The User’s Journey by Donna Lichaw – Part 2

Read the first part here

Chapter 3: Concept stories

  • Conceptual story model of the product illustrating big picture overview
  • Outlines how customers think about the product
  • Used to communicate core concept and value proposition
  • Foundation to everything that gets built
  • Help to answer those questions:
    • Who is this product for?
      • What is their problem?
      • What is their big goal? Secondary goals?
    • What is this product?
    • What is the competition?
    • Why might someone not want to use this product?
    • How is this product better than the competition?
    • What does this product need to do?
      • What is the straightforward solution to the problem?
      • What is the awesome solution to the problem?
  • Use concept stories to communicate a shared vision and build alignment, and to innovate and prioritise against the vision

    How Concept Stories Work

  • Concept stories are illustrations of customers’ mental calculations when encountering a product; they can be aspirational if there is no data

  • Exposition: current state of things for the target user (character and their needs)

  • Inciting Incident/Problem: why can’t the customer meet their goal? What problem do they have? How do they solve it today?

  • Rising Action: the product comes to a rescue (should have a name and a brief description or market category); keep it short and straight to the point
    “Think of a concept story as a way to visualize and bolster a short, impactful, bulletproof elevator pitch.”

  • Crisis: the competition – other products or services, resistance to change, etc.

  • Climax/Resolution: the customer overcomes the difficulties described as the problem; they way the product solves the problem is its value proposition (why is a better solution than the current one?)

  • Falling Action: imaginary, plausible takeaway of the story’s hero; an envisioned path forward (stay in the realm of thought and emotions)

  • End: the hero can see herself meet her goal

Concept story model for the first iPhone (© Rosenfeld Media)

Avoiding the Anticlimactic

  • Flat stories are anticlimactic; crisis and climax add structure and excitement to the story

    Supporting the story

  • Features, functionality and packaging of the product need to deliver on the story that you promise

    Mapping a Concept Story

  • Answer questions about the target customer, what works today, their big goal, their problem, the product, the competition, hurdles or barriers, the solution, value proposition and differentiator, the ideal take-away, the ideal end state, the business goal; then map them on a narrative arc