- What do look for at the Oscars? Movies? No – dresses, how the celebs look, …
- What do you think when you walk in a mall? Functional aspects of the lay-out; practicality of finding shops? No -nice looking stuff -& – an overall experience/feeling.
- Why do you choose an iPad over a TAB? Technical functionality? No – cool design, ease of use, intuitive naviation.
- Why is Xbox Kinect better than Wii? Performance? Maybe, but for sure – awesome graphics.
- Why do you instantly recognise luxury products? You have magic X-ray eyes, and can look on the inside? No – the combination of colors, balance in design, simplicity of the exterior packaging.
- Why has Pinterest emerged as a big player out of nothing? Because it is the ultimate sharing experience? No – people like looking at beautiful things through visuals/pictures.
- Why are you attracted more to some people more than others? Their intelligence? No – how they come across (largely, their ‘aesthetics’)
- Why is a tie the finishing touch for a suit? Because men like to feel strangled? No – because it completes the picture.
- How can you have consumers fall in love with your product? What’s the “magic” you add that creates a certain je-ne-sais-quoi attraction to your brand?
All of the above have DESIGN as DNA in the answer.
Design is all around us. It is part of the fabric of life! And more and more it is becoming the lifeblood of brands, and of companies as a whole. Design covers the functional/rational as well as the irrational (i.e. sometimes you find things beautiful, exceptional, unexpected, “wow”, without really knowing why).
Think about 4 aspects of your life where design plays a really critical role :
1. Your house
2. Your clothes
3. Your car
4. Your food
Why is it so important, and why does it even go beyond the shape, the color and the look of things?
1. Design influences how you FEEL
2. Design determines how YOU LOOK
3. Design impacts how you RECOGNISE and REMEMBER things
4. Design CONNECTS people to each other
5. Design creates TALKVALUE, CONVERSATIONS
For brands, design is ESSENTIAL. Why, would you ask. Is the product not more important? The answer is, yes product is important, but design is …
- …the 1st “touchpoint” with your brand. The first thing a consumers sees and experiences of the brand is design. It is what will either captivate them or turn them away. That initial appreciation is key for any brand, and question is: how much effort do you put in understanding what happens to thoughts, feelings, experiences in the first moment your consumers sees and touches your brand?
- …how your consumers “learn” about what the brand has to say. Design offers both cues and clues as to what the brand stands for. That happens through colors, shape, words, position, functional aspects, et al. Better make sure it is both balanced (I.e. not overwhelming) and complete.
- …what determines how fast they will “recall“. The same central cues will be serving as anchors in the recall system that consumers build to eliminate choice and make their life easier. Strong design pushes you higher up the evoked set.
- …a springboard for WoM …why and how you want to tell others about it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Most importantly, smartly designed products and brands get talked about. People love sharing positive experiences. Stories spontaneously spark once design and product are in perfect harmony and do exactly what they are supposed to do.
The Need For Design, For Any Company
Design in a business setting is more than securing the look, the elegance of products; and it is also more than the shape of things. It is about creating experiences, stories, emotions. Design brings ideas to life. Design makes products, brands and services “sexy”". Design focusses on giving more enjoyable consumer experiences. When integrated well in the experience cycle, as a consumer, you want to show and share a product, you want to talk about it; you feel something. These are good checkpoints. You want your brand/product to be shown, shared, talked, and felt.
How Can Design Play Its Appropriate Role In Your Company? Where To Start?
O-Create a design strategy, endorsed by sr mgt. Few companies have design as a central function. Imagine the benefit though: design-centric management can create significant unique, differentiated innovation.
1-You need true designers. One thing defines designers : IMAGINATION. They can take insights to a level way beyond understanding.
2-You need to instill design thinking with everyone in the organisation.
3-You need a mindset-shift. Design is not the cherry on the cake -it is the whole cake. Needs to be integrated / woven in the company, in every product and brand idea.
Some of my personal favorite brands have integrated design well in their operating system: Puma, Alessi, Philips, Starbucks, Apple, Disney, Porsche.
Alessi’s toothpick holder or nut crusher are more than a blunt functional devises. They tell a whole story!
Why Design Will Become More Important For Brands/Companies. My prediction.
#1. Design will become a more important component of innovation. Why? In a world of increasing competition, design can be and has to be a critical component to create differentiation.
#2. Marketers will realize that design offers ultimate ways for storytelling! And with storytelling being central to brands, design is central to brands.
#3. Design will become a catalyst in companies. Under the design-philosophy, and with the leadership of the design department, all disciplines need to be integrated better together ( & design the experience of a product, brand or service, together).
#4. Design will ultimately become part of central marketing. Design is not a function nor a cell. Maybe that’s what is needed at first to jumpstart the thinking and to enable the mindshift in a company, but over time, design needs to be part of every marketers approach and skill set. Design needs to be a “culture“. We all need to become design thinkers to be successful in marketing.
Last But Not Least
You need designers in your company. Duh. People that know what they are talking about. Forward looking, modern, connected to the world, connected to consumers. Designers that know their stuff. How many of those do you really have? Time to build a design group!
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