What is the value of creative design in your business? Rethink how you prioritise design and discover its potential to improve your marketing efforts…
Us humans are visual creatures. Hardwired to judge appearances, we make snap decisions about things based on those very first visual impressions. In fact, it is said that it takes a mere 0.05 seconds to form a design opinion. So, it makes sense that the visual – the creative, the design – has priority when it comes to your brand and marketing. After all, we know it matters. Yet so often it is missed.
Why the design of your 2021 marketing the last priority on your list?
Or why does it keep falling down there? For many businesses, the truth is that design’s value is simply not understood. Nor is it talked about. Nor is it implemented properly. Nor is it reviewed and measured correctly.
Simply, other things are deemed more important – from the numbers to the wording – and design comes in at the end as a ‘resource’ to make something happen. This cultural problem for many limits the creative potential of designers. Is it then any surprise that brands, campaigns and other marketing materials become stagnant?
So isn’t it time we prioritised design in your 2021 marketing?
Yes, of course. But to do that, we need to understand why it’s crucial – and how to ensure you prioritise it effectively. This is exactly what we are going to delve into in this blog post…
Understand why design is always a priority
Design input from the start of any marketing or branding project is key. Here’s why…
Drive conversion & generate leads
Let’s start with a real practical and tangible reason why design is so important. Quite simply, great design will work towards your goals – whether that’s lead generation or converting sales. Therefore, you can be creating a Facebook ad graphic or a printed poster, but your objective must always be clear – and it’s a designer’s job to make sure the user (your customer, client, prospect, target audience) can understand what to do, quickly.
For instance, allowing a designer to plan out conversion drivers as a fundamental part of a campaign’s visual elements will ensure better continuity. When a user can quickly act on something, they are more likely to convert – and the simple maths tells us that you’ll achieve better ROI.
Scrolling and scrolling and scrolling through social media, we see 100s of graphics per day. It’s hard to stand out, isn’t it? Because it’s not just a case of presenting your product, service, message or content and presuming your audience will see it. Instead, you need to cut through the noise – and, it is so noisy out there!
When you give designers the freedom to innovate, they will push your visuals forward and give you a unique identity. They will strive for better individuality to ensure the right people notice you. Perhaps that’s why companies that encourage creativity achieve 1.5 times greater market share – according to Adobe.
Elevate your brand
Your brand should constantly evolve. Never think of it as a finished product. Instead, think of it as something that grows with you as a business. When you prioritise design, you give creative freedom to flex a well-understood boundary.
For example, at Starbots Creative, we always push our clients into small – but progressive – steps with their branding. This produces itself in many ways, but perhaps the most obvious example is social media content. Because if our designers pumped out the same social assets for our clients every month, would our clients’ audiences get bored? Probably. And a disengaged audience is bad news and can damage your brand reputation.
So what do we propose? Allow our designers to constantly evolve your brand to ensure you’re always rising above. It may be subtle tweaks here and there, but we’ll make changes based on data, facts and simply our creative intuition (because that’s something we never take for granted!).
Reinforce campaign messaging
Coming up with your campaign messaging is so important. Usually whittled down to a key sentence, you know what you want to say to your target audience – but how do you say it?
Of course, it’s easy to say, “that’s the copywriter’s job!” or assume it’s all in the content. But that’s only a portion of it. When you ask your graphic designer how to reinforce messaging across the whole of a campaign, you bring the creative together – the content, the copy and the design – to stand a better chance of achieving a consistent, clear visual that communicates your message.
It’s not about giving priority to designers over copywriting. Instead, it’s about providing equal priority and optimum opportunity for creative disciplines to come together and work wonders on a campaign.
Take a look at our Digital Scribbles project – Loops, an eco-friendly apparel brand – that demonstrates how design effectively communicates the messaging of conscious living being aligned with conscious fashion.
Finally, great design ultimately allows you to be more efficient with your marketing and communications. How? Well, professional design will ensure that your branding or individual campaign design elements synchronise, meet objectives, and stand out to the right people: your target audience.
With any professional brand, you’ll start with a template – informed by your branding guidelines. This acts as a platform so you can professionalise everything that you put out there. Without this you are ‘guessing’ at design; like starting from scratch every time you go to ‘create’. However, a professional design approach will have a brand mapped out and know exactly what the remits of a brand are and how to push it to communicate your message. Overall, this saves time – and therefore works towards optimising your ROI.
6 ways to achieve better design in your 2021 marketing
Now that we understand why design is so vital in your marketing plans, what can you practically do to ensure its success?
1. Be clear on your target audience
When working with designers, ensure they know exactly who your target audience is. This will usually come down to your brief. The more informative you can be, the more likely the graphic designer is to tap into that customer persona to create a personalised design to the people you need to reach out to, engage with or convert.
2. Be clear on your objectives
Much like the above, this is an important part of briefing in any designer – whether internal or part of a creative design agency. If you want the campaign to encourage people to sign up to an online course, be sure your designer knows this vital information. Never assume they do as it can be costly in the overall marketing process.
3. Allow time
When planning a campaign, it’s not always about involving the graphic designer at the initial stages. Naturally, you will start with top-level strategy, messaging and then content. Design tends to follow from there.
However, what you can do is allow your designer opportunity to comment, ruminate and have a voice – and for this, you must allow time. This way copywriters, designers, content marketers, digital marketers and anyone else involved can come together effectively to hammer out a campaign that has maximum impact.
4. Think more than ‘how it looks’
Steve Jobs once said, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”. Never was a truer word said when it comes to delivering marketing campaigns. At the end of the day, it has to be functional.
By working with graphic designers who understand this concept – like us! – you’ll not only achieve something that looks great, but something that achieves your goals.
5. Trust graphic designers’ expertise
You could come up with the best idea in the world and tell your designer that you want them to make it happen. Sometimes it works. Often it doesn’t.
Remember that a designer is immersed in the creative. They are inspired on a daily basis and the reality is they will have a better understanding of what design will truly work for your product or service. So, instead give them your trust – let them show you their ideas.
6. Measure your design success
When it comes to your digital marketing, you can measure the impact your design has – to a large extent. From A/B testing a Facebook ad graphic to measuring a video’s view count, there are many things you can do.
Unlock your brand’s potential with stand-out design in 2021
The key takeaway from this blog is ‘profitable creativity’ – which we touched upon in our last blog: 2021 marketing predictions.
Remember how make or break your branding or marketing campaign can be depending on your design efforts. This success (or lack of) directly impacts your bottom line. And when you think of it like that, it makes perfect sense to elevate ‘the creative’s’ status in graphic design – and take it seriously.