jumbo is rarely what would make a visitor buy a product, keep them loyal and open for future purchases.

Get your things working

Few things irritate a visitor more than a function that doesn’t work or is hard to understand. But the cause is very rarely dependent on if the website is using C#, Java or PHP as a programming language.

Apple’s founder Steve Jobs (may he rest in peace) was completely convinced that the overall customer experience was extremely important for the customer. Everything from his super skilled keynotes that gave rocket high expectations to the point the customer opened the sleek, well-made product package. Everything breathes Steve Jobs. And when the customer switched on the product it lived up to all its expectations. The navigation and icons animated smoothly and they were so intuitive that anybody could understand how they worked regardless of age or background.

But of course, all the masterpieces from Apple were backed-up by state of the art techniques. But in the eyes of the customer these where only hygiene factors and nothing that really made any difference.

If companies with a commodity product (or any kind of product for that matter) chose to spend more time on the user experience of their digital service’s they will surely be more appreciated by their users.

Take for example that smile, warm welcome or expert help that you get from a sales person when shopping in a physical store. That’s what makes you go back. So, if you can offer that in your digital channels you will most definitely succeed.

Should you rely on gut feeling?

But how do we know what good UX is? Should we go for our gut feeling or personal taste?
Well, gut feeling usually comes from experience and an experienced UX person may be right in many things although we doubt it represents all customers.

Our favourite way of finding out if something really works is user testing. And they don’t have to be built upon months of research and massive data insights including a high-fidelity prototype. With the right processes and methods, they can be done extremely effective and spot-on.

Some tips on your way to success

Here’s six tips that might help you improve your digital product or service.

  1. First, get a pencil and write down your challenge
  2. Collect a team of super heroes. That means your company experts in product, marketing, sales, IT and customer support.
  3. Work together to come up with various solutions on the problem
  4. Chose which solution you believe in the most
  5. Create a realistic prototype, but remember to keep it simple
  6. Run a handful of one-to-one user tests to find out if your solution works. If the test is negative then you know… and it’s back to the drawing board. And if it’s positive it will beat the heck out of gut feeling.

So, would you be interested in knowing more about how your company can make this process effective? Contact us and we will not only give you insights into User Experience, but also a good cup of coffee.


Dawn of AI - what we can expect next

Dawn of AI

What we can expect from the next phase of evolution.

Lately I’ve been doing a lot reading regarding the different views around the development of Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence. If you have read anything at all on this topic you’re probably already aware of all the amazing (and frightening) stories on what the future might hold for us. This blog post is a summary of a couple interesting articles, debates and prophecies on the super intelligent era.

If you're interested in learning more about the subject you can find more in depth reading and videos at the bottom of this post.

 

What is Artificial Intelligence? (AI)

We can narrow it down to three categories. Cool, super cool and frighteningly cool.

The cool one.
This is the state we currently find ourselves and have been for quite some years.
This is called Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI). At this level our computer can be incredibly good at one thing. Every calculator could be referred to as an ANI. Recently an ANI built by Google beat the best Go* player in the world. Something many expected would take decades to achieve. *Go is considered to be the most complex game in the world.

The super cool one.
Artificial General Intelligence, or AGI as we will call it, is as smart as a human. But since digital processing is so much faster than biological processing this will surpass human intelligence.

Think of AGI as an infant but with an incredibly fast learning curve. AGI can think abstractly, plan and learn from previous experiences. When we reach this level of Artificial Intelligence development can go incredibly quickly.

The frighteningly cool one.
Artificial Superintelligence (ASI) is smarter, more creative and better socially than humans. When we reach this level of AI there is no telling how quick or how far development can go. An ASI could potentially be millions or billions times smarter than humans. This is what has caused debate in the science and technology world. An ASI with good intentions could possibly cure every illness in our world or even make the humans the first race to reach immortality. An ASI with bad or wrongly programmed missions could end humanity before we even saw it coming.

