Business owners have so much to think about – and a nice looking logo, website, stationery and literature probably doesn’t come near the top of the list. This is a big mistake! Without customers you have no business – and without an attractive image those customers are going to be hard to find. Good design is not some kind of fluffy, feel-good, nice-to-have. It’s absolutely essential for your business success.
If you want customers, you need to start by getting their attention – if they don’t notice you, then you have no chance! This, however, is harder than you might imagine.
We now live in an era of “too much information”. How many emails, tweets, pop-ups, bits of junk mail, nuisance calls, posters, press ads and TV commercials are we exposed to in a day? In terms of sales messages alone, research estimates that the number is around 3000!
Each of us, including your potential customers, is punch drunk from all this “stuff” coming in at us. The only way to stay sane is to switch off and ignore most of it – so that’s what we do! As marketing expert Bernadette Jiwa has remarked, in today’s connected society “people are easier to reach, but harder to engage”.
So getting customers is tough. There are no easy answers, but good design, design that grabs attention, catches the eye and gets noticed, is a great way to start.
To get noticed you need to stand out from the crowd. That’s partly about being visually exciting, but it’s also about being different. Being different helps you grab attention. But, equally important, it helps you maintain it. People will only continue to pay attention if you continue to interest them, and to do that, it helps to come across as remarkable, unusual or unique.
Again, achieving this is difficult. Whatever market you are in, you have competitors. And the more competitors, the more likely it is that there will be others with exactly the same offering as yourself. They’re all shouting “buy me” and you are left shouting “me too!”…because that’s what you are, the same as them.
Here’s a slightly daft example to make the point. Go to the Tesco website and type “potatoes” into the search box. Last time I checked, there were 748 products to choose from (everything from simple baking potatoes to mini potato waffles and oven chips to Mexican wedges). Whatever the category, whether it’s law firms or life coaches, caravan parks or kitchen companies, it’s the same.
So what’s the answer? Great design! A good designer will make you look different, and in the mind of the customer that makes you different in reality – because perception is everything. People don’t have a lot of time or energy to go through a load of research in order to figure out whether you are truly different. If you look different, then that’s good enough for them.
OK, so good design will get you noticed. Good design will keep people interested in your offering, and help them remember you, by making you different. But can it increase the chances of them buying from you? Yes, absolutely!
We are much less logical than we like to think. We tell ourselves we make decisions based on sound reasoning. But in reality emotion plays a huge part. Here’s another slightly daft example. Getting married is a big life decision, but how large a part does logic play in the choice of partner? The truth is that the majority of people make decisions based on emotion, then justify it with logic. For instance, a used car is cheaper, but you’d like a shiny new one than nobody else has sat in. You justify buying the new one by telling yourself it has the latest safety features and the fuel economy is better on later models – but in truth the decision has already been made in your heart.
This is especially true in today’s marketplace. Following on from the previous point about differentiation, people have so much choice they feel utterly overwhelmed by “decision fatigue”. They just can’t be bothered to check out all the available options and weigh up all the different features and benefits – they just go with the one that “feels right”.
A well-designed brand, one that presents your offering in an attractive and appealing way, will make people “feel right” and choose you over the competition.
Paying a designer to create a great brand for you, one that gets you noticed, that helps you stand out from the competition and which hugely increases the chances of people becoming your customer, is one of the best investments you can ever make. Yes, it costs a little money, but the outlay is more than covered by the returns.
If you think you can’t afford good design, think again – bad design will prove so much more expensive in the long run.