Once upon a time, Amazon’s Fire Phone was simply a “big idea” conceptualized in a press release crafted by an Amazon employee. Although most in the tech community feel the concept should have never left the paper, the strategy of mocking up a press release to fine-tune messaging around a new, or pie in the sky product could actually be a good one.
According to Fast Company’s recent take on Jeff Bezos and the Fire Phone, Bezos’ requires employees to write pretend press releases to help them refine their ideas and distill their goals with customers in mind. While that might seem completely daunting, especially during the infancy of a product idea, the earlier you can begin preparing with the end in mind the better.
Traditionally, the purpose of a press release is to tell the story behind your announcement, whether it be a company milestone, or in Amazon’s case, a product. Drafting a pretend release gives you the opportunity to begin ironing out details like who your audience will be, what your product is, when and where it’ll be available, why it’s significant, and how it will benefit the audience.
Despite not having all of the specifics you need to distribute a real release, writing a mock release allows you to think through tough questions early on, find potential holes, and ultimately determine whether or not a product idea has what it takes to be successful.
Drafting a mock release can also be a great way to promote out-of-the-box thinking and collaboration within your organization. Take a page out of Bezos’ book and extend the assignment of writing a pretend release to other departments beyond marketing. Engage your product and customer care teams, for example, to aggregate a variety of perspectives on one idea, or generate even more.
In the end, not every idea is ready for primetime, but that shouldn’t stop dreamers from dreaming. Introducing a mock release into your development strategy can unlock innovation and become the starting point of a product’s communication plan.