Apple, Braun, BMW, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks – these are just a few examples of design companies that have made themselves industry leaders. Worldwide experience clearly shows that design has long been not only one of the main competitive advantages but a valuable sales tool.
Why is design playing such a significant role in our lives, and how can we get financial returns with it?
One of the first to pay attention to design as a serious competitive advantage was Henry Ford. By the end of the 1920s, his company was facing a serious problem. The T model, made by Ford, was so popular and sold so well that it just overwhelmed the market over time. Gradually, people started refusing to buy this car for purely subjective reasons.
The competing company General Motors made good use of the situation. This has become a serious threat to Ford’s business.
In 1927 Model T production was discontinued and replaced with Model A. The main design feature of the new car is precisely the design. The car had a more modern sleek shape. Despite the fact that Ford spent $ 18 million (great money at the time) on retrofitting its businesses, the focus on new product design helped it regain leadership in the automotive industry.
The most recent example of design attention is the approach of computer giant Apple to the emergence of its products. Company founder Steve Jobs has always paid the most attention to design. He personally participates in the design of all products without exception. As a result, his name is in many design patents.
Before Apple, the computers of each manufacturer looked the same as the big grey boxes.
It was Jobs who first broke the trend when his company started producing really beautiful hulls. The first iMac, released in 1996, made of turquoise transparent plastic, even now, after more than sixteen years, makes a very striking impression. Despite the fact that the iMac cost $ 1,299, which was very expensive for computers of the time, it sold 800,000 units in the first year.
In 2011, Apple became the most expensive brand in the world, outpacing such “monsters” as Google, IBM, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Facebook and many more. The company owes its success to various factors, among which design, of course, occupies a central place.
The historical experience of many large companies makes it clear that a competent approach to creating a design can become a really strong competitive advantage for both the company and its products.
The impression can be made that design is of great importance only to companies that manufacture something, and not to companies that provide services. This is fundamentally wrong.
The question of what is more effective in selling through design: goods or services remains highly debatable. Moreover, when it comes to goods, their design is more of a competitive advantage than a means of sale. When it comes to selling services, design becomes not only an auxiliary tool but rather the opposite, an effective means of promoting them.
The main problem with selling services is that they are abstract. They cannot be seen, touched or smelled. As a result of the service being provided, it is not always clear whether it was professionally performed or not. In addition, companies offering new services on the market are always faced with the same problem: how to explain to people how it works and why they need it. If a new product is easy enough to showcase in action, then with innovative services it may just be unrealistic.
But these problems can be solved with the help of graphic design. Detailed and beautiful sites are created to better describe all aspects of the service. Notifications of new offers and promotions are made using various types of printed products. In order to create a sustainable image of the company in the mind of the target audience, a corporate identity is developed. As a result of the design, all the materials of the organization make its work even more visual, real and close to the user.
A corporation with a large number of employees and offices in different places cannot be covered by the view, and the abstract service cannot be put in your pocket. That is why design is sometimes the only means of objectifying a company and its work in reality.