Sounds far fetched? Not according to some..

“With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon” Elon Musk 

“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race” Stephen Hawking

“Machine intelligence is the last invention humans will ever make” Nick Bostrom

 

So what exactly is happening now?

At the moment we're most likely somewhere in the late era of ANI with a rapid increase in how smart our ANI’s are becoming. At the beginning of ANI we had calculators that were as good as any mathematician. Today we have cars that drive themselves as well as any driver could. Better than most drivers in fact - statistically. ANI’s at hospitals are making more precise diagnosis and Elon Musk's Space X rockets can now reach the International Space Station and return to make a landing on an X in the middle of the ocean. These things are all incredibly cool and amazing but we still can’t have a computer read a book and have it understand the meaning of it. This is what’s difficult to achieve and there are a multitude of companies trying to get there first. Google and Microsoft are among some of the companies investing billions of dollars into developing Artificial Intelligence.

 

- Yeh yeh. Tell me when skynet is coming.
Skynet is probably not happening and we will most likely not have AI that sets out with bad intentions. The AI would more likely be programmed to have the best of intentions. The concern a lot of people have is how AI would interpret what would be best for humanity or how a super intelligent AI would value life compared to its goal.

Sam Harris talks about this in his Ted Talk: Can we build an AI without losing control over it?

He makes the comparison on how we view ants. Most people wouldn't consider themselves evil if they decided to build their house on top of what would be the home of millions of ants. Ants don't live for more than a summer anyway you would probably argue. And they shouldn't come in the way of achieving your goal of having your new house built.

How would an ASI view humans if it turned out we are the thing standing in the way for the ASI to complete its goal? Tim Urban has written a scenario on how the first encounter with an ASI with a good intention might turn out. Read his article on ASI here (quite the read...!)

This "intelligence staircase" can give you a sense of why people are a bit worried about how an ASI would view humans. Don't take this one too seriously :)


As you can see we're way smarter than ants. But unfortunately for us (if the AI goes rogue) the ASI will most likely be infinitely smarter than us. And considering how lesser we view species with less intelligence than us, it'ss likely an ASI could view us as something that's just in its way of achieving it's goal.

Back to the question of when we can expect to see such an intelligent machine. Most scientists and technology experts believe it will happen within the next 100 years. Half of the community believes it will happen before 2050 and about a third believes it will happen before 2030. What everyone agrees on is that when we reach ASI the acceleration will be absolutely mental.

Here is a scenario: Imagine the first AI reaching human level intelligence by 10 am on a Sunday morning. Five minutes later it would be twice as smart as a human. One minute later it would be ten times as smart. Ten seconds after that it would be a hundred times as smart. By the time it had dawned on us that we'd created something a thousands times smarter than us the ASI would most likely have a counter measure to everything we could do to shut it down! Mind blowing stuff indeed.

So when we reach the point of no return where we are able to create an ASI (whenever that might be) we can only hope that it's done in a way that benefits us rather than sends us into extinction. If done correctly we can, in theory, unlock all the secrets of the universe.

 

Learn more

Here's a list of some interesting stories, articles and videos I've found. If you're interested in learning more about the topic I recommend you to check out some of these links.

Tim Urban - Artificial Intelligence revolution

Sam Harris - Can we build AI without losing control over it video

Nick Bostrom - What happens when our computers get smarter than we are? video

Google AI beats Chinese master in ancient game of Go

Facebook shuts down robots after they invent their own language 


We are moving

We are moving - From Tuesday 2nd of May, 2017 you'll find us at our new office at Drottninggatan 38, Gothenburg.

Hope to see you for a coffee if you are nearby.


The new function Spotify should have. Plus designs.

We present… Spotify Video

We all love Spotify. There’s not a day of my life when I don’t use it. I use it at home, I use it at the office, I use it when I’m traveling from A to B. It’s an incredible service, getting better all the time… but we think we could improve it. So we’ve taken the liberty of sketching out our improvement right here.

