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What is the real value of design for business?

When we think of the big brands of today, certain organisations come to mind. Apple, Vodafone, Kelloggs… just to name a few off the top of my head. All of these brands have something in common: strong design - a strong brand identity that has been designed and sculpted time and time again to create something we instantly recognise. The CEO and owner of international brand, Speedo is quoted saying: ‘Design is everything. Because without it we have no business. Anybody can design a decent product – they can’t all design outstanding products. So, design is the differentiator.’ Using design as the differentiator is a powerful way to hit home its true importance. But does this rule apply to small businesses and the private sector too?

It can be easy to assume that the defining factor between success and failing in big brands is design, but in niche business to business markets – does it really matter? The Danish Design Centre found that gross revenues were around 22% higher for the companies that invested in design against those that didn’t. A surprising figure? In an ever-increasing market, people have to stand out in order to win work and be recognisable, even in small and specialist sectors. Think about your competitors, what they look like, how they put themselves across and why it makes them successful (if they are).

Chances are, they look good and sound good – something that in which design plays a major role. Last year The Design Council found that for every £1 businesses invested in design, they could expect over £20 in increased revenue, £4 increase in net operating profit and £5 in increased exports; strong numbers indeed! Increasingly, people are becoming aware that both in and out of the business world, the old saying ‘You get what you pay for’ rings ever true. It’s the logic of looking at the own brand digestives and the McVities chocolate digestives, and wanting to put McVities in the basket.

It’s a testament to the fact that good design can be the thing that sets you apart from the rest, puts your customer or client at ease and assures them that you are the right partner to work with. Having a well designed, on brand website and collateral can make all the difference between good customer services and value for money, or a disappointing/average customer experience. 40% of people will abandon a web page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load or if the layout is poor. With competition so high, good first impressions are even more valuable in the professional services arena.

Businesses have to work harder and more strategically than ever before to win contracts and carry on doing business and design is key to moving forward and growing. So, what is the value of design for your business? Let us know your thoughts and share your experiences below. What does design mean for your business? Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog for regular updates, tips and hints on all things design, digital and social media! If you’d like to look at some of our design work, click here – and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter too.

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