7 Questions to: Vigour – Part 1 of our series on promising startups

by Jessica Wegelin July 4th, 2014 No comments

Today we start a new series on brandnewthinking.de: From now on we will introduce interesting startups and speak with them about the role of design and brand management during the founding phase.

Our first startup is Vigour, a company for innovative multiscreen video services. Their product Vigour video helps media companies offer a new kind of video experience — without the usual boundaries of TV, tablet or smartphone. Their white label interface solution merges the screens of any combination of devices into a fluid multiscreen experience and makes them behave like a single interface. For example, a tablet can serve as a second screen to browse related content or future episodes of your favorite TV series that is running on your big screen. At the same time, your phone serves as a remote control and social media hub. Shows can be picked up anytime anywhere on any device and you pick up right where you last left off.

We met Vigour COO Leo Schmidt at the hub:raum Portfolio days in Berlin for an interview on design and development at startups and the relevance of brand building during the founding phase.

Vigour COO Leo Schmidt pitching at the hub:raum portfolio days.


What is the idea behind Vigour video?
“Vigour video is a solution to create multiscreen experiences for online video services. The idea emerged when we were challenged with an innovation task at a large telco company to create a set top box based interface that would connect to all other devices in the household. We stumbled over a million problems to be solved to come up with a true multiscreen interface where any device can join a content interaction experience. We solved those problems by building the first version of our Vigour technology platform. That platform is the driver behind our Vigour Video product today.

With our white-label product approach we‘re able to deliver multiscreen video solutions in a fraction of time and in a fraction of budget to media companies and operators that are looking for innovative models to monetise their video content.”


Additional screens can be used to create innovative multiscreen scenarios such as displaying supporting content or engaging users in interactive experiences.

What was the main driver for founding your own company?
“The idea to build a business around that technology came up in the summer of 2012 when the original founder team had discovered the power and potential of its technology platform. They decided to apply to the Startupbootcamp acceleration program in Berlin to build a stronger international network and to get the business off the ground faster. I was a mentor at Startupbootcamp at that time and met many very interesting teams. But no team excited me as much as these guys. During this acceleration phase we formed our team with just the perfect match of skills, vision, design, technology, product and company building.

Coming out of Startupbootcamp we had very good feedback from the investor community. We then raised our seed round with T-Venture/hub:raum in may 2013, built our first product, went to the market and acquired the first customers. We are now in the good position to really have some proof points that we picked the right product in the right market at the right time and we’re slowly switching into growth mode now.”


Do you now also have other investors?
“There’s two main investors: Telekom’s hub:raum/T-Venture are in the lead with about half of that seed round. The other half is mainly supported by Linden Mobile, a dutch tech VC, but our advisors also contributed with smaller tickets. We are very happy with this mix and have a great relation to all of them. Besides the money, all our shareholders significantly add value to the growth of our company, all in their own way.”


In your opinion, how important is UX- and Visual Design to Vigour video?
“User experience design is just as important to us as the technology it runs on: Our technology platform is cutting edge and enables us to deliver a new and disruptive product. But making this multiscreen interaction intuitive and valuable for the end-users of our customers’ video services requires a deep understanding of user behavior and UI design.

We ultimately convince our customers with the combination of experience & vision to unlock a new kind of multiscreen interaction.

Of course our technology is cutting edge and gives us unique market- and product opportunities. But there’s big players out there, all beginning to create multiscreen capabilities. I believe it’s just a matter of time until technology becomes replaceable. Then the combination of relevant features, design and technology will make the difference. ”


What is the design process at Vigour like?
“It is a very agile but not very structured process. We’re not big fans of a scrum based or predefined process. We’re trying to understand the vision, the business- and distribution models of our clients and the challenges they face in the transforming media industry. Then we translate that into a product or solution that best supports their vision. Usually we come up with stuff they didn’t ever think of and sometimes trigger some challenges for them internally. Those challenges can be in their existing partnerships, in the licenses for the content they wish to distribute, in their subscription models, advertising deals and so on. But we keep pushing hard to create unique, mind blowing and highly addictive experiences for their users. Sometimes that requires change on our customers side but we encourage them to step out, to go that extra mile and to keep it awesome.”

Devices can be used to engage with context relevant content— in Vigour devices change roles very naturally and intuitively.

Do your customers embrace those innovations or are they reluctant?
“They embrace it and they’re scared at the same time. We both know this kind of innovation impacts the core of their business. So if they’re a media company that commercializes video content, we definitely change the way they deliver their service and the way they interact with their customers. It creates a whole bunch of new opportunities but it requires focus. So it’s a challenge for them and us at the same time. What we offer is so new and we cannot look back on other cases as reference points of what worked and what did not.

We cannot give guarantees on percentage of uplift in consumption, revenue or guarantee desired changes in user behavior. We create something sexy, cool and new that people really want.

How that will turn out in detail, no one really knows just yet. But we are convinced it has the potential to truly change the way we all use our devices to interact with digital content.”


From your experience, what is the impact of a brand to a start-up?
“We try to connect the brand to the quality of the experience we provide. So we keep it very simple and clean. We want people to connect our brand to simplicity in something that’s usually difficult to do: use multiple devices to discover and enjoy cool content. So in our case I would say our brand is a critical asset and we take every step in building that brand very seriously and very carefully.

There may be other areas however, where the brand is not as critical. There are real crappy brands out there for awesome products. So I wouldn’t say the brand alone wins the game but it definitely helps and it’s worth taking seriously.”









