Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"Advertising is the price companies pay for being un-original."

I don't know who authored this quote, but I found it in this video of a presentation Yves Behar gave at TED about the need for design to create products that tell a story.

I believe all great brands tell a story. Advertising has always been a powerful way to weave a brand narrative. But the process of storytelling should begin with the design of the product itself and be carried through all points of contact. Design shouldn't be used as a shortcut to make average ideas look better. True of products. True of advertising.


Design should be used to solve business problems by creating product solutions from the customer's point of view. A good example is the way Target rethought its pill bottles to help customers sort out the jumble of bottles in the family medicine cabinet, and by doing so Target created a differentiated idea for its pharmacy business.

Design isn't limited to physical products. It can help create a better customer experience. Jyske Bank in Denmark set out to attract more customers, a brief we've all seen before. Instead of free toasters, viral films and more advertising, Jyske Bank opted to rethink the banking experience from the customer's point of view. They manifested their various savings and checking services as physical "products" to make them tangible and clear and evoke an emotional connection. They created that special "third place" -- a haven that is neither home or work -- that has been the secret sauce behind Starbucks' success. The result? Ad Age reported that Jyske Bank doubled its customer base in one year by improving loyalty while attracting new customers. Take a look at this video. It's a stunning case study and a good way to brush up on your Danish.

Design as a business discipline is even emerging as a potential alternative to the traditional MBA, witness Stanford's so-called D-School.


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