What happens to design during difficult economic times?

From The Pro Designer

It is often the case that design is the last thing companies are thinking about during and economic downturn; even though this is something that could really benefit a company in the long-run.  Those companies who fail to see themselves as a brand miss a really chance to bring a lot of benefit to their company.

If a company wants to connect with an audience then it must excite and inspire them. These days the customers are part of a global market and then get their products from practically anywhere in the world. In order to add value to your product or service you must have a brand that educates, builds, drives, informs, grows, and creates demand.

If a company has a good design it can give them a strategic edge over rivals. A design can influence the value you give your customer and determine the position of your brand. It can help you to rise above the competition by adding value and weight to your brand. Design must be an important part of your business strategy no matter what the size of your company.

How does design benefit a company?

Studies have demonstrated that all the most successful companies understand the importance of good design and give it an important role in the continued growth and development of their company. These companies can see how design can benefit every aspect of their company from product design to branding. Other studies have found that as much as two-thirds of companies witnessed a direct link between their increased sales and focus on design.

During difficult economic times, design can work well to create opportunities for businesses by increasing their market share, and opening up new markets. They are able to set themselves apart from other companies and add value to their price. They can even reintroduce outdated products by repackaging them and giving them a new branding.

Developing credibility and gaining loyalty is really imported for the success of a company. It takes a long time to build these qualities but it is these that help a company make it through rough economic times.  When customers are worried about money they are less willing to take a chance and will tend to choose a reputable company that they can trust.  Large companies are able to do this by investing large amounts of money into advertising. The way the small company does this is by telling the customer the story behind their brand, and by building a strong relationship with the customer through communication.

Is your brand strong?

The unfavorable economic climate that we currently live in means that it is vital that your brand remains strong.  When a brand is weak companies will need to offer price reductions and offer promotions in order to create interest; price is the only value where they can compete.  On the other hand, a strong brand is able to weather the storm. The competition may be afraid to invest money in branding so this is a great opportunity to reinforce your brand, and increase its strength and recognition.  You should really seize this opportunity to get ahead of the competition.

The different elements that will distinguish you as a strong brand

Personality of your brand

If your brand is strong it will have its own clearly defined, unique personality. You need to decide how you want your customer to think and feel about the brand and you then need capture this. This personality will determine how your company expresses itself. Your personality will be the thing that causes people to remember your brand and it will be your means of connecting with the customer.

Creating desire for your product

Connecting with your audience is what a strong brand is all about. If you want to increase the demand for your product then you need to connect with the customer’s hopes and aspirations. The way that companies do this is through their branding.

Differentiating yourself from the competition

If your brand is strong it will stand out from the competition. You will add value to your brand if you can demonstrate what makes your product special or unique.

Authentic brands

A strong brand represents itself honestly. Your brand should never promise things that it can’t deliver and that it sounds believable. If you are honest you will gain trust from the customer.

Consistency within your brand

For your brand to be strong it needs to consistently be represented in the same manner. This means not swapping and changing styles, so that people fail to recognize your company’s personality; things like tone, typefaces, and colors. You can still be creative, but you need to do this within the company’s framework.

Repetition of the brand

Your brand should be seen constantly by any customer or potential customer.  You must continually reinforce your brand through whatever means possible using things like newsletters, brochures and questionnaires.  You need to ensure that any communication from your company to the world is branded.

What should you do next?

In order to build the strength of your brand you should use the information provided above and examine which areas you can improve upon. If your brand is strong then it will mean that you will not only compete well now, but also in the years to come. Your brand needs to transform and grow along with your company as it transforms and grows. This is something that needs to be evaluated regularly.

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