All business decisions should be made with a simple thought in mind, will this add shareholder value and increase market share.
Likewise, all marketing decisions should be based with a similar thought, will this help the brand.
As sales forces change, products evolve and the company expands, the brand should remain the focus. Ultimately it is the brand you are building. A brand that customers will recognize. A brand that customers will trust. And hopefully a brand that helps complete the sale and can command a premium.
Your brand is your identity, your reputation, your image. It takes time to build a brand and all marketing efforts should contribute to the strength of that brand. Failure to do that will cause missed opportunities and increased costs down the line. Just as it is easier to sell to an existing customer than find a new one, it is easier to sell with a strong, recognizable brand than one that the customer doesn’t trust.
So the question is, do your marketing and sales efforts reinforce your brand or compete with it? If that brand doesn’t come first, than your company and your sales will never reach their full potential.
Are your marketing efforts focused? Does everything your company produces from product packaging to fax cover sheets support and enhance the your image? Do you present a cohesive appearance and message with all of your marketing efforts? If not, then you are wasting valuable dollars on materials and advertising that is not enhancing your core product; your brand.
Would a high-end faucet manufacturer that expected a premium for its products use a poorly designed and cheaply produced product brochure to market its products? Would a company that stressed its “green awareness” send out promotional products from non-recyclable plastics? Would a luxury real estate firm selling million dollar homes have a website that looked like a 5th grader designed it?
They might, but they all will fail to reach their market share potential and may irreparably hurt their brand with their misguided marketing efforts. Everything from the most expensive advertising piece to the simplest little note card should reflect the ideals and qualities you want your employees to exemplify and your customers to understand. Failing to do that leaves your customers and employees alike confused about your purpose and your company’s position in the marketplace.
Design is more than making something look good. Design is the process of enhancing your brand in a well-conceived and highly targeted manner that will help sell your company and its products. Good design is focused on your company’s mission and goals and will enhance your other marketing efforts, creating a cohesive message that is both synergistic and organic.
A good designer will not create a web site, business card, or product brochure for you without understanding your company and its mission, having first reviewed other marketing efforts you are currently involved in. And thus a good design will not feel out of place or unrepresentative of your company.
You should never have to apologize for your design, explain your marketing efforts or confuse your customer base. If you do, you don’t have good design.