Prototype, Test, Iterate: De-risking Production with Sprints

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multiple authors
Updated on
June 4, 2024 11:44 AM
Discover how concept sprinting at redpepper minimizes risk and maximizes creativity in marketing. From storyboard to prototype, our rapid process ensures client alignment and effective concepts, leading to smoother productions and impactful campaigns.

Creative and production quality is a crucial investment in a brand’s marketing mix. In fact, Nielsen finds that creative quality is the #1 contributor towards advertising effectiveness. With any investment, there is risk. And while risk can never be eliminated, at redpepper, we work with our clients to mitigate risk through our rapid prototyping and iteration process called concept sprinting. 

Through periods of individual work followed by group collaboration, this concept sprint process helps us avoid common challenges, from fractured communication to creative that doesn’t resonate, and creates strong alignment between our agency and our clients.

Our Sprint Process

Here’s how it all comes together. We arm a dedicated concepting team with the key players (like a sprint director, illustrator, art director, video editor, strategist, and copywriter) who will work together through the various stages of the sprint. Oftentimes our clients are in the room with us too (and we love that!). The team starts by grounding themselves in the objective and collecting pieces of inspiration that could turn into ideas.

Then, each team member takes the ideas sparked by the inspiration and turns that into a simple three-panel storyboard. Only three, so we can really focus on the key elements of the story. 

Next up, the art museum exercise. We hang everything on a wall and other team members silently critique and vote on the ideas using sticky notes. This happens several times, and each time the ideas get stronger. The best ideas are developed into full storyboards. 

From there, they become contextual prototypes videos—these are especially effective for visual decision-makers. We illustrate, animate, record voice tracks, shoot footage, and anything else necessary to bring these ideas to life. 

In 5 days, we have 3-5 full, prototypical videos that can be taken into consumer testing. 

We then take our videos and test them with the target audience and work to uncover insights to make our concepts better. Which videos are most relatable? Which drives the best brand perception? Are our key points being effectively communicated? These insights are one of the strongest forms of risk mitigation because they are rooted in the consumer. 

Armed with our insights, we go through another round of sprinting to improve the existing concepts or create new ones. The end result is a fully developed and tested creative concept that serves as a strong jumping off point to move into production—all in about 3 weeks. 

Sprints Lead to Smoother Productions

With the results from the sprints, moving into production is a much smoother and quicker process. Our producers step in at key points in the sprint process to see the progress in different exercises and provide feasibility checks for timing and budget. Understanding the direction the concepts are going in helps lay the groundwork for pre-production—the producers get a sense of what expertise we’ll need to bring these concepts to life and which production partners to tap. 

The prototypes make a big difference here and are more effective than a storyboard. Taking prototypes to vendors helps us get the concepts vetted, and testing the prototypes provides reassurance to the client that the concept is solid. On the flip side, if a concept is not performing as well as anticipated in testing, we can also bring that data to the client and take things back to drafting if necessary. Either way, the sprints create a useful foundation, so production can hit the ground running. 


For our work with Slack, we went through three weeks of sprints. At the end of the second week, the Slack team told us they were still gravitating toward the initial pitch concept, so we rolled with that concept in week three. 

Here’s a look at one of the prototype videos and the actualized campaign version:

Our concepts for Outsystems leaned on humor to communicate their message. The sprints helped us refine our ideas and make sure the jokes landed perfectly. Take a look:

We also used sprints in our work with PandaDoc which informed an evolved brand identity. These are a few outtakes from the prototype videos:

Can our sprint methodology help your idea come to life? Let’s talk.

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