Something I have learnt in the 20 years I’ve been driving my creative agency is that an authentic and deep understanding of the client or customer equals effective, compelling and relevant visuals. This ultimately will create a loyal customer as opposed to a customer who walks away dissatisfied never to return. In a nutshell, good design equals good business.

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, there are many studies around this topic that support this theory. In a study conducted by the Design Management Institute reviewing business performance for design-driven companies as compared to the S&P Index over a decade (2004-2014), design-driven companies consistently outperformed the S&P by 219%. That’s right 219%! That equates to balance sheet positive results, good design is always good for business.

So what exactly is a design-led company? Basically, 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.

The Stats: Design-led companies reported:

41% higher market share

46% competitive advantage overall

50% more loyal customers

70% digital experiences beat competitors

If those numbers don’t get you excited then take a look at the below key findings revealed about design-led firms:

·  Design permeates the organization, driving culture and the ambition to do better.

· There is support throughout the company to nurture talent and to have a variety of skills from strategic to visual, technical and more with collaborative work processes.

· The company embeds tactical and production-level design from strategy through application across user experience.

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…a dangerous practice and a very infective approach to running a successful business.

It’s a proven fact that when you lead with design, you end with great results.

It is a well-known fact that design-led firms 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. Creating a seamless customer experience that adapts to how your customer finds and interacts with your business is key.

From my years of experience in this industry, it is a must to inject your company with a design-driven culture, a culture that puts the customer first will not only provide real and measurable results but will offer you a distinct advantage over your competitors.

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 solution to established problems. It is not limited to a specific industry or area of expertise. Where there is a customer there is a need for design thinking, getting into the mind of the decision maker, understanding their pain and touch points in their journey to making a purchase or choosing a service.

It’s not enough to just sell a product or service—companies must truly 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 cased customers can’t articulate why they didn’t choose you but something about the execution just wasn’t right.

The design is all about adding value to our lives as people and as individuals. At a second layer, we can look to design as a much more strategic approach to guide us in our marketing initiatives. Clearly understanding what motivates your customer is important for the business. When you get it right, the experience builds value for the customer and the business.

At Fresco we strongly 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 strategy 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 complex. People are busy and can be easily distracted. Cutting through with a clear and simple message can be an effective point of difference in a competitive market.

Every single sales tool from brochures to websites, from EDM to Annual Reports it is imperative that you the client provide clear visual explanations as to how you are putting the audience’s needs first. It’s educational, but also engaging. And it creates a point of difference in a very competitive and complex environment.

If you enjoyed reading this article please like or share… or better still drop me a line to chat more about customer journey mapping. www.frescocreative.com.au

Related Tags: Traditional Graphic Design | Graphic Design Sydney