The growing importance of the customer experience in creating brands and driving brand value means design has never been more important.
That’s the argument of a recent white paper produced by Adobe about The Design Advantage (Adobe is CMO.com’s parent company). But how accurate is this finding? CMO.com has asked a senior agency creative and senior marketer to weigh in. In the first of this two part instalment, Simon Gill, Chief Creative Officer, UK, DigitasLBi, gives his view about the importance of design in marketing.
The Creative’s Point Of View
It’s time that organisations woke up to the true commercial benefit of design.
By that, I mean design in its most holistic sense, where it affects every part of a business. This philosophy of Design Thinking, as it’s called by its more enlightened followers, has become the real business benefit of the 21st century.
To embrace this exciting new world, CMOs need to step beyond seeing design as a purely visual or aesthetic practice, to see it not just as support player for marketing campaigns, messaging hierarchies and content creations, but to also understand that in its purest form, design is a series of intelligent decisions taken to solve a problem. One where design expresses itself in creative, mixed media, and one that embodies innovative thought and action.
Design is the driver of the customer experience. It is the roadmap to holistic, joined up implementation, the emotional expression of the creative idea, the rational delivery of action and implementation, and the consideration of the cost, the manufacture, the delivery, the support, the repair and the efficiency of its own recyclable destruction.
Good design is the elegant solution, both in its visual, carnal expression and its hidden yet intrinsic existence.
Good design is the crucial humanisation of technology; it is our guide in the ever increasingly technological world.
Good design creates the product, the service, the desire, and the marketing. For good design is not about product facts or specifications; yes, they exist--but they are tertiary to its real existence. Because good design is all about what it does for its audience, its customer/consumer, its benefactor. It’s about how it has made things better.
The Design-Literate Organisation
A design literate organisation recognizes how design thinking can be applied not only to its core creation, but to its organisational structure, its employee incentives, its operating model, its detailed processes, its efficiency and energy usage. Each of these present a challenge to be better, and an opportunity for improvement, for advantage, for improved business performance.
Any index compiled of businesses that embrace design will consistently show those organisations outperforming their sector average. For good design, or design thinking, requires this very fact as a mandatory requirement.
The benefits of design thinking extend not just into service, but also deeply into marketing. For good design builds the stories and content your audience craves, from your ultra-loyal brand ambassadors to those that have yet to discover your design obsession. Today’s audience loves to learn, to embrace, to delight in the stories of the design thought, the surprising decisions that were made, the inspirations that were used, the challenges encountered and surpassed, the pure delight of achieving the goal of addressing the challenge, the distinction of using innovative thought in the design. These stories are rich, dense and accessible, they are by the definition of good design; unique, ownable and, most importantly, human. They are the stories of your design thinking, your ambitions and beliefs; they are truths that endlessly feed further creativity.
Sharing these stories in today’s constantly connected world requires its own design thinking, one that is smart enough to flex for myriad devices and the increasingly mobile context. This design thinking should acknowledge the always-on nature of our media consumption, and the concept that relevance has a deadline. And while good design provides a buffer against the extremes of this, it is important to ensure an optimal velocity with a pace that works for you. This means ensuring you design a workflow that lets you curate, create, edit, perfect and release each with the required love and attention. Thankfully, as with much of modern design thinking, that doesn’t mean starting from scratch, but instead means the smart application of existing tools and knowledge to streamline the mundane, in order to concentrate on the important. Good design is intrinsically digital, in that digital recreates without loss of quality, repeatedly through code, and is customisable by selectable parameters.
Our connected world has opened up possibilities for rich and varied collaboration, with the potential to nourish good design. Embracing new cloud-based tools provides more influence, inspiration and care to the parts that matter the most -creating more time to customise, test, learn and obsess about getting it right.
Moreover new emerging content platforms present exciting opportunities to experiment, learn, customise, exploit and engage in ways that push you forward creatively, to challenge your appreciation and understanding of what new good design is now and the near future.
Good design requires serious dedication and commitment, which must also extend to your working environment, your approach to failure, risk and experimentation and to finding and nurturing the best talent. As ever, these components should be designed to work seamlessly together, providing further business advantage and your very own secret weapon for greatness.
Read Part II--written by Simon Michaelides, Marketing Director, UKTV--here.