Shiver me timbers, ‘tis th’ only day in th’ calendar where ye can put on a rubbish accent ‘n, accordin’ t’ th’ official website, every September 19th scallywags all o’er th’ world (‘n even hundreds o’ miles above it) take part in International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Set up as an in-joke between two mateys, it’s now celebrated by millions o’ scallywags on all seven continents ‘n has even made its way t’ th’ International Space Station.

We’re joining in the fun and sailing the digital seas all day, with a bit of an Instagram competition for you lucky landlubbers. We’ll be posting pictures with one of them hiding our cunning pirate Beazles. Spot the dastardly Beazles, and tag a picture of him being held to ransom by you and your crew, and you could win a big bag of gold booty (chocolate coins in reality to share amongst your colleagues or take home to keep the kids quiet for 5 minutes in a sugar coma).

Although it’s just a bit of fun, there’s actually a message here about the power of the internet, the process we go through to get ideas online, and more importantly how often people fail to harness it.

A common issue I encounter is meeting with clients and prospects who know they want to spread a message, but have no idea what the outcome of that is going to be.There’s a lot of content online, and much of it is generated by businesses who know beyond doubt that they need an online presence, but have absolutely no idea what for. It’s not enough to post material online simply to “increase visibility” if there isn’t a really strong idea behind it that’s going to grab people’s imagination; if that idea is coupled with a call to action, then you’re probably onto a winner.

We’ve all seen the campaigns that make the most of the simplest of concepts and which have taken the world by storm, and ALS Icebucket Challenge and the Harlem Shake are amazing examples of how low the point of entry into engaging content can be. Realistically though, a viral campaign is going to take a significant amount of investment if you’re trying to push a sales  message of some description and you’re far more likely to be able to tap into the ‘what’s in it for me’ motivation of your target audience. Offering people the opportunity to be a part of something is almost always fuelled by a desire to gain something, and whilst social acceptance is a massive influence, cold hard cash (or chocolate in our case) is far easier to justify to your audience.

Our piratey example was a quick idea we came up with during the morning standup. We took a basic idea and tested it with a small user group, then fleshed out some ideas to be built and delivered. As a neat little demo of how our design sprints can work, we’ll test the results and see what we can do to improve for future tie-ins.

Our design sprints are an adaptation of the Google Ventures Sprint and a fast and economical way to fix existing products and create new ones, going from idea to validated prototype in as little as three days. You can get more information from our design sprints page or by calling 0113 2282300