Die smarte Art der Markenkommunikation: sayHEY Messenger für simyo

by Jessica Wegelin May 9th, 2014 No comments

Kürzlich launchte simyo seinen Messaging Service sayHEY, bei dessen Entwicklung besonderes Augenmerk auf Komfort und sichere Verschlüsselung gelegt wurde. Dadurch trifft der neue Service den Nerv der Zeit: Komfortables Messaging über alle Geräte und an alle Kontakte bei garantierter Datensicherheit.

Gemeinsam mit simyo haben wir einen Dienst entwickelt, der – als Teil des simyo Marken-Ökosystems – das Selbstverständnis der Mobilfunkmarke erfahrbar macht: Menschen die wesentlichen Innovationen der mobilen Kommunikation einfach, komfortabel und sicher zugänglich zu machen.

Der Verzicht auf ein starkes simyo-Branding kommuniziert dabei nicht nur die Offenheit des Dienstes für alle Nutzer (auch Nicht-Kunden), sondern zeigt auch die Souveränität von simyo die eigene Marke bewusst zurückzunehmen. Wir unterstützten simyo bei der Entwicklung dieses innovativen Messaging-Dienstes von den markenstrategischen Grundlagen, über die Entwicklung des Markennamens und des visuellen Erscheinungsbildes, über die Grundparameter der User Experience, die Landingpage, bis zu Kommunikationskonzepten und verschiedenen Kommunikationsmitteln.

Für sayHEY kam uns zugute, dass wir 2012 bereits die Neupositionierung von simyo entwickelt und vielfältige Anwendungen gestaltet hatten. Dadurch konnten wir für sayHEY eine Marke entwickeln, die die Grundwerte von simyo transportiert – also immer auf Augenhöhe kommuniziert und näher an den Menschen ist – und diese trotzdem aus ihrer eigenen Sicht interpretiert. sayHEY ist gleichermaßen nur ein Teil von simyo, und auch viel mehr.

GERO Logo Sample

Starthilfe für Start-Ups? Branding!

by Dr. Carsten Totz February 19th, 2014 No comments

Die Herausforderungen und Aufgaben von Start-Ups sind endlos: das Budget und die Mittel sind knapp, das Zeitfenster für den Launch wird von Tag zu Tag kleiner, bereits gewonnene Investoren wollen bei Laune gehalten und neue Investoren überzeugt werden und schließlich soll das eigentliche Produkt ja auch möglichst bald das Licht der Welt erblicken… Warum sollte man als Start-Up seine Ressourcen dann gerade für Branding einsetzen? Ist es nicht wichtiger alle Ressourcen in die Produktentwicklung zu stecken? Und wenn schon Marketing, dann doch eher um die Bekanntheit zu erhöhen und den Traffic auf die eigene Website zu lenken, oder?

Nein. Branding ist schlicht elementar für Start-Ups und die am meisten unterschätzte Disziplin im Start-Up „Zehnkampf”. Read more

think moto empfängt die Delegation der Creative Design Association aus Chongqing, China

by Jessica Wegelin December 2nd, 2013 No comments

Als Gastgeber der chinesischen Delegation der Creative Design Association hatten wir vor einigen Wochen die Gelegenheit unsere Projekte und Arbeitsweise vorzustellen. Die zwölfköpfige Delegation bereiste zwei Wochen lang Deutschland, um Einblicke in die hiesige Designlandschaft und Agenturarbeit zu gewinnen. Die Geschäftsführer und Kreativdirektoren chinesischer Corporate Design-Firmen wurden von Agenturen aus ganz Deutschland empfangen, um sich mit ihnen über Arbeitsweisen und Methoden austauschen. Read more

Our mid-year trend report for 2013 now online in english

by Angela Zieme August 21st, 2013 No comments

Some time ago we published our mid-year trend report for 2013 on our blog in German. Knowing that we are increasingly having more international followers, we translated the report into English. Further more we published both reports as a presentation on slide share. Enjoy reading it and feel free to share if you want.
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Our Trends 2013

Rückblickend vorausschauen – Unser subjektiver Trendzwischenbericht 2013

by Marco Spies July 21st, 2013 No comments

Das erste Halbjahr 2013 ist vorbei – Zeit für einen kleinen internen Rückblick bei think moto. Einige große Agenturen veröffentlichen zu Beginn eines Jahres ihre Trendberichte mit Prognosen fürs kommende Jahr. Wir schauen im Halbjahr auf eigene Arbeiten zurück und versuchen, daraus unsere ganz subjektiven Trends abzulesen. Read more

Die drei Fragen des Branded Interaction Design (BIxD)

by Marco Spies December 11th, 2012 No comments

In seinem Aufsatz On Theory (GRID, Nr. 1) verweist Guy Bonsiepe auf den Kulturwissenschaftler Edward Said, der in den 80er Jahren dem vorherrschenden werkimmanenten Interpretationsansatz des französischen Strukturalismus einen gesellschaftskritischen Ansatz entgegenstellt. Seine 3 Grundfragen für eine “Politik der Textinterpretation”: “Wer schreibt? Für wen wurde der Text geschrieben? Unter welchen Umständen?”
Bonsiepe formuliert die Fragen für das Design “zu Zwecken der Designinterpretation, -ausbildung und der -praxis” um: “Für wen wird ein Design entwickelt? Unter welchen wirtschaftlichen, sozialen und technischen Bedingungen?” “Vielleicht”, so Bonsiepe, “ließen sich von diesen Fragestellungen her Relevanzkriterien für das Entwerfen [...] finden.”

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