EPISODE 4: Service Design Award 2016 for Best Commercial Project by Kaarel Mikkin

Kaarel Mikkin is the co-founder of service design & branding consultancy Brand Manual – an international agency established in Tallinn and Stockholm. Brand Manual was founded on the principle, that it makes more sense to invest resources in making products and services inherently better than making them just look nicer. Taking the customer's side in the discussion, allows to design services and brands that make sense and result in experiences that people appreciate and share.

We make them talk about you
— Brand Manual

Brand Manual won the Service Design Award for best commercial project with a project that reinvented the bookstore for their client Apollo. Apollo’s traditional bookstore was redesigned into an inspiring entertainment environment, bringing books, music, games, a juice bar and even a cinema together under one brand. Their approach created a whole new customer experience and increased the amount of customers by 200%. 


Most surprising insight 

Instead of just formulating increased sales as a goal, Brand Manual formulated a more customer-centric project goal that would result in a variety of benefits. The goal they formulated at the start of the project was that people had to remember where they bought something instead of just what they bought. Formulating this goal in such a way automatically resulted in designing unique and memorable customer touchpoints inside the brand, which in turn increased sales, returning customers and the average purchase. 



What we learned

Giving the proces out of hand and letting clients implement service design techniques and skills by themselves. Kaarel explains how they started intervening less after a while and how their client started implementing service design by themselves, because every organisation needs to learn to do it by themselves.

One of our big clients at the moment also created a vacancy for a service designer recently. They recognise the value and want to get these skills inside the organisation. Not only do they want to hire a service designer, we will also give a service design training to a group of employees. This training will consist of practical workshops and coaching sessions to get service design thinking inside the organisation. 



A behind the scene story 

Our improvised recording studio