Something I have learnt in the 21 years I’ve been driving my creative agency is that an authentic and deep understanding of who is buying your products or services equals significant, compelling, and relevant visuals. This ultimately will create a loyal customer that feels heard by your brand and part of the community. Good design equals good business, and this rule applies to both corporate and not-for-profit sectors.
I’ve seen first-hand that good design is key to driving business success and customer engagement, but don’t take my word for it as many studies around this topic support this theory. A survey conducted by the Design Management Institute reviewing business performance for design-driven companies as compared to the S&P Index over a decade (2009-2019) shows that design-driven companies consistently outperformed the S&P by 219%. That’s right – 219%!
For many industries such as healthcare, a good design also helps them solve another problem, which is to connect with their audience. Companies within the healthcare sector tend to be drier in terms of their branding, and those businesses find it challenging to engage with their audience and create an active community. Having well-designed pieces strengthen the relationship between client and companies as it evokes emotions that make customers resonate with a business.
Our brains are naturally attracted to visual information, so healthcare companies should use that to their advantage. Important data should always be strategically designed in an engaging way to increase customer’s readability through infographics and illustrations.
You might be thinking “The benefits of a good graphic design are great, but what exactly is a design-led company?” It’s a company that puts design at the core of its brand. It weaves design principles into everything it does— from research and strategy to creating content. Leadership and management at these companies think beyond transactions and focus on creating beautiful experiences that build lasting and meaningful relationships with customers. As a healthcare provider, if you can create a business model that is design-led, you will naturally set yourself apart from your competitors
The Stats: Design-led companies reported:
41% higher market share
46% competitive advantage overall
50% more loyal customers
70% of digital experiences beat competitors
From my experience companies with less advanced design practices typically underestimate the business benefits of design-led customer experience. They focus purely on the cost rather than the outcome, which is a dangerous practice and a very ineffective approach to running a successful business. It’s a proven fact that when you lead with design, you end with excellent results.
“Standing out right from the start with graphic design is imperative. People make a subconscious judgment about a product within 90 seconds of initially viewing it, and up to 90% of that assessment is based on colour alone. (Kissmetrics)”
It is a well-known fact that design-led healthcare companies also consciously aim to create seamless customer experiences across a variety of touchpoints and devices. Today so often customers begin a product search with a phone call, website visit from a desktop computer, or visit a store and then follow up on a smartphone or tablet. Your new customer may interact with your brand across multiple touchpoints before making a purchasing decision so creating a seamless digital experience that adapts to how your customer finds and interacts with your business is vital.
What do companies stand to gain from making design thinking a priority? Design thinking is a methodology used by designers to solve complex problems and find desirable solutions for clients. A design mindset is not problem-focused; it’s solution-focused. In its simplest form, Design thinking is a journey of creating innovative ideas and solutions to established problems. Where there is a customer, there is a need for design thinking, getting into the mind of the decision-maker, understanding their pain and touchpoints in their journey to making a purchase, or choosing a service.
It’s not enough to just sell a product or service— healthcare companies must genuinely engage with their customers.
We all fall in love with objects or service experiences because of the care that the company employed to meet our needs. That’s a deep internal attachment to good design. Likewise, we notice when things are poorly crafted or when we’ve had disappointing experiences that could’ve been made better—a real missed design opportunity. In most cases, customers can’t articulate why they didn’t choose you, but something about the execution just wasn’t right.
“For nearly half of people (46.1%), a website’s design is the top criterion for determining the company’s credibility. Overall, 75% of your website’s credibility is related to design!” (Hubspot and WebFX)
The design is all about adding value to our lives as people and as individuals. At the second layer, we can look at design as a much more strategic approach to guide us in our marketing initiatives. Clearly understanding what motivates your customer is essential for the business. When you get it right, the experience builds value for the customer and the company.
We have been working with companies within the healthcare sector for over 20 years, from experience, we suggest to all of our clients to look at creating a strategy that is adaptable and flexible which can apply design thinking to help refine a plan as you execute it. Design research is one of these areas. The way that we suggest obtaining this research is through Customer Journey Mapping. Understanding how your customer relates to your brand, service, or product. Customers are increasingly choosing products and services based on the quality of the experiences they have with them.
It’s primarily about putting the customer first by understanding what their journey looks like and what they need to know to make the right choices. Financial decisions are involved. People are busy and can be easily distracted. Cutting through with a clear and simple message can be a practical point of difference in a competitive market.
For every single sales tool from brochures to websites, from EDM to Annual Reports, you must provide clear visual explanations as to how you are putting the audience’s needs first. Creating educational as well as engaging collateral will offer a point of difference in a very competitive and complex environment.
If you enjoyed reading this article and would like to hear some insights on how your company can use graphic design to increase brand loyalty and market share, feel free to send me an e-mail on email@example.com