Over a career spanning 24 years I’ve seen how design grows businesses of all sizes and ages across all sectors and geographic markets. Design and its intrinsic value are what get me out of bed in the morning; it’s what inspires everyone at The Allotment. Time and time again I’ve seen that when businesses and boardrooms embrace design fully it can totally transform every part of their organisation, from bottom-line revenues through to culture and internal/external perception of the company and its brands.
There are many definitions of design. Here’s what I mean when I talk about ‘design’. Design is all about asking the right questions. Answers to these lead to really powerful strategic insights, which in turn lead to the development of exceptional ideas and innovation. It‘s these insights that help businesses achieve their vision and full potential. Design helps define, clarify and illustrate why a business exists; why it’s relevant to the world. Design takes that core purpose and makes it tangible, makes it real, relevant, understandable and differentiated. Design makes that purpose emotionally engaging and compelling, which in turn changes behaviours and adds a direct value to a business’ bottom-line.
Design WILL grow your business. Here’s what we’ve learnt:
1) Value design and design will add value
Many businesses see design as a cost. It’s not. If used effectively throughout a business, design represents a sound investment – an investment that delivers exceptional ROI over many years. Research by The Design Council confirmed that every pound spent on design provides over £20 in increased revenue*. We’ve seen this statistic play out for real in the results of our clients time and time again.
Find out how we helped White Logistics grow revenue by 403% here.
2) Design defines the real problem/s that need solving
Design is all about asking the right questions – the really difficult and challenging questions, like: ‘Why do you do what you do?’, ‘Why is that different – prove it?’, ‘Why should customers and staff listen or believe what you have to say?’ The answers to these and many more questions inform and define a much clearer brief. And getting the brief ‘bang on’ means you are going to solve the right challenge, saving you time and money. You’re also likely to see the benefits and the ROI quicker too!
Find out how we grew the world’s largest equine charity income by 60% in four years here.
3) Design reduces risks and maximises value
Design creates a map of the future – a plan that helps your business identify the opportunities and challenges. Design helps you navigate the risks and mitigate the negatives allowing you to maximise the potential and value within your business. It’s a map that helps business leaders show their workforce the future. It can illustrate the destination and bring both excitement and clarity to the journey it’s going to take to get there. In turn, having absolute clarity about why and how this will benefit all stakeholders is proven to increase productivity and profitability – so everyone wins.
Take a look at how we helped a UK-based furniture business grow through a shift in strategic direction here.
4) Design defines competitive advantage
We’ve mentioned questioning earlier, but answers to the difficult questions are where design really starts to add value. By getting to the core of why your business exists means designers can then set about translating that into a unique and differentiating proposition, which makes decision making for customers very much easy. Design cuts laser-sharp through the noise so your brands, products and services become infinitely more relevant and stand out in today’s cluttered and complicated marketplace.
Find out how we helped grow Bauer Media’s listener base here.
5) Design connects values to direct behaviours and positive action
Design helps translate vision and purpose into highly emotive employee engagement campaigns. Just imagine a global workforce being able to see and feel the impact they have on the world and why they come to work each day. Imagine the sense of pride and responsibility you could foster. The Macleod Report shows that businesses with a top-quartile engagement, compared to businesses with bottom-quartile engagement, generate twice the annual net profit, 2.5 times greater revenue growth and a 40% lower staff turnover**. Design is absolutely vital to creating and maintaining sustainable businesses with motivated people at their heart.
Find out about our multi award-winning work that helped Lucite International grow a sense of pride and purpose here.
6) Design allows you to fast-track knowledge and insights
Plug a strategic design consultancy into your business and you immediately tap into years and years of insights, innovation, creativity and passion. Imagine instantly unleashing all the learnings from every previous client challenge, every project and every market and sector (respecting confidentiality, of course) . What other business partner could grow your knowledge and bring matching value to the table? Instantly.
We love our work with charities and each project benefits the next. Here are just two examples of how we’ve helped them grow. View our work for ZSL here and our work for Give London here.
7) Fast paced world; design is a great for streamlining and simplification
If I haven’t made it clear already, design is simply a great simplifier. It puts the customer experience first and strips out unnecessary complexity. It makes decisions, and therefore life, easier by making choices intuitive and natural. Businesses often have an instinctive inclination to build ‘process barriers’ between themselves and their customers. Design questions these and objectively streamlines their offer to help ensure customers achieve their goals faster and more efficiently. The commercial benefits of simplicity are proven, with 69% of customers more likely to recommend a brand that provides simpler experiences and communications***.
Our work with Currencies Direct illustrates how we helped them grow understanding through simplification. View the work here.
The above list is just the tip of the iceberg. Embrace design then plug the right design and brand consultancy into your organisation and watch it grow every area of your business.
Creative Director and Co Founder.
* Design Council. http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/resources/report/evaluation-our-designing-demand-programme
** Macleod Report, Engaging for Success and http://www.talentculture.com/6-eye-opening-employee-engagement-statistics/
*** Siegel+Gale, Global Brand Simplicity Index.
Images shown below are a snapshot of some of the projects mentioned in the article above.