Last weekend I visited a Ducati/BMW motorcycle shop with my father-in-law. The Ducatis blew me away! I’ve seen a Ducati bike on the road here or there, but I’ve never been close enough to really take the time to appreciate their exquisite design. Just by looking at the bikes, I could see that there was careful thought and planning behind each every piece. For a moment I had in my head, a picture of an Italian designer/engineer pondering over a tiny screw and it’s impact on the design of the bike.
While we were in the shop a man came in to check and see if his bike had come in yet. Apparently there is a waiting list at the store for Ducati bikes, because I heard one of the employees tell him that he moved to number 20 on the list. I did some further research when I got home and found that this is normal at just about any Ducati store in America.
So why are these Italian bikes in such demand here in the USA? It’s their superior design. As Paola Antonelli, the Museum of Modern Art curator stated during the recent TED2007 conference, “…in Italy design is normal.” Though some believe that design is an unnecessary attribute to make products and brands simply look nice, design can and should be much more than that.
Like the Ducati bikes, design (in corporate function) should be meticulously planned. It should be in direct line with the values of the company or product. Design should communicate a message, your message.
One of the best go to examples on the importance of design is the recent success of department store Target. They did a 180Ëš and changed the foundation of their business model from an average discount store mentality to a motto of “Design for All.” Their success stems from their introduction of designer product lines at a price that the average consumer can afford. Currently, Target carries product lines from famous designers such as Issac Mizrahi, Mossimo, Liz Lange, Sonia Kashuk, Thomas O’Brien, Rachel Ashwell, Sean Conway, Amy Coe, Michael Graves and Victoria Hagan. Since implementing this change of mind, Target has received an overwhelming acceptance from consumers and their stock prices are still on a steady rise.
One of my most favorite authors, Malcolm Gladwell, reveals in his most recent book, Blink, how consumers, often unknowingly, place an overwhelming importance upon the appearance of product packaging. Gladwell states that consumers transfer sensations or impressions that they have about the packaging of a product to the product itself. This finding proves the importance that of making sure that packaging is aesthetically pleasing and accurately communicates the intended message to consumers. This knowledge should be applied across chasms in all forms of corporate design, branding, and marketing. Peelers, here are 4 useful ways that you can use the tool of design to your advantage:
- Simplify Complex Ideas
- Improve Aesthetics
- Improve Function
- Stand Out from the Crowd
Related Links: John Jantsch, small business owner and author of Duct Tape Marketing, recently posted on the importance of knowing good design. It will be worth your while to check it out. Email marketer, Chris Baggott discusses branding in web 2.0 world. Canadian Marketing Blog poses the question, The Branding Process: Is it Art or Science?