Design : At what point does it’s value outweigh cost to the client?

It’s always interesting to me to meet business owners. What I try to gauge is their attitude towards design and their perception of the value of it.

In these increasing hard economic times if a potential client is gonna have one main objection it would be cost. When this situation arises (which is almost every project these days) what I do is try to educate the possible client about what they are actually getting for their money.

The main issue is that alot of business owners see design and marketing as a non-essential spend. When in reality it’s one of the 3 things that are keeping their business trading. After all without marketing and brand awareness potential customers won’t know the company is out there anyway.

What is very disappointing is that nearly all business owners don’t really value design or what it does to help their business make more money, grow and be more successful.

What’s even more terrifying is that they then roll out the stock phrase “my 16yr old can do that”

Really?? Seriously really??

So a 16yr old can provide the same unique solution as a person or company that has won creativity awards, that has an international reputation, that works with the largest brands on the planet, that has case studies coming out of their arse proving how great they are and what they have achieved for clients.

I don’t think so.

At best the ‘gifted amateur’ excuse for not employing the professionals is extremely ignorant and at the very worst it’s totally insulting to the professional creative person or company whose dedicated their life, passion, heart and soul to creating the best work possible.

So what do I do in this situation? I say one thing… “ok, we’re probably not the right company for your business yet. I suggest you use your 16yr old genius and when he screws up (which he will) maybe then we can talk proper business”.

To be frank, my company never works with that type of client - period.

From experience I’ve found that any business that buys creativity and ideas purely on price are not worth dealing with as the relationship is one of master and slave. E.g. You’ll get the odd crumb thrown at you but boy are you going to have to work all week for it.

The question I ask these businesses is “are YOU prepared to work for nothing?”. Because if YOU aren’t then why the hell should someone who creates bespoke ideas that make alot of money for your business have too?

Contact me to find out more about finding about value with design :

Pete Burrows, Owner, Design & Creative Marketing Visionary @ SO we create.

e hello@sowecreate.com linkedin : http://uk.linkedin.com/in/peteburrows
twitter : @SOwecreate

#Google rebranding?
As it appears Google is becoming more like a photocopying brand these days due to their lack of innovative internal culture and copycat approach (Apple : IOS, iPhone, Apple tv, iTunes and probably soon some sort of tablet pc that will look exactly like the iPad) to unique market changing companies like Apple and Facebook (google+ = facebook look and feel) we thought that google needed a slight repositioning of their brand to reflect the non-innovative culture and borrowed values of this global brand failure.
We looked into the major photocopier brands and the brand values of these businesses and decided that there was a commonality with Xerox, the world’s largest supplier of photocopiers (no offence to Xerox - but your brand is actually very good and is an honest brand with integrity and highly perceived customer value).
So we are very proud to show to you our interpretation of the new Google brand for 2012 ;)

#Google rebranding?

As it appears Google is becoming more like a photocopying brand these days due to their lack of innovative internal culture and copycat approach (Apple : IOS, iPhone, Apple tv, iTunes and probably soon some sort of tablet pc that will look exactly like the iPad) to unique market changing companies like Apple and Facebook (google+ = facebook look and feel) we thought that google needed a slight repositioning of their brand to reflect the non-innovative culture and borrowed values of this global brand failure.

We looked into the major photocopier brands and the brand values of these businesses and decided that there was a commonality with Xerox, the world’s largest supplier of photocopiers (no offence to Xerox - but your brand is actually very good and is an honest brand with integrity and highly perceived customer value).

So we are very proud to show to you our interpretation of the new Google brand for 2012 ;)

Source:

Inspiration 4 : The Spoke less Carbon Bike

Spokes? What spokes? 

Here’s an Italian concept bike that shatters the image of a traditional bike – cause this one sacrifices all that’s heavy in the name of carbon-based attributes. Designed by the Industrial Design Department of Alberto Del Biondi – a designing house from Italy – the concept bike is truly ‘fantastico’. 

As seen from the form, this Italian concept is truly state-of-the-art, and similar is the case with the proposed materials for its construction. This minimalist design uses latest materials and bases the entire frame on carbon. Geometrical proportions of the ‘premium city bike’ look great and keep the structure simple and pleasing to the eye. Apart from that, Biondi has focused on reducing weight to make the bicycle attractive for the commuters in the city.

