These days even well-run companies struggle with growth, so today we raise the curtain to present you to the design-driven growth. In the past years, most CEOs were focused on outperforming the market, striving to exceed expectations. Nowadays, with the global economy starting to rebound from the lows of 2020, it seems to us that businesses are not rushing to the top but searching for stability by implementing long-term solutions driven by value-creating organic growth. Keep in mind also that the transition is still threatened by the risk of a new lockdown and still fights the weak demand most businesses experienced in the course of 2020. So, to sustain the productivity rates (*even with decreased human resources without forcing employees to burn out) and strive for growth, companies are now more than ever focused on utilizing cost-efficient approaches.
One thing is sure, every company is particular, and business fundamentals within each industry determine the size and timing of growth opportunities but not only. As we mentioned, sometimes external factors like the global pandemic we experienced in 2020 and still going on in 2021. This forced most businesses to recognize the limitations imposed by it, but not only. Executives have been revisiting the cores of their strategies and are re-evaluating their decisions and expenses. So in this blog post, we decided to examine one of the leading solutions to help companies grow organically – design.
Over the years, we saw a lot of decision-makers addicted to highly-priced sales services promising the stars. But things are rarely as simple as finding the right team to sell our products or services. To get to where we are headed, we need to work on a whole chain of processes and consider all the steps leading to that target. One of those aspects, which we can firmly say our team can give you a hand with, is design. Because with a limited capital required to fuel that growth, investment in design is by far the best approach. Let’s dig deeper to see why and how, through shaping your image and messages, companies can grow their client base, fortify the image, and grow organically.
With the growing market, today there is intense competition between companies as services. An advanced digital culture characterizes today’s world. What’s more, over the last year, a significant number of companies shifted to online channels, and as McKinsey Global Institute states,”e-commerce and e-grocery shopping is here to stay“. DHL (Deutsche Post) is investing 2 billion dollars in digital transformation to assure that they will be able to meet consumer’s needs. One of their studies points that by 2025 shopping will be possible in every place and at all times, which means a constant growth in delivery services.
This digitalization of the market has some major advantages, but bear in mind that the competition is even more severe on the internet. Consumers have access to all information about a company and its products. Consumers ofter discuss different options in groups, forums, and social media. They influence one another, magnifying the word-to-mouth effect. Making customers happy, bringing extra value, and keeping a positive image on your brand is crucial. But on the bright side, the vice-versa case is also valid – companies have access to all data and behavior analysis of their target as they follow their customer’s journey on the web.
This means that growth will depend on analyzing, understanding the client’s needs, stand out from the crowd and offering extra value. The better understanding – the bigger the growth. This valuable data we have of our prospects and currents clients helps companies become “the perfect fit,” or show off as the best solution on the market. If you know to whom you’re selling your product, you will sell it because you’d know how to address him.
But this is only possible if you get the consumer’s attention, which is even more complicated than it used to be. The attention span has dropped so much, and if your message isn’t attractive, appealing, and well crafted, it will go unnoticed.
To be eye-catching, companies need to learn how to differentiate our products or services and stand out from the crowd. And as if that’s not hard enough, all of us also need to create extra value for their clients and partners to top the competition. All of this is equally important for companies focused on B2B as it is for B2C. Accordingly, we should invest time and resources in messages worth sharing. Brands and companies need to seek communications tailored for their case and niche that prove to be meaningful to the target audience. Those messages need to be well-thought and presented correctly or else said – designed to light the fire in our target’s heart.
Furthermore, this is not only regarding advertising campaigns, but it concerns the overall communication. We are talking about real messaging. To simplify this, everywhere and everything you can put your logo sends a message to your customers, partners, and employees.
A brief example to illustrate this – if you offer an inspirational video that will make your audience smile, that will show the brand’s spirit of generosity. If you get a designed ppt presentation layout or a customized font that you offer to your partners to use for free, that sends a message that you are a team player. If you invest in a website that can host your community and educate them or help them grow – that’s you being concerned about your community. Having something designed that you can offer to your clients and partners is worth the cost.
Talking about money, if you utilize design to spread a message in the digital world, you’re only paying for the design and not for print, distribution, and all other services involved in the process to get noticed. So it is cost-efficient, we design, you send it. That’s all. There are a thousand different examples of how design can help you reach out and fortify your image, but let’s take a closer look.
How can a business use design for growth?
- Designing new products and services
To keep your business alive, offering new products might be a great solution. Differentiating your portfolio can attract new customers, as well as excited loyal customers. Offering new products doesn’t mean that your team should put years of work into developing some super sophisticated or revolutionary product on the market. Think of it as proposing something that is limited edition.
Design is a tool you can use to spice up some product you are currently selling. Let’s say you own a company that offers skincare products. Well, instead of creating an internally new formula that will take months to develop, imagine just creating a limited edition package for Women’s Day or Easter or making a box of products for Christmas. This way, a product that people buy for themselves could turn out as a great gift they can offer to friends or family. Or if you have a chocolate shop, well, making a box of chocolates with attractive copies and designing it to look like a poster, for instance, will make your audience love it.
