Marketing Idea No. 268: “Design”-ed to Dominate

Design is once thought to be a good-to-have. Very quickly it has established itself as a must have. Apple is the company that may have been credited to give design the due attention, but the revolution of industrial designing and other forms of art and designing is less a “revolution” and more an “evolution”. It came out of the necessity of the most fundamental strategy of marketing: appealing to the emotional, right brain side of consumers by making product more attractive and differentiated when consumers are spoilt with abundance and choice.

In some unlikely effectiveness testing of good design, it has been found that test scores of schools increase as much as 11% simply by better interior decoration of the school. Also, in public hospitals, patients recovered faster if the rooms are better designed and they needed fewer anesthesia if the operating room is better designed.  

There is a revolution that has gone in the liquor brand’s packaging and bottle design. Forced by the restrictions imposed in such “sin” categories, liquor brands like Absolut has gone out of the box and created designs that itself transcends the mere need of someone needing a good time in Friday night. Impact of design can be found in consumer electronics, automobile, household durables, set top box, garden hose…you name it.  In facts are brands are now co designing together with their consumers to create a more personalized, intimate experience. In a recent campaign, “Coca Cola” has left out its logo and used real people’s name in that place (Unthinkable as it is, a Coca Cola campaign without Coca Cola logo) to drive home the core campaign message of share a bottle of Coca Cola to share happiness with people you love.  

The days are gone when categories are dominated by engineers telling you which product is revolutionary. The best business hires the best designers who are as important as the engineers. Think about your mundane toaster. Its used probably 15 minutes a day at best. For the rest 1425 minutes, the sole job of a toaster is to sit there on the kitchen table. So does it make sense to make use of that 90% of the time and make the toaster look good when its not functional? Absolutely.  

What are the implications for business this brings? This tells you that the more choices that consumers have, the more likely peripheral add ons like “beauty” will play over “function”. And that means the CEOs of the world have to be less of a number cruncher and more of an aesthetic artist who can visualize things, not just calculate.

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