Design plays a part in nearly every aspect of what most businesses do and any business that undervalues the importance of good design is at risk of missing vital opportunities to succeed. Consumers have developed a whole new appreciation of design over recent years, particularly in the products that they buy and the services that they use.
Research by The Design Council has discovered that a third of the UK’s fastest growing businesses see design as fundamental to their growth as they have come to recognize the marketing power and financial value of good design. Successful businesses include design at the early stages of any process, knowing that they can save money as well as provide a better experience for their customer.
Build Customer Loyalty
Customers, even in these economically straitened times, are still willing to pay more for products that are well-designed, have greater usability, increased functionality and better aesthetics. The success of companies like Ikea and Apple highlight the appreciation of good design among consumers.
It is the design, whether it is that of a new tablet computer, a mobile phone, a beauty spa, the hairdressing salon furniture or a toothbrush, that makes a product or service stand out from the competition. It gives people a reason to want to buy that product or service and helps it to stand out from the rest, creating and building customer loyalty.
The design of the company website and the product packaging plus the marketing and creating a consistent look across a range of products or brands is obviously important, but design is involved in almost every aspect of running a successful company. It needs to be at the heart of a business intent on success, as good design can guide innovation as well as be used to improve existing products, services and marketing.
By incorporating design early into a manufacturing process, businesses can cut their production costs and make savings. The manufacturing processes and their use of materials can become more efficient and environmentally friendly as well as cost effective. It can also help businesses to comply with sustainability regulations and legislation from the outset.
So design brings a wide range of commercial benefits to modern businesses, it increases sales and improves market position to build a strong business identity. It inspires greater customer loyalty and in consequence leads to fewer customer complaints. It also leads to the creation of new products and services and to the opening of new markets. This in turn also reduces the time it takes to introduce those new products to the market.
To begin using design more strategically in a business, it’s important to pinpoint how and where it’s currently being used and make improvements upon it. Businesses can then identify ways of improving the design process whether by increasing management involvement in design decisions or hiring a design consultant to advise.
Companies then need to look for areas where design opportunities have previously been missed and see how they can be incorporated into the process by considering design in all the business and planning meetings on a project, as well as conducting market research among customers to find out what they need.