The rising value of global brands like Apple, Amazon, Airbnb, and Google are constantly reminding us of the value of design to businesses worldwide. These brands have found a way to make their products an essential and enjoyable part of their customers' lives while getting many to remain loyal to them.
While these brands seemed to have mastered how to meet deep human needs, others are yet to connect with the basic needs of customers. Many brands haven’t discovered the value that design can bring to their business’s offerings.
How can design benefit business, and how did these companies do it? The answer is Design Strategy.
Now you’ll find many definitions of Design Strategy on the internet, but as a Design Strategist, here’s my breakdown of it in simple layman’s terms. Design Strategy is a discipline centered around human needs, it helps businesses determine what to make, why they should make it and how they can make solutions that are innovative. It infuses business strategy and design tools (such as Design Thinking) to improve business offerings and customer experience.
According to a report by Design Council on UK Design Index, it showed that from 1995-2004 design-led businesses outperformed the FSTE by 200%. Now that's a big margin!
Another report by Mckinsey observed there was a strong correlation between high scores on Mckinsey’s Design Index (MDI) and superior business performance. It further showed that top-quartile MDI scorers increased their revenues and total returns to their shareholders on a 5-year period, 32% faster than their industry counterparts.
These reports only serve as substantial proof of the value of design in business.
So, away from the statistics, the real question here is, what are you doing to make your company stand out from the clutter?
If you desire to lead the pack, then Design Strategy is your go-to strategy for staying ahead. Amazon, using Design Strategy has found a way to package their offerings, delivering it to users so well that it blurs the lines between software, hardware, and service.
Apple has used it to create products that emotionally impact people all over the world.
Google has used it to create seamless experiences for billions of people around the world, sam story exists for Airbnb, Pepsi and the list goes on.
Design holds such great value for businesses that if properly incorporated and utilized, it can deliver great results for them. Here are 4 ways to start incorporating design into your business today;
1. Creative Collaboration: For agile and seamless collaboration within any company, departments within that organization need to collaborate. This means that silos need to be reduced or removed completely. Finance, legal, marketing, product, and every other department needs to have not just information on the solutions being created for users, furthermore, they are to have access to customer data to use to inform decisions that enhance the Customer’s Experience.
2. Design-led Leadership: In Mckinsey’s Design Index (MDI’s), one of the 4 themes that ran across companies that excelled as Design-centered organizations were they had leadership that bought into, and heavily encouraged design, ‘measuring design’s performance as critically as revenue and costs.
3. Continuous Iteration: The design process is made up of a critical step known as iteration. Design-led corporations are intentional about continuous testing with customers and iterating based off of that feedback. This is really key to delighting customers, upstaging completion and being successful long term, like Apple, Google and Amazon have clearly shown.
4. Work with a Design and Strategy firm. Capital One, Deloitte, and Accenture are companies that have invested heavily in Design agencies, even buying them outright in efforts to incorporate design within their business and produce better solutions for customer satisfaction and business growth. You don’t have to acquire a design agency, but I recommend hiring one to help you become more design-centered or to help bring a solution to market that customers love.
Once you are able to understand the value that design can offer your business and go even further in working on these 4 areas listed above, you will be able to drive innovation within your industry, as well as increase revenue.
What are your thoughts? Do you have any questions? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.