As one of the main providers of telecommunications and entertainment services in Belgium, Telenet Group is always on the look-out for ways to innovate and enhance its customers’ digital experience. Especially during these times of Covid-19, keeping up with innovation is essential. In November Five, Telenet found an innovation partner that could deliver in a continuously changing context.
The result: Play Fit, a fun and entertaining fitness app that would help Telenet customers to kickstart the healthy lifestyle they aspired to, from the comfort of their own living room. Sports Flanders together with numerous scientists released a statement. They emphasise that during times at which our normal sports activities are cancelled, we need to stay active. The Play Fit app offers all Flemings an easy way to stay (or start to become) physically engaged.
Read on to find out how November Five’s agile approach took the project to market in just 12 weeks.
Clear and aligned goals are essential to the success of any new business idea, and Telenet’s Play Fit MVP was no different. To ensure a solid foundation for the project, November Five organised a two-hour workshop to support the Telenet stakeholders in distilling Play Fit’s ‘raison d’être’ down to three essential elements:
Aligning all stakeholders on the business ambitions – and the reasons for the product’s very existence – was a vital step in November Five’s results-focused approach.
Having established why the product should exist from a business perspective, the next challenge was to determine its purpose from a user perspective – for a digital product to be successful, it needs to solve an actual problem that its target audience is experiencing.
So before even thinking about the product concept and design, November Five set about researching attitudes towards exercise and sports, to better understand the audience’s pain points.
What we found in literature about exercise and fitness was that among those who exercise or play sports, physical fitness and/or losing weight was not necessarily the main goal. While some indeed exercise to sculpt the physique of their dreams, many are more interested in the wellness benefits and use exercise as a means to escape from the stresses of work or family life.
But what about Telenet’s mainly Flemish target audience? Were the findings equally valid there?
To answer this question, November Five and Telenet, together with market research company Buffl, surveyed 300 people living in Flanders. The answers were both surprising and inspiring and gave the project key insights into the attitudes of Telenet’s target demographic, notably that:
By exploring the results further, the project team was able to validate an insightful segmentation of Flemish adults – in terms of their relationship with exercise – by plotting their focus (health vs. physical results) against their level of engagement (none, low, and high):
It was the segmentation by the level of engagement that answered the question of who to target. The team realised they could exclude those at the lower and higher end of the engagement axis:
But right in the middle were the ‘seasonal jock’ – motivated by external factors, such as preparing for (or compensating for) an event – and the ‘convenient break-seeker’ – who uses exercise as a mental release when needed.
While the focus and motivations of these two segments are different, they both have low levels of engagement. And with the right approach, the Play Fit fitness app could deliver just what these users need to kickstart their commitment to leading a healthier lifestyle.
While November Five and the Telenet team had now established who their ideal target audience was, they still needed to crystallise the value the product could bring.
A powerful value proposition – i.e. a one-sentence statement that offers an easy way of communicating the value a product will bring to its target audience – would be essential for the product concept and design phases, and would also help Telenet position the app when it launched.
From the survey results, it had been clear that one of the main reasons why people can’t commit to exercising is that they don’t find a way to incorporate it into their daily routine. Of course, the underlying explanations for this are varied and personal. But the key to learning any behaviour is a more universal one: it needs to be enjoyable.
With this in mind, the project team looked at a classic motivation curve to see how the Play Fit app could help move users in the right direction.
The survey results had shown that ‘seasonal jocks’ and ‘convenient break-seekers’ already had the ‘desire’ to work on their well-being, but something was stopping them from actually doing it.
And that’s when the plan really started to come together: through the medium of the set-top box – already present in the living rooms of tens of thousands of Belgian homes – the Play Fit app would be accessible and entertaining enough to remove the barriers to getting active. And who knows, maybe it could even help users enjoy living a healthy lifestyle.
At the end of the workshop, November Five and the Telenet team encapsulated their learnings and realisations in the following value proposition:
Three weeks (and three sprints) in and the project team was already well ahead in terms of the strategic narrative of the product. The value proposition and the audience segment were crystallised, so now it was time to start conceptualising.
To start the concept sprint, November Five presented the project team with a number of best-in-class examples of fitness apps, with the aim of finding inspiration for what an easily accessible fitness app could look like.
From there, the concept for the whole product started to take shape, aligning the requirements that had been defined for the target audience with the value proposition.
Over the course of one sprint, the team identified these key design drivers:
With the concept firmly rooted, the development stage could begin. And over the course of six weeks, November Five’s developers, together with the Telenet team, built the final product.
A lot can happen in 12 weeks, and that’s what the collaboration between November Five and Telenet showed. By combining their respective strengths and expertise, and focusing on results, the project gained momentum fast: from the first ideation workshop to a designed product in just four weeks, with a commercially releasable product six weeks later.
As Covid-19 entered Belgium, Telenet and November Five went the extra mile to release the product early. The momentum is now to prove the relevance of this product. So we gave it one last push and went to market last week on all set-top boxes, proving we are true innovation partners. Ready to respond and act to a continuously changing environment.
Together with Telenet, November Five’s holistic approach aligned business goals with real customer needs to deliver the right innovation to the right audience at exactly the right time.