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Why I bang on about the importance of strategic design.

The importance of design is often underestimated and overlooked. But great design could be the difference between attracting the attention of a new client and not. Messages travel faster with strategic design, it has a great way of playing on emotion, bringing up memories and resonating with prospective clients on a deeper level. Businesses who put strategic design at the forefront of their marketing become the most efficient when it comes to signing on new clients and building trust with existing clients to return to them and recommend them further to friends and family. This is because they are now putting their client at the forefront of their business. Branding is not just about the visuals, it is how the whole story comes together to design an experience for the client.

Businesses that brand themselves based on their personal preference and what they perceive as attractive, their own likes and dislikes and personal opinions can not expect to be connecting with their ideal audience and building a community of like minded evangelist clients. It becomes hard to have any sense of direction and clarity for businesses that do this and they will also never outrun the competition who is speaking directly to their audience, know who they want to work with, understand their pain points and speak to them through strategic branding and design.

Let’s have a think about some successful, famous brands, when I say;

Let’s get a coffee

You say: Starbucks of course! He needs new trainers!

You say: Nikes, obviously! Should we get fastfood for dinner?

You say: McDonalds? Absolutely! I will just order it online!

You say: From Amazon?

I need a new phone

You say: Oh yeah, the new iphone is great.

These businesses are at the forefront of our thought process for most of us, and that is because they do EVERYTHING with their clients pain points and values as the foundations of their communications and experiences.

Steve Jobs once said - “Design is not just what looks good, it is how it feels and how it works”

Let’s take Starbucks from the examples above, why are we so willing to spend £4.50 on a coffee from Starbucks but moan about the café down the road if they were to charge the same?

It is the experience that the brand has designed for us, the values and feeling that the brand allows us to resonate with. The large cups that you wouldn’t get at home, the dark soothing atmosphere with the strong smell of coffee (ever noticed that every Starbucks smells the same?), the music choice and the feeling of calm once you take a seat, no matter what is going on around you.

This experience doesn’t just happen in store!

What about the big shot CEO that stops on her way to work for a takeaway Starbucks? It might not even be a coffee, it might be a cup of tea or a cooler but in holding that Starbucks branded cup there is an overall feeling of comfort in the brand that their clients resonate with on a deeper level.

Starbucks has successfully created a midway point for people to meet, work and catch up with themselves away from the hustle and bustle of the world outside. Its cool and contemporary ambience has created an atmosphere that people want to be in and causes them to return again and again.

Based on what we know about Starbucks let’s take a minute to think about who their ideal client might be. My guess would be, affluent, corporate professionals, both men and women looking for a caffeine fix and a minute of quiet in a calming safe space. Wouldn’t you?

This client is certainly the client that Starbucks serves and is proud to do so. These clients also are not ones to grumble at the price, the experience is tailor made for them so there is no room to grumble! They return again and again.

A few facts:

- It is 7 times cheaper to retain a client than it is to find a new one

- Loyal customers spend up to 67% more overall than new ones

- Increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits by up to 85%

It is all in the design.

Bringing it back down a level to small and mid sized businesses how can you ensure that you have designed the best experience possible for your ideal clients?

Here are a few tips:

  1. Revaluate who they are, are you really talking to the right audience? Is your messaging specific enough for your audience to resonate and think "oh my days, I think she is talking about me!"

  2. Talk to them, conduct market research and find out exactly what it is that they expect from your business. Ask leading questions and prompt them to dig deeper as they give you their answers.

  3. Take a step back and evaluate your client journey, is there anything you can add/take away from the journey you take them on from them landing on your page to booking a call with you or buying your product? (Remember in this digital world, we can loose clients if they have to make more than three clicks to find what they are looking for!)

  4. Design with them in mind, your visuals, your content, and your products and services. Ensure you create an experience that they will remember, recommend and return to.

If you have any questions on building a strong brand experience just head over to my contact form and let me know, I will be happy to help.

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