How Investing in Design Drives Profitable Returns

When invest­ing in the ser­vices of a design firm, you may ques­tion how that can tru­ly affect your bot­tom line. A tool often under­uti­lized by busi­ness man­agers, the val­ue of strate­gi­cal­ly using design is start­ing to become increas­ing­ly evi­dent – and measurable.

Design is a high­ly influ­en­tial force that, when effec­tive­ly inte­grat­ed with strat­e­gy, mar­ket­ing, and so forth, can help the com­pa­ny stay out in front of its com­peti­tors by stay­ing close to cus­tomers and com­mand­ing hand­some price pre­mi­ums.”  Jeneanne Rae, Har­vard Busi­ness Review


Here are just a few uni­ver­sal ways it’s show­ing up: 

Purchasing power and engagement are a result of supporting images and design

A study con­duct­ed by Motiv Strate­gies & The Design Man­age­ment Insti­tute track­ing the returns of com­pa­nies con­sid­ered to place big val­ue in design over those who did not yield­ed some eye-open­ing stats. They hand picked 15 design-cen­tric com­pa­nies — Nike, Apple, Star­bucks, Dis­ney, Intu­it, and Coca Cola among them — and found that their design invest­ment showed returns in faster growth and high­er mar­gins than their com­peti­tors who weren’t as design ori­ent­ed. That makes them very attrac­tive to investors, and cre­ates hap­py share­hold­ers, which then push­es their stock prices high­er. It’s well worth read­ing the details of the study on the Har­vard Busi­ness Review. 

Legal woes cost small busi­ness­es more than $100 bil­lion a year.” Ani­ta Camp­bell at Amer­i­can Express

Accord­ing to FTI Con­sult­ing, a Bal­ti­more advi­so­ry firm that tracks intel­lec­tu­al-prop­er­ty sta­tis­tics, about 3,500 trade­mark cas­es are filed in the US dis­trict courts EVERY YEAR.

Dan­ger­ous mis­takes can be made with­out a pro­fes­sion­al. One of the ways you can min­i­mize your risk is by hir­ing a design­er. They are very care­ful about copy­rights, as their liveli­hood and cred­i­bil­i­ty depends on it. They do their research and you ben­e­fit from that protection.

Then there is the emo­tion­al quo­tient, that invalu­able con­nec­tion, the “it” fac­tor that goes beyond facts and fig­ures. This is the intan­gi­ble, what cap­tures people’s imag­i­na­tions, gets under their skins and cre­ates desire — and need.  A great design­er does their best work in this area, striv­ing to under­stand how a per­son may feel/interact with the brand, draw­ing upon that as they cre­ate — and you reap those riches.

Authen­tic­i­ty is the val­ue that helps con­sumers believe in your brand promise.” Daniel Lubet­sky, CEO of KIND

Who has not gone search­ing web­sites for a prod­uct or ser­vice only to shut it down and click the next web­site based on a quick glance that com­mu­ni­cat­ed to your gut: Whoops — Not pro­fes­sion­al. Not big enough. Not impres­sive. And what was your reac­tion based on to make the judg­ment call to move on rather than linger in a mat­ter of sec­onds? The visu­als, the lay­out, the big print copy.  In a word — DESIGN!

80% of people remember what they see and do
55% of content creators plan to prioritize in creating visual content in 2016

Today’s heavy dig­i­tal traf­fic makes it easy to get missed by your market.

This is where the word strate­gic fac­tors in most. Don’t be invis­i­ble — or cap­ture the wrong audi­ence — due to improp­er design elements!

40% of people will respond better to visuals over text

Design­ers help clients assess what infor­ma­tion is impor­tant to con­sumers as well as the most effec­tive way to present it. In har­ness­ing the pow­er of col­or psy­chol­o­gy, com­po­si­tion, typog­ra­phy, a design­er will devel­op solu­tions for stand­ing out and strate­gic appli­ca­tion to deliv­er your mes­sage effec­tive­ly — with all impor­tant brand con­ti­nu­ity.

Is your com­pa­ny invest­ing in strate­gic design? How has this helped your brand? We’d love to learn!

About the Author

Nicte Cuevas, Principal of Nicte Creative Design, empowers mission-driven businesses through strategic design & branding. Nicte has applied this when working with Adobe Spark and Twitter Business, LinkedIn Learning, Dogs on Deployment and Purina, Girl Scouts, The Houston Zoo and The Contemporary Arts Museum. Her excellence in communication design & marketing has been recognized by multiple national / international awards, including a coveted feature in Graphic Design USA's People to Watch.

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