Most marketers realize the importance of great design, which acts as a differentiator and plays an instrumental role in driving business. Here are several compelling reasons for making a case to the C-Suite on the importance of investing in design.
A good first impression
Oftentimes a prospect’s first glance at your company is through a website, trade show, business card, or advertisement. When these branded materials look sleek, a good first impression is made and your firm is portrayed as one that cares and that produces quality. When these crucial branded materials look out of date or wimpy, prospects notice that too. A brand should be memorable for the right reasons—after all, you only get one chance at a first impression.
Good design not only gets your firm noticed; it helps build trust with clients and customers. People tend to make a decision regarding an organization’s credibility in a split second—and that quick judgment is often based on design. When an expectation for quality work and care is set from the start, it creates a foundation for a good relationship.
A business development game changer
An investment in branding with a strategic promotional approach can create a business development engine with infinite reach. Establishing your firm as a thought leader, an expert in your field, and looking the part pulls in qualified leads without having to chase after them. Whether fueled by paid advertising or a strategic thought leadership program and clever search optimization, an investment in branding and promotion can pull in leads, establishing your firm as the experts in your field and attracting the right prospects.
A talent magnet
Just as an attractive design attracts prospective clients, attractive design also qualifies your firm as a cutting edge employer. Whether your firm’s first impression to top talent is at a career fair or a LinkedIn ad, prospects will most definitely dive deep into your firm’s website to evaluate you as an employer. Projecting professionalism, quality and your core values through design is paramount to attract the right talent—and repel the wrong talent.
Design and client experience
In today’s unprecedented digital world, user experience is ever more critical to success. Whether it’s your company website, mobile app, digital brochure, or training materials, great design is at the core of a solid user experience and can make the difference between a complex, frustrating experience and a delightful one. Well-designed interactions can save clients and employees time, make them more productive, and, in turn, make them feel better.
Every interaction with your brand, whether digital, print or in person, matters. Companies that have outdated websites are missing out on a huge opportunity to engage with clients and prospects and add value to their experience. By providing a great user experience through strategic design, you will add value to your company and brand.
The proof is in the pudding
A survey of over 300 firms showed that design-led companies report 41% greater market share and 50% higher customer loyalty compared to non design-led counterparts. Another study showed that design-centric companies showed a 211% return over the S&P 500. These companies, not surprisingly, include: Apple, Coca-Cola, Ford, Nike, IBM and Procter & Gamble.
Nike is an example of a company that has leveraged design for bottom line results. Former CEO, Mark Parker, had a design team that reported directly to him, and no decision is made without their input. Through direct interaction with practicing athletes, the team devises authentic performance innovations and style updates. During Mark Parker’s 14 year tenure as CEO, Nike’s market cap grew by 1000%. This intentional elevation of design to a C-suite priority not only impacts Nike’s brand, but has created a competitive advantage and allows the company to command higher price premiums for its products. As a result of Nike’s design-centric strategy, Nike ranked 16th on Interbrand’s 2019 list of the Best Global Brands.
Design is an investment
Design is an investment in innovative thinking—branding and communication that create value through differentiation, competitive advantage, customer trust, and ultimately market share and customer loyalty.
Good design is strategic, engaging, functional and impactful. It exemplifies your brand, tells your story and helps you stand out from the competition. It adds perceived value both internally and externally—allowing you to have higher margins than your competitors. Demonstrating that you value your brand by investing in good design can pay significant dividends that are hard to ignore.
Is it possible to have a successful company without good design? Yes, it’s possible. But is it worth the risk? Ralph Speth, CEO of Jaguar, said, “If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.” Good design does so much work for your firm, that it’s the best investment for your brand in the long run.