STEP 2-DESIGN MATTERS. LOOK THE PART WITH STYLE & FLAIR!
In case you missed the pivotal remark made by Tom Peters on our RIGHT BRAIN page, read it now before going further.
Feel free to check out some real-world examples of how we have helped our clients differentiate themselves with design. The flyout menus from the RIGHT BRAIN button will let you see a number of samples.
It is amazing how many times we encounter (and you do too) companies that have no idea how to position themselves in the marketplace with a compelling and unique “look.” This encompasses everything from their logo to their business card (a BIG undertatement) to their marketing materials and presentations (please spare us from another boring PowerPoint presentation.)
Since your first encounter with a prospect may be projected without you being present, the “First Impression Power” must be significant in order to leave a lasting impression.
Speaking of business cards, we know – at the very minimum – that everyone’s life is almost TOO busy…with too much information to absorb…and too many messages being hurled at us each day. So, what is going to make your prospect or client actually take a second look at your business card? Well, at the very minimum, consider getting away from the standard 3.5″X2″ format with too-small text all jammed into a too-small space just because “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Write your own rules. Break the mold. Or find a company that knows how to lead the way with this. If you need help, we are specialists at this entire process. Contact us now.
After much observation, we have determined that people don’t normally have time to read a 16-page agency-produced brochure about your company. But, they may take the time to read your business card.
So, we have developed a trademarked concept called a CardChure™ – a combination business card and brochure. If you’d like to see the one we use here at THINK-TANK, let us know. We’ll send you a free sample.
O.K., let’s suppose for the moment that you agree with Tom Peter’s international observations (you should read the entire article) about the importance of design as a way of setting your company apart. But, you make industrial parts or some other “commodity.” that “just can’t be differentiated by design,” you suggest.
What to do?
Well, first of all, take off your “we’ve-always-done-it-that-way” blinders. When is the last time you invited your top customers to visit with you about their needs? Better yet, how often are you in their plants, factories, facilities AND THOSE OF THEIR CUSTOMERS to see what challenges they face?
When is the last time you committed to PROACTIVELY anticipating how to make your customers’ lives better by helping them solve their customers’ problems?
What does this have to do with design in a world of price-sensitive commodies?
If you can design (or package) your products to look different (more powerful, “sleeker,” more stable, more cool, etc.), work longer without failure (that’s a design issue, too), be easier to retrieve if a replacement is needed, or whatever – then you have potentially met the needs of your customers or THEIR customers by thinking through the design process.
Take a look at the many items that you purchase.
How many times do you make a decision based on how the product looks … feels … functions … performs … or MAKES YOU FEEL?
The evidence is in cars … kitchen utensils … furniture … office and home designs … clothing … technology (i.e. the incredible success of Apple’s iPod® and other sleek and well-designed hardware and software) … food presentation … the treatment you get at a fine hotel or restaurant … and so forth.
If you have enough resources to be reading this (and an interest for it as well), then you probably KNOW that design is critical. With that in mind, look at your own company’s with an objective eye.
HAVE YOUR DESIGN EFFORTS EVALUATED.
Have a professional evaluate your “look” with a critical eye. Unfortunately, you may find that traditional ad agencies aren’t the right place to look. They may be stuck in the mud just like you are. Even though they may have great designers, they may not mix the “look” with the intended audience and/or results that you wish to generate.
You may also discover that agencies are often more interested in placing ads (mostly because that’s where a major share of their income is generated) rather than looking for ways to effectively position you in the marketplace with more targeted efforts. Think about it this way. How often do you see banks or hospitals or car dealers advertising via mass media? You know, TV, billboards, etc.?
And think about the traditional car ad you see on TV. How many times do you see trucks bouncing around in the “high country” or going to the highest peaks? How many times do you see cars being driven on open curving roads? How often do you hear and see information about the horsepower of the car and other similar “guy” items of interest?
Well, if you’re a car dealer or manufacturer, you already know (or should know) that 80% or so of the car- buying decisions made in the U.S. are controlled by a woman, not a man. So, does all of this typcial “advertising” speak to a woman?
We know from many studies that women are more relationship oriented. So, in addition to having multi-million dollar ad campaigns that may be speaking the wrong message to the wrong buyer in the wrong way (and that’s if most of us don’t own a remote to tune them out in the first place), NOW the prime influencer of a car purchase almost always has to suffer through a male salesperson TOO!
Is this off the point?
No, it’s actually making two points. First, even big ad agencies may not really understand how to design a marketing strategy that focues on THEM, the buyers.
The second point is that designing a “selling process” or “selling environment” is just as critical as the design of the product itself.
Unfortunately, most of the auto dealers, banks, financial institutions, health providers, service providers, and so forth just do what their competitors are doing and try to shout louder about it or reduce their price to get the business.
What a tragedy! And, guess what? Most of them have big agencies on tap. But, they have not done their homework and developed TANGIBLE, PRACTICAL ways to set themselves apart. So, their agencies often flap around, doing their best to make it happen in the mass media.
What’s the point of all this as it relates to the “look” of your materials, products, promotions, etc.?
Simply this. Ad agencies get into ruts, too. Consider hiring a Market Positioning Strategist to help you with your STRATEGIC PLAN. Then use the uniqueness generated with that effort to give your agency something compelling to advertise for a change.
Naturally, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Share with us your examples of how you, your firm, your team or others have used design to differentiate themselves.