What’s a vignette?
A vignette is a customer story that captures the essence of an idea. The story provides customer context, identifies a customer need or desire, and describes how Talegen will meet that need or satisfy that desire.
Writing vignettes is a lightweight way to ideate. It’s low commitment, can be written by anyone very quickly, and is easy to react to. It puts us in a customer mindset from the start of an idea. Once we have a set of vignettes we’re excited about, we’ll craft them into more fully fledged “PR FAQs”. We’re right-sizing the amount of time we’re spending based on the fidelity of the idea while building our Working Backwards muscle.
Whether you’re a PM, a TPM, a UX designer, an SDE, we set the scene by using vignettes to bring the customer in the room.
How does a vignette relate to a Working Backwards Press Release?
A good PR is a compelling customer story that includes one or more vignettes. Akin to the customer testimonial, we imagine what we want a customer to be able to do, how we want a customer to feel, we imagine what a customer will say. This storytelling helps us crystallize why a customer would care, the heart of working backwards.
Brainstorming vignettes as you explore new ideas is an excellent way to get started on a PR.
Tips for writing a Vignette
- Include a compelling headline — something your friends would happily pick up and read.
- Imagine you’re at a dinner party sharing your idea.
- Set context: “Imagine you’re a customer who just landed in Atlanta to visit your family for the holidays. You realize you forgot your laptop charger…”
- When available, include customer data or use real customer anecdotes you mine from Shopper Frustrations, Heartbeat, escalations, etc.
Alexa Shopping (written by Jenny Blackburn)
Headline: WIRED MAGAZINE A close-up look at how Amazon changed the face of retail by embedding shopping into people’s everyday lives.
I ride into work with Eric, who’s listening to music on his integrated Alexa car system and telling me about his plans next month to cycle the “Seattle to Portland” 200-mile ride with friends from college. “That reminds me, I still need to buy a travel case for my bike,” he says. “Alexa”- the music pauses -“I need a bike travel case.” Alexa’s friendly voice responds with, “Is the case for your Pinarello or your Specialized?” It’s for the Pinarello. “Is this for your trip to Seattle next month?” Yes, it is. “OK,” Alexa responds, “I recommend a hard case to provide the best protection for airplane travel. Hard cases start at $599. Do you have a budget in mind?” “Under $750,” Eric says. “OK,” Alexa says, “I recommend the Thule brand hard case with durable polyethene construction, foam padding, and integrated wheels for easy transport. It will fit your Pinarello. The order total is $665.95. Would you like me to order it?” “How heavy is it?” Eric asks. “It weighs 30 pounds. Do you want it?” “Yes,” Eric responds. “OK,” Alexa says, “it will arrive on Friday. Some customers mentioned that airlines charge a flat fee for this oversized bag. I confirmed that you’ll need to pay $150 to check it on your Alaska Airlines flight.” Eric smiles, “Thanks Alexa.” To me he adds, “I’m not sure how I ever survived without her.”
Echo Look (Code name: HENDRIX) (written by Maggie McDowell)
Headline: THE NEW YORK TIMES This Year’s Must-Have is Every Fashionista’s Dream
When my Hendrix arrived, I was both skeptical and excited. Like most women I know, I have a closet full of clothes, and yet I never know what to wear. Getting dressed in the morning is stressful. I want to look great, but it takes time and a lot of effort to put together the perfect outfit. So I rack my brain trying to remember what I’ve worn and when I last wore it. Most days, I fly out the door feeling passable. Some days, when I’m halfway to work, I wish I could go home and change. With Hendrix, I can take a picture of my outfit every day. A week in, using the app to see what I’ve worn is like having my own personal style blog.I can “favorite” my best looks, note mistakes I don’t want to make again, and make sure I’m not wearing too much of the same thing. Before I get out of bed in the morning, I look through my recent outfits and think about how to switch it up. In the past, I had to try on lots of combinations and left piles of clothes on the floor. Now, I use Hendrix to remember my favorite outfits and steer clear of ruts. I suddenly have control of my morning. I’m confident I look great when I leave the house, and if I really like my outfit that day, posting to Instagram #ootd is just a tap away.
Shopping an Airbnb (written by Maggie McDowell)
Headline: Travel & Leisure Opening new doors: Amazon & Airbnb Team Up to Make it Easy to Shop for Home
If you’ve ever stayed in an Airbnb, you know the homes can pack a seriously stylish punch. From Airstreams in Malibu to tree houses in Bali, where else can you look inside so many homes? For me, the homes are a virtual wish list of beautiful things. Even if I’m not booking a trip, I love to browse Airbnb. Now, with Amazon in the mix, I can do more than browse—I can shop any room in Airbnbs around the world. Tags: That’s exactly how Doug found the perfect chairs for his new house: “My fiancé and I do Airbnb when we go on vacation, but we recently used Airbnb to get ideas for furnishing our living room. We came across a cool loft in LA—we never would have thought of hanging hammock chairs. Using Shop this Room on Airbnb, we found a variety of hanging chairs on Amazon. The rattan hanging chairs were a little too Boho for us, but we quickly found a chair that’s more glam and matches our style. When we checked out, Amazon recommended matching black hardware—that would have been a trip back to the store—and installation for $29 through Amazon Home Services. Installation certainly wasn’t something we were thinking about when we were oohing and aah’ing over the photos of those hanging chairs.”