There was a great article in Marketing Week this week that looked at the importance of design to startups and small companies.
We all know that design is how established brands immediately convey their history and values to consumers. Built up over years, design is the constant thread that runs through brands’ advertising, PR, packaging, web and mobile presence.
For startups and small businesses, design is equally important but they enjoy none of the heritage, reputation or budget of their bigger rivals, and yet some still rise to the top, outcompeting big-name businesses and quickly earning brand equity.
To do this, you have to think about how great design should be a non-negotiable part of your business. Great design can make your business stand out and can be a point of differentiation in crowded markets. If you’re going head-to-head with established brands, design should be one of your major weapons.
Great design should immediately convey what you stand for. In those two seconds, it can flick a switch in the mind of your target customers. It can communicate how you’re different and introduce your values and your approach. Great design can showcase your identity, your spirit and your personality.
Terrible design can have the opposite effect and can put doubt in your customers’ minds that you stand for anything at all.
But, authenticity is everything. Your design approach needs to fit exactly with the ethos of your business. It will be tested as soon as a customer engages with you. If everything checks out, brand equity builds. If the experience doesn’t match up to the design promised, brand equity is destroyed.
It’s also useful to think about your design approach over the longer term and ask questions about how current design fits with future aspirations. You want evolution down the line, not total revolution!
Skimp on good design at your peril!