Usability

This concept is high on style and is therefore appealing to the chic, green crowd of the city. Reducing weight and promoting strength through innovative form and materials, it can also lure the hardcore bicyclists.

The average ROI (return on investment) on £100 spent on design by a business is £225

Pete Burrows, Owner, Design & Creative Marketing Visionary @ SO we create.

e hello@sowecreate.com / linkedin : http://uk.linkedin.com/in/peteburrows

Tips for your business for getting the best out of design and creative companies

  1. Don’t do it yourself or use the ‘gifted amateur’ Use the professionals, it will save you alot of time and money in the long term and you will get a better end result that exactly addresses your business needs!
  2. Don’t buy design or creative services based on price only!
  3. Always have a realistic budget and a rough idea of your objective in mind before contacting the creative company
  4. Be open to new ideas and innovation!
  5. Don’t try to control the creative process - trust the professionals!
  6. Design isn’t vanity - it’s about helping and benefiting your business and making it more successful!
  7. Always think about the value that creativity will add to your business
  8. How do you know if you have the right creative company working for your business? : simple! - Great creative companies will want to find out about your business - bad ones won’t!
  9. Value the expertise, experience, knowledge, skills and specialisms that is there to make your business more successful
  10. Enjoy the experience of working with creative people - it’s very rewarding!

Pete Burrows, Owner, Design & Creative Marketing Visionary @ SO we create.
e hello@sowecreate.com / linkedin : http://uk.linkedin.com/in/peteburrows

Mobile phone concepts

I can only say two words “absolutely outstanding”.

Always amazes me when the world’s talented creative people are given total freedom to explore and create without commercial or business influences interfering with the pure creative process.

Top tips on creative thinking as a powerful business tool

What is the first thing that comes to mind in response to ‘creativity?’

For most people it is probably ‘art’ or something similar, it is probably never ‘business.’ 

Creativity is not simply the preserve of the designer. It is something built into everyone, even the businessperson! Thinking creatively is a powerful business tool that can help businesses exploit new opportunities and solve problems, all of which can result in improved profitability. 

The question is how can we break through the clichés to benefit our business? This in essence is what creative thinking is about - it is the process of finding new perspectives and developing new thinking. 

Change the question! 

As cliché thinking limits us, it is important to find new ways of looking at problems within a business. Broadening and rephrasing a problem is an important tool. For instance, a business problem might be expressed as “we cannot cover our costs,” which leads to a demoralising cost cutting exercise. If you broaden the problem into: “we are not making enough money to cover our costs,” this leads to a restatement such as: “how can we make more money?” A whole set of optimistic questions then emerge to help deal with the situation. Broadening and rephrasing problem statements are powerful cliché breaking actions.

'Object forcing' method helps you to think outside the box 

Having a good problem statement starts the process but sometimes it is difficult to generate new thinking. ‘Object forcing’ is one of a number of tools that helps to initiate and maintain creative thinking. 

The idea is to take any object and consider how that object might affect the solution. Fun ideas are encouraged because the exercise is about generating new thinking. 

Problem: The company is using too many elastic bands. 

Unrelated object: A crab! 

What solution could the crab create? 

You can look at the characteristics of the unrelated object and see how they may affect the situation, for example, the crab has an armoured shell - so the elastic bands could be kept in a secure container. 

'Object forcing' is most effective in a brain-storming mode, but remember not to evaluate or criticise ideas until the session is completed. The ideas can then be reviewed and developed, and associations can be investigated. Remember, this is not simply about the ideas that arise from object forcing; it is about breaking the cliché. You can develop fun new ways of looking at problems that energise your workforce and stimulate creativity. 

Try the above techniques for approaching new opportunities within your business. Who knows, your business may become the next Google. 

Inspiration 1 : The calendar coffee cup

The Creation Gallery in Ginza, Tokyo, has an exhibition at the end of each year where they ask a couple of hundred designers from around the world to design or decorate a product. This coffee cup calendar was designed by Takeshi Nishioka.

Could a paper wine bottle design really work?

Came across this in design week, a UK design news magazine. It’s a very interesting problem that could be solved by clever design.