During an economic downturn, design is often the last thing companies are thinking about despite the fact that it can be of real benefit to the long-term health of any business. In particular, companies who don’t see themselves as a brand, but simply as a distributor of a product or service, are missing a great opportunity to benefit their business.
In today’s world, companies are competing in a global market where customers can get products from anywhere, therefore it’s more important than ever that businesses really connect with their audience by exciting and inspiring them. A brand needs to educate, drive, inform, create, build and grow. This is the way to add value to a product or service.
Good design can give businesses a strategic edge. It’s all about the value you give to customers and the position of your brand. It will help you to rise above your competition on price, add value and weight to your brand and increase the cost effectiveness of your product. Regardless of the size of your company, design should be considered an integral part of your business strategy.
Based on a recent study by Design Victoria, successful companies understand the real value in good design and use it as an important part in the ongoing growth of their business. They see benefits across a range of areas from product design and branding to communications and websites.
The research also found that businesses that used design as an integral part of their business strategy received tangible rewards, with 71% experiencing a direct link between design use and increased sales.
Design can be a powerful tool during difficult economic times creating many opportunities for businesses to win new markets and increase market share. This includes differentiating themselves from competitors; adding value and a premium to their price; revitalising tired and outdated products, packaging and branding; and building credibility and loyalty.
Credibility and loyalty are particularly important as they show the brand is well regarded and trusted. These qualities are built over time but are crucial for companies to effectively ride out more difficult times in the economic cycle.
Customers with limited funds tend to be more discerning about what they buy and are more likely to spend their money with reputable organisations rather than take risks with their money. Larger companies can raise their reputation more easily by injecting large sums of money into brand credibility and advertising. But, small companies can also do this by creating a customer experience through the telling of stories about their brand, by keeping in touch with their customers and by building stong relationships.