Improving a Brand’s Bottom Line Through Good Design

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Written by Anthony Del Gigante

Whether you’re looking at a product, a package, or even a website, good design is able to uplift the senses, inspire powerful emotions, and even encourage action.

There’s another important impact of design, however, that’s often overlooked in university design and marketing programs: the impact that design can have on a brand’s bottom line.

Our design experts here at MDG Advertising created an educational infographic, Why Good Design Matters for Businesses, which outlines how and why good design has a measurable impact on a company’s bottom line.

The Case for Prioritizing Design

Researchers at McKinsey & Company recently analyzed the performance of 300 publicly traded companies to determine whether design added value to the company’s bottom line. The analysis found that the companies in the upper tier, in terms of design, impressively outperformed their competitors. For example, brands that prioritized design averaged revenue growth that was about one-third higher than their competitors—and shareholder return that was more than 50% higher. The researchers also concluded that the correlation between good design practices and improved performance wasn’t limited to a single industry or type of firm. Design-focused firms surpassed their peers across a wide range of industries, including banking, medical technology, and consumer packaged goods.

Why Does Design Matter?

At this point, you may be asking yourself, “Why does design matter to a brand’s bottom line?” While focusing on creating good design offers a lot of advantages, these benefits appear to have the most direct impact on a brand’s bottom line:

Design Is Integral to Branding: Design helps to establish a brand’s identity, communicates what the brand represents, and distinguishes it from the competition. To be effective, a brand must be original, consistent, and targeted to the desired consumer demographic. When you think of top brands, such as Apple or McDonald’s, you instantly think of a certain experience, such as how the product functions, looks, smells, or even tastes. This meshing of design, branding, and consumer experience can translate to significant business value. For example, tech giant Apple has an estimated business value of $214 billion, and beverage icon Coca-Cola has an estimated value of $66 billion.

Design Communicates Quality and Authenticity: The majority of consumers form an opinion of a company based on design elements, such as its logo, color scheme, and packaging. This is especially true for consumers who engage with a brand online. For example:

 75% of consumers judge a brand by its website design.
 The average consumer assesses and formulates an opinion about a company’s website within 50 milliseconds.
 55% percent of consumers spend 15 seconds or less on a company’s website.

Design Has the Power to Make Every Service, Product, or Consumer Experience Better

Don Norman, who’s widely considered to be the architect of modern user experience design, believes that good design will make consumers happy on three levels:

1. On a visceral level, all of the elements of a brand’s design should work together to create a favorable first impression.
2. A brand’s design should create a consumer experience that’s intuitive and enjoyable.
3. All the elements of a brand’s design should reflect the larger meaning or story that’s being conveyed.

What Are the Fundamentals of Good Design?

Which design best practices can brands incorporate to maximize the positive impact on their bottom line? During its analysis, McKinsey found the following trends among top-performing companies:

The Use of Quantifiable Metrics: The most successful companies set design-performance goals, use objective metrics to measure progress toward those goals, and modify strategies as necessary based on the firm’s performance.

The Elimination of Silos: Design is not the sole responsibility of the design and marketing team. Everyone involved in the development, implementation, execution, and evaluation of a design should be included in the design process and held accountable.

Ongoing Assessment and Refinement: Creating a design for a brand is not a one-off process. Successful firms continually reassess and refine their design and branding elements and strategies.

Good Design Focuses on the Customer: Exceptional design isn’t what you as a designer or marketer thinks looks good. It must consider the needs, wants, and preferences of the consumer. The late Steve Jobs famously said, “It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

Remember, consumer-focused design has the power to make each facet of a company better—which is what ultimately adds value to the business’s bottom line.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Anthony Del Gigante, Chief Creative Officer at MDG Advertising
Anthony Del Gigante is chief creative officer at MDG Advertising, a full-service ad agency in Brooklyn, New York and Boca Raton, Florida. Over the years, his unique talents in brand strategy, visual identity development, and brand activation have consistently delivered measurable results for a wide range of world-renowned clients, including American Express, Verizon, AbbVie, and Cushman Wakefield. A brand specialist, Anthony leads MDG’s creative development, working with clients to develop creative, strategic, and functional solutions for their brands.