Some say music is best when shared with others. Being part of a live concert or special occasion allows you to really feel the spirit of your favourite artist performing. And our new concept is based on that very insight.

We present to you: Spotify Video. An improvement to Spotify we would love to see!

Make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom and watch the video!

What is Spotify Video? How would it work?

  • With Spotify video you could experience live concerts with 360 degree videos.
  • You’d have access to the latest interviews, music videos and more from your favorite artists.
  • Spotify Video’s social feature would allow you and other fans to vote, comment and take part in concerts and more.
  • When the average person looks at their phone over 200 times per day, Spotify Video is an open goal for Spotify!

We’ve sketched up how we think ‘Spotify Video’ could look – check out the designs and short movie below. What do you think?  Reach out to us on Facebook, Instagram or snail-mail and let us know.

Cheers,

/The BRV Team

P.S. Daniel Ek!  If you’re reading this… you know where to find us 🙂

Get in touch and we can evaluate your digital marketing

Call me nowMail me now


Picking the brain of a Foodie Influencer

Digitization has changed our lives in so many ways. It's changed how we work, we have witnessed entire industries metamorphosing in front of our eyes. It's changed how we consume media, and even the way we eat.

How we humans consume, find inspiration and even order our food has been radically changed by digitization. The cookbooks of old have been replaced by (or accompanied with) websites, blogs, Instagram and Facebook. Burgers, pizza, Asian food, tacos... almost any world food you can imagine is but a simple click away these days for many people in towns and cities.  You don’t even need to visit supermarkets anymore – if you want to cook your own dinner – you can just go online and get your groceries delivered.

Thanks to digitization large groups of food geeks have become established. People sharing their passion and love for all things culinary are able to experiment with new and exciting flavors and share this passion via blogs, Instagram accounts and more.

These "foodies" often create such a large and influential digital footprint that they become known as 'influencers' online.

We're lucky enough to have a few foodies and influencers working right here with us at our sister companies in The COG, one of them being Joacim Winqvist, who created the Matkoma blog ('food coma' in English) together with his girlfriend back in 2012...

 

Here's an interview with the man himself!

How do you create a successful food blog?
There are so many great food blogs so I think  the most important thing is to have a clear vision and direction of what type of food you blog about.

 

Any favorite food accounts on social media?
I like @food52, @feedfeed and of course @munchies

 

Tell me about yourself and where your interest for food comes from.
My love for food came naturally. I have a tendency to lose myself in stuff combined with a constant drive to try new things and discover new places. I just love 'authentic' food. You can’t just download great food from Piratebay or buy a copy from someone. Real food takes time and requires effort, but it’s worth it because you get so much back.

 

How picky are you when it comes to food?
Not at all! As long as someone has tried to put his or her heart and soul into the dish I’m happy. If someone invites me to dinner and has tried their best I’m happy.

 

Does it happen that you sometimes buy processed food?
Yes, it happens, but my ambition is to avoid it as much as possible because it tastes so much better with food that is cooked from scratch.

 

Do you have any tips/suggestions where you can buy or eat really good food here in Gothenburg?
When it comes to restaurants, I think Barabicu and Familjen have really good food. If you want a great lunch I can recommend Vegan Buns and JINX Food Truck on Magasinsgatan.

 

Your friends are coming over for dinner. What do you cook?
I usually keep it quite simple. If I had guests tonight I would make some fish tacos with lots of tasty sides so the guests can make their own taco however they want it. Something good to drink and a great soundtrack on the stereo are also reallyimportant!

 

You're free, have no plans and time to eat the perfect breakfast. What do you make?
If I get to choose I would make a freshly baked sourdough roll or baguette with tasty cheese and marmalade, one medium boiled egg, oatmeal with apple and skimmed milk, fresh fruit and at least one large cup of coffee.

