Did you know that there are over 28 million small businesses in the United States? That means there are 28 million brands, 28 million business plans and 28 million products/services.
Those are high numbers to compete with, but with a competitive design strategy, you could set your company, or your client’s company, apart from the sea of others.
A successful design strategy is imperative to a business if they want their products or services to be seen by the world.
Whether you own a branding agency, work for a large scale design team or are trying to create a brand identity for your startup company, these tips are a surefire way to create a killer design strategy to impress all of your clients and customers.
What Is a Design Strategy?
Design strategy has an array of meanings to different people. What one person considers a design strategy might be completely different from another business owner or creative’s perception.
A design strategy is more than what a customer sees on the surface of a company. Instead, a design strategy is a creative process that merges a unique aesthetic with a company’s marketing strategy, brand goals, and business identity into one larger, multifaceted plan.
Think of your design strategy as a way to bridge the gap between policy and technique. Or, in other words, bridging the gap between the business aspect and the creative aspect of a company. Use this process to create a language that is specific to your business, or your clients’ business, that will allow you to convey your messages clearly and efficiently.
A design strategy will affect everything in your company from marketing to your employees to your actual product or services. So, it’s important to note that a design strategy shouldn’t be complex or overly meticulous. Instead, make it simple, flexible and actionable.
How to Develop a Design Strategy
There are a lot of moving parts involved in a successful design strategy. So, creating a unique design strategy that is specific to a single company can seem rather daunting when you’re just getting started. But, if you break this creative process down into smaller steps, the creation of a design strategy becomes much more manageable.
Prioritize Your Brand
Aligning your brand properly is essential in the creative development of your design strategy. Think about your business’s identity and how you can capitalize on your position in your industry.
What does your business stand for? Which aspects separates your business from the sea of others? What do you want customers and clients to know about your business? This is where you can create a unique language for your business that we discussed earlier.
It’s important to note that your brand is the intangible, representative aspect of your business. It’s not your logo, color scheme, website or aesthetic. This is where you get to build your customer’s confidence in your business.
Analyze Your Target Clients and Customers
You’re limiting your company’s potential if you’re selling your products or services to the mass sea of consumers as opposed to a targeted audience.
Take time to do conduct market research and create an avatar of your ideal client.
How old are they? Are they male, female or does your business appeal to both? What are their likes and dislikes? How much money do they bring in? Do they have kids?
The more specific you are with your target audience, the more efficient and productive the rest of your design strategy will be.
Identify Challenges and Ongoing Problems
You might be asking yourself why you would incorporate challenges into a successful design strategy. While it may seem counterproductive, identifying challenges and ongoing problems and working them into your design strategy will actually set your business up for success.
While some may face more than others, every business encounters challenges. By prioritizing these challenges and focusing on them on a day to day basis, you will allow yourself the opportunity to improve on those challenges over time.
Think of it as giving your design strategy a little tender loving care. And, who knows, maybe you’ll be able to eliminate a challenge altogether by giving it the time and dedication that it needs.
Focus on Communication Strategies
How are you going to relay your design strategy to your clients and customers? While some companies do well with visual communication platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, some companies thrive better by incorporating other communication methods into their design strategy.
LinkedIn, email marketing and website blogs are often essential in a strong communication campaign. The more platforms you incorporate into your strategy, the more versatile your communication methods will be. Thus, the stronger your design strategy will be.
But, it’s important not to get overzealous and dive right in the vast world of social media. Focus your time and energy on the platforms that will allow your company to thrive. Then take the time to build a strong website with plenty of content to improve search engine optimization.
Marketing, Advertisements, and Promotions
Now it’s time to gather all of the hard work you’ve put into your design strategy and get it out there for the world to see. Combine community outreach, Facebook Ads, direct mail, print advertisements, sponsorships, charity work and anything else your budget allows to get your message across.
Again, the more versatile your outlets are, the more exposure and business you will gain.
Don’t Forget to Measure
You can have the strongest design strategy for your business. But, if you forget to measure your results, all of your hard work can go right down the drain.
Use analytical measuring tools such as Google Analytics to track the successes and failures of your work. Such tools will give the intelligence you need to consistently improve on your strategy. This is an excellent way to identify the gaps in your design strategy so you can put the time and effort into filling them.
Create Your Own Design Strategy
As you can see, there is a lot of work that goes into a successful design strategy. But, with a little time, dedication and passion, your brand has the potential to be stronger than it ever has before. Remember to start slow and consistently improve on your strategy, as a successful design strategy isn’t something you cross off a to-do list.
Take a look at our blog for more tips and tricks to improve on the creative aspect of your business.