How important is “Design” in your business?
“But we’re not a design business!” you exclaim. Excuse me, but that’s irrelevant.
The fact of whether you’re ‘selling’ design as your business isn’t the issue. It’s that the very essence of every customer-facing touchpoint in your business is dripping in design decisions. Even deciding to not make a decision is a decision in itself
But I’m not (just) talking about the design of your product, or the look of your website. I’m talking about the design of your actual business. Not what it makes.
Business Design Is More Than How It Looks
Most marketers and small business owners will spend a lot of their time evaluating what are basic – but nonetheless superficial – design elements. The shape and color of your business logo. The typeface, image choice, and layout of the content of your website.
Sure, these are part of the design aesthetic of your business. But business design is so much more. It goes so much deeper.
Business design is the way you choose to describe what you do to customers, to partners, to the press, to your team. Whether you elect to talk about things like corporate mission and vision statements, how many staff and offices you have, and the use of industry jargon. Alternatively you could be talking about the particular problem your product or service solves for the customer, and how their lives are made better as a result of buying what you’re selling.
It’s about the flow, the presentation, and the content order of the training seminar that you’re about to deliver. It’s about the seating layout in the training room, and the level of ambient light. It’s about the quality of the microphone you’re using for your webinar, and the choice of sample files you’re using for your demon.
It’s a lot more than just the layout of the PowerPoint slides,
Business design is about the choice of words you choose to use on your pricelist, proposal, and customer invoice. It’s about how long you give customers to pay (and how long you take to pay your suppliers). It’s how an email enquiry is followed-up by your sales people, as well as how that compares to the responses given by your support people.
Customers Care About Business Design
Design is in the multitude of business processes we create. It’s the conversations we have with our colleagues, suppliers, partners and customers. Good design invokes a positive and emotional response. Perhaps it’s how the switchgear ‘feels’ in a BMW automobile, or how the airline upgraded you to Business Class when they screwed-up and overbooked the flight.
We have all been at the receiving end of bad design: Trying to reset the clock on the microwave oven, or talking with a salesperson who has no idea why this TV is better than that one. The problem today is that customers are less likely to tolerate what they perceive as being ‘bad business design.’ We used to blame ourselves when we couldn’t work out how to change the time on the clock in the car. Now we blame the manufacturer for making it too hard.
Anything and everything we create must, by default, have a set of stimuli that contribute, regardless in what level of capacity, to how the “object” is perceived.
Design is in everything that your organization does. Don’t underestimate it.