 

I’m over-consuming thyme. Do you have any seasonings or ingredients that you can’t  live without or that you use a little too much of?
I love chili flakes. I´m not a sucker for hot food generally, but chili flakes in a soup, or on an avocado sandwich,  or even on the breakfast egg is insanely delicious. I also like black pepper, maybe it sounds boring, but fresh black pepper on a carbonara completes the dish.

 

Where do you get your inspiration?
When I travel, and from blogs, Instagram and Youtube.

 

Finally – what is the best dish/food/you have eaten?
I have no specific favorite dish. It completely depends on the situation and the atmosphere.

 

Thanks for taking the time to speak to me Joacim!  We love the blog!!

/Albin

 

 

 

 


7 Top Tips on improving your internal digital experience

A much debated topic surrounds a quote from Peter Drucker who implied that ”culture eats strategy for breakfast”. The inclination being that a great culture internally at your company will trounce any strategising or vision / mission / or yadayada planning. Most successful leaders certainly seem to acknowledge that happy staff will do a better job, which leads to better business.

So how can it be in 2016 that so many companies treat their staff to absolutely horrendous levels of user experience?

bad-userinterface
Why should your staff have to put up with lousy user experience when using your internal tools?

 

It terrifies me that so many companies still have an out-dated, old-fashioned IT infrastructure; sleep inducing intranets; lousy web apps; atrocious time-reporting tools; CRM’s; and that staff are just expected to suck it up and use it daily!
Meanwhile the very same staff members are building their free-time projects in tools like Slack, or monitoring their personal banking and finances with stunning apps like Tink.

An old expression holds true to this day: time is money. Many tasks that your employees carry out day by day, week by week, month by month are overly time consuming. I’ve seen so many of these cumbersome tools (even in the last year or so) that it’s like traveling back to the 80’s.

Let’s take Sharepoint as an example. Large companies use Sharepoint as an intranet – it has good features such as reporting, asset management, blogs etc, and it’s an out-the-box solution. If any changes are made in Sharepoint it’s usually in the functionality, maybe the implementation of other systems or apps.

Unfortunately for Sharepoint most changes that are made are usually made by technicians with no focus whatsoever on User Experience! As long as that XML file is editable via the intranet then… ”I’m alright Jack! That’s what the spec requirement asked me to do…”

How many hours are you going to allow your employees to waste on internal IT systems rather than focusing on your core business, and using their key skills effectively?

Even though the benefit of streamlining these tools (and saving the time/money wasted by these ageing processes) is a no-brainer, alas it’s often overlooked. It slides between the cracks. It’s not a ”sexy” marketing project. It’s not a process that will win glitzy awards. However for a senior manager or smart CEO it should be a top priority to attain concrete change and cost-savings.

 

Didn’t you get the memo? Internal communication is for your own good!

Studies show that well-informed employees (thanks to better internal communication) are more up to date with product information and better equipped to support end-consumers.

But how often have you heard this kind of dialogue at your company?

Staff: - ”It’s tough for us to improve our support satisfaction rates because we don’t have enough product knowledge?”

Management: - ”But it’s all there on the intranet!”

So how come staff are not reading your information? The answer is likely to be poor user experience. Dull user experience. Boring user experience. Old-fashioned user experience. So how do you get started fixing this problem?

 

