Why design should be leading the way for businesses

When you visualise a high-stakes strategic meeting at the very top level (think C-Suite, three-piece suits, a gargantuan pastry basket and triple filtered water) you probably don’t think about a designer being in the mix. But could this way of thinking be holding businesses back?

Giving design agencies a seat at the table from the get-go is on the rise. Why? Because for brands looking to stand out, design-led thinking can help transform a business from the inside out.

Often, agencies are dialled in to create the logo, dream up the marketing angle and make everything look appealing – but only after the strategic decisions have been made. But what if there was another way? What if utilising your design agency in a different way, earlier in the process, could help make a huge impact further down the line?

Post-pandemic, many organisations took a fast-track to digital transformation. In this new digital-first age, understanding people and how they interact with a product is now essential for brands to differentiate themselves. To truly nail this myriad of digital interactions, it seems more and more brands are pivoting and putting design centre stage. Having an agency input from the get-go, in-built with a product long before anyone starts thinking about the colour of a headline font, can go a long way in ensuring the future success of a business.

Have people lost patience with complex, digital products?

There’s little doubt that the market is saturated. Which means people don’t have, nor do they need, the patience to deal with a product or service that’s difficult to use.

So, just how can brands make sure they’re offering a user experience that’s hitting the right mark at every turn? It helps to first look at the brands who are doing this well.

Airbnb

Netflix

Uber

What do these three heavyweights have in common?

The businesses were built with design thinking at their core and an understanding of the customer. Responding and adapting to how users interact, they ensure seamless experiences that not only keep customers loyal and attract those who are experiencing difficulties with similar services elsewhere.

How can design influence top-level decisions?

The notion that design can greatly accelerate the success of a brand is starting to step into the spotlight. It’s an idea that might still be in its infancy, but the results are starting to show. Why? Because by utilising a design agency’s expertise, businesses can have their vision and ambition realised through an intuitive, creative lens. Helping to change audience perception and instil customer loyalty in a more resilient way.

But this isn’t about just bringing in a lone wolf or having one conversation, it’s about creating a cultural shift within an organisation that seeks out a design perspective from the outset. Design agencies are purpose built to create exceptional, quality experiences for people, so why not use that to your competitive advantage at every level.

Design and business strategy… they should go hand in hand!

It’s a tale as old as time. When times are tough, design and innovation is culled first. But by playing it safe, many brands are falling behind. With the digital age enabling companies to create real products in real time, long gone are the days when businesses could afford to spend months on strategic planning before even thinking about where any creative elements slot in.

The beauty of working alongside a talented design agency is they are able to take a good idea and make it work with the end user in mind – in essence, make it usable. Think how many iterations could be saved if this thinking was harnessed in the initial brainstorming meeting rather than in the pre-launch one? Plus, if you encourage your internal team to work alongside design from the get-go, it’s highly likely that innovation will flow a lot more rapidly, and frequently, as a result.

A recent study from Forrester showed efficiency gains when stakeholders got involved with the design process a lot earlier. Proving that the once tried-and-tested methodology of design and engineering being two very separate entities isn’t necessarily the most effective in the current modern age. It certainly would save people a lot of time, effort, and money if development and design were synchronised from the start, wouldn’t it?

Creative culture. It benefits everyone.

A design-led approach doesn’t just influence a product, it helps to create an entire ecosystem of enjoyable experiences across every touchpoint. Think about the packaging, texture, culture even of unwrapping and using an Apple product.

Every single part of the process has been considered, from how the product looks upon arrival, to how it’ll be opened, used, photographed, and then rediscovered. Simply inventing a product for a use isn’t the same as creating a continuing chain of experiences that encourage an emotional reaction – and inspire engagement.

Capitalizing on design mentality can bring that sweet spot to your product or brand.

Understand your customers by investing in design support.

It’s up to a brand to invest in good design thinking at its core. It’s down to a good agency to deliver it.

The best way to prove the value of design is to work with designers who can deliver a connection with customers and inspire them to share it with others. At Designmc we’re pros at letting design lead the way in creating a better product, customer experience, and future for your business.

To find out more about how we can help your brand get into a truly design-led mindset, get in touch at hello@designmc.org