Or in the case where you are focused on B2B, well, you can surprise your clients and partners with a magic box with some branded items, but instead of just putting your logo on those, go for something wilder that will light a sparkle. Like, for example, a glass bottle with customized folio print saying something positive like – “Stay hydrated, and do your magic“. Good design is cost-efficent because it can multiply the reasons one buys a product, like in the example with the packaging for a special annual occasion. It can attract attention by offering a new view on your product like in the box of chocolates or straighten your relationship with partners by putting a smile on their face.
Design goes beyond just assembling elements and making them function as an entity. A good design agency does extensive research of the target group, studies the client’s goals and pains, predicts their customer’s behaviour, and proposes working solutions. As designers, we are in charge of packaging and optimizing processes, and guiding the process. At Ralev.com, we have a marketing expert who works with us and helps us develop some fresh ideas that serve our client’s needs. Implementing an agency like ours in the early stage of product development or a promotional campaign will help generate ideas, position it better, and positively affect the outcome.
As an example, we at Ralev.com recently launched an in-house product our creative director – Mark Ralev, designed – a board game system – GEMJI – allowing players to play over 30 games with a single set of 70 tiles. The whole team was implemented in creating games, developing and positioning the product, testing different materials, etc. Today we are incredibly proud to share with you that GEMJI is all over the world. This means that a studio like ours can help you with the identity, packaging, and promotional materials of all sorts, develop your product, make it cost-efficient by simplifying some processes and enhance its value. Design is about optimizing processes.
- Design helps you improve brand messaging
Brand messaging is more than “just do it“. Your brand messaging should go beyond listing your services and products. Research published in Harvard Business Review on this topic reveals that 64% of customers prefer one brand over another because of their shared values. Design is about the expression of those values, making them distinctive. Design is what helps you have a unique solid voice and to promote your values. For instance, let’s say your business is to sell hand-made soaps from organic oils. According to your mission to offer an eco-friendly product on the market, a well-thought designer would propose packaging that will also be eco-friendly. Designers are familiar of different printing materials, they know A-Z about packaging, the ink used when printing, and work closely with print studios. All of this will help you to level up your brand image.
Even if you introduce a product that doesn’t have a clean formula to the market, well a great designer can make people believe in your product. Have you seen all those products that you firmly believe are good for you? But then one day, you read the ingredient list, and you are shocked. Well, design made you pick it up at first. Design can influence consumer’s subconscious decision-making. You’ve probably heard this before, but actually, our subconscious interpretation relies on emotions, not information, which means that it’s the compilation of visual elements, textures, materials etc. that strikes in times when we have to make a decision. And to make it a bit more theoretical, we can quote Daniel Kahneman:
Another quote we want to put here for the sake of this statement of Kim Moses :
To sum it up, through design, you can improve your brand’s message and highlight the positive sides of your product.
- Good design attracts attention
The good design feels like a person and has meaning. Investing in design is something that can’t go unnoticed. Since design is about sensory sort of communication, if it’s done clever and executed well – you will be noticed. History has shown us some great examples of re-design that doubles sales or campaigns that made a boom. There are some terrible ones too, but it all depends on how well as business owners you know your target and how to trigger them. But overall, through design, you can attract attention and make your product or service stand out.
An excellent point here is that you can evaluate results in the short term and see how the audience reacts. Something that happens quite often with companies working in the production of food or beverages, when they make a rebranding on a product – they test it to see how it goes. They often release small quantities of a product with the new label design and deliver those only to certain shops to see if sales go up or drop. This way, they play-test the new design without risking too much. And what’s more they can measure the results from the re-designed product. In the scenario where sales go up even in a small time frame, we can consider that the new design attracted customers. Good design seduces new customers.
And don’t get us wrong – good design is expensive, but it will make you feel good about it, because you’ll get a return on investment.
What’s the value of design?
Mckinsey carried a research published in 2018 that aims to explain the value of design. They tracked down the design practices of 300 companies in order to see results and evaluate them.
Their research revealed a strong relationship between design and business performance across different industries such as – medical technology, consumer goods, and retail banking. The investment in design increased the revenues of the companies and the total return to shareholders. The companies who take design seriously celebrated a 32% growth over five years to put it in numbers. These results were in all industries.
Another major point is that crowds were felicitating designs that stand out from the crowd.
They state that the potential for design-driven growth is equally possible for both products and service-based companies.
But even with the great achievements businesses made through design, they noticed in their research that many companies remain stuck because design is an issue operated by the middle management.
“The companies in our index that performed best financially understood that design is a top-management issue and assessed their design performance with the same rigor they used to track revenues and costs.” This could be explained by the fact that many companies still haven’t settled a way to build design metrics and evaluate their performance. A real design approach needs to map the customer’s journey and better understand it. It needs to optimize the experience both online and offline. The user experience should be a top priority for the companies willing to grow.
The Design Council states : “Businesses that increased their investment in design over the past three years also increased their chances of turnover growth“. And let’s just add also that “Businesses that see design as integral are more than twice as likely as others to see rapid growth. “
Design growth is the new black
Businesses that redirect savings towards design report a higher revenue growth by 32% . Thanks to the data companies have gathered for their customers, they can make a user-centric designs that speak to them directly. Investing in design means creating ways for people to connect with your business. Design begins when the company first puts together the image of the service or product and ends when the project is done, which is never because we all strive to make things better. So in all means, design-growth is stable, measurable and achivable, all you have to do is find the right agency to partner up with you.