7 Top Tips on how to improve your internal digital experience

  1. Analyze the current situation of existing internal communication at your company. This can be a complicated and in-depth analysis, or super-simple simple – as simple as a small focus group with 10-15 employees. Task them and monitor the tasks performed. Online recording tools like Silverback or Mouseflow can help here. Or you can check out JP Zhang's good article about screen recording.
  1. Whatever tools you have, get a good content strategy. Relevant content, to the right people, at the right time. Content people love (and can use to improve their lives) is exactly the same for your staff as it is your end-consumers.
  1. Set the goals. Just like any external corporate website or e-commerce site you need to measure goals for your internal communications. If you continue to post stuff that no one reads then it’s a lot like putting up an advert in the middle of a desert. So set goals for your internal communication just like you would your external and get measuring those crunch rates and bounce rates!
  1. Reward the adopters! As with most (online) projects the early adopters, the people who are ”pro” whatever your project is, are the people to be rewarded. Intangible rewards are perfect! Think how many people hunt for intangible “likes” for their social media activity in their personal lives… can you reward with similar mechanisms? Can you reward the people most engaged with your internal content in some way?
  1. UX is paramount. User Experience for your tools is incredibly important. As I touched upon earlier, your staff are used to comfortable online experiences in their private lives. Think for example of the effortless process to open and start using an Instagram account. User Experience so good you don’t even notice it. Treat your employees to similar experiences and watch the rewards!
  1. Put your employees before your infrastructure! It’s 2016. Anything can be changed. We KNOW you still have that CRM license running until 2075… We know that you are used to your out-the-box solution and the IT guys will hate you if you try to change it. We KNOW it’s hard work to introduce a new internal system. I mean you’ll need to invest some time and education into your staff! Imagine! The horror!!
  1. Be Brave. Drive through this change. Don’t let the idea of hard work stop you. Rewarding your staff with a modern user experience for their day-to-day tools is something you can’t afford not to do.

 

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this! If you’d like to meet up and talk about how to maximize your business you can email me at stefan.jakobsson@brave.se or call me +46-707-550 496

 

 

 


From Vallgatan to Wall Street

If there's one thing we at Brave all love it's entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial spirit. All our employees have this running through their veins and we're always bubbling over with new ideas and weird and wonderful projects we can build or help others build.

For modern entrepreneurs (where products and services are either wholly digital, or with the internet as a key business driver) the term 'start-up' is often attributed. A start-up is a term coined in America and relates to a newly started business, usually in the tech sphere in some capacity.

The start-up scene is a vibrant one here in Gothenburg, and our own Russell Clark happened to get a mention in The Wall Street Journal yesterday about his experiences of starting business ventures here in Sweden.

 

So you don't work for a start-up but want to feel the buzz of entrepreneurship?

We understand. But here's the great news - the 'entreprenee' (a mash-up of entrepreneur and employee) is one of the most sought after kind of employees nowadays, and absolutely will be in the future. Wherever you are employed; whatever product or service you work with; and especially if you're in a position of power within marketing or a senior figure in your company then acting like an entreprenee within your business will take you far...

We're proud to call ourselves Growth Hackers here at Brave - some of us have been growth hacking since the early days of the internet. We had to! The budgets we once received to "do something cool online" were miserly but still laden with large expectation. That means you growth hack or die.

 

Growth hacking is a process of rapid experimentation across marketing channels and product development to identify the most effective, efficient ways to grow a business.

We'll look into the nitty gritty techniques of the modern Growth Hacker in another blog post shortly.

 

How do we embrace the principles of the start-up to help our clients succeed?

Nothing gets our blood pumping more than when we help a business really take off beyond their expectations. The principles of the Lean Startup, most famously documented by Eric Ries are principles we apply to many of our projects here at Brave. We encourage our clients to let us build an MVP - a minimum viable product - to help attempt to solve a business problem or help achieve a business goal. We build, measure and learn our way forward. This means an incremental and pedagogic path to success.

We know businesses must see a return on their marketing and product development budgets, and we believe that if you're prepared to build, measure and learn, it's a sensible path to finding that magic marketing formula that will appeal to your potential customers, and be right for your products and services.

Testing your way forward can mean some projects will fail on the way to success. But it's better to fail small than fail big -  basically the antithesis of advertising where money is splashed in the hope that a creative idea will see a brand become top of mind for consumers. We don't like taking chances with budgets, so our methods are all geared to finding "that project" that will help your business get the best results in the quickest possible way.