Enhancing business through design

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It happens sometimes. You come into contact with people who don’t see the value of good design and who don’t appreciate how effective design is borne out of consideration, understanding and research against a desired outcome. The words “it will do” make us shiver. It might ‘do’ but what will it do? It can give the wrong impression and totally undermine what a great organisation it really is. Not to mention losing itself in the crowd.

So let’s think about how a well executed design strategy can bring real return on investment. Recently Rosie and I were invited to the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards at The Tobacco Dock. It was a real pleasure to be in an environment where like-minded people understood that quality design is an undeniable weapon in any organisation’s artillery for meeting business objectives. The marketplace is hugely competitive and no one can afford to be complacent, one’s USP and unique DNA needs to be made distinct from everyone else jostling for first place in the queue. I felt rather proud to be part of an industry that does, actually, make a difference.

I could talk about plenty of brands but this is meant to be a blog and not a thesis. Therefore I call to mind one of my favourite foods to nibble on when peckish: a fruit yoyo by BEAR, the fastest growing brand in healthy snacking. It’s tasty, natural and I like bears to boot. The packaging is attractive, fun, friendly and colourful. http://www.bearnibbles.co.uk I was pretty pleased to find myself sitting a table away from the company’s founders (cue excited texting to my husband who shares the BEAR care) but what really made me happy was when they won the Gold Grand Prix award. Well-deserved. The two owners commissioned the creation of a family-focused dried fruit brand to make healthy, no-compromise snacking more accessible and more desirable. As a result the brand has seen rapid sales growth from £0 to £6.m in 3 years, beating the sales target by 30% and increasing stockists from 500 to 1,000. Now tell me they’d have achieved the same without good strategic and creative brains coming together to make something beautiful and successful!

That’s just one example from the awards but if you consider why brands such as Coke, Burberrys and iPhone are so successful it’s because they invest in brand expression. This is preceeded by a clear brand strategy aimed at targeting audiences via all available channels with a consistent face and voice, with the ultimate goal of increasing revenue and profits. That’s how a brand delivers against investment. That’s how a brand becomes a brand in the true sense of the word.

When I see a disparate brand it strikes me what a trick the organisation is missing and how much stronger they could be with a bit of help. It’s not always about spending big bucks but making the smaller bucks work harder. One of the biggest satisfactions of our work at CKD is turning something not quite joined up into a seamless story.