Useful Design: The Link Between Acquisition And Obsession

Useful Design: The Link Between Acquisition And Obsession
SHARE
THIS



In this opinion piece, Luke Parry (pictured below) from Sydney digital design company Wilson Fletcher, says Aussie companies need to start fighting back from overseas competitors lining-up to nick their customers…

Gone is the time when companies had the advantage of being one of two competitors in a market, although those halcyon days are perhaps still skewing the perceptions of executive boards here in Australia. The ‘Lucky Country’ has been so lucky that its corporates became complacent, neglecting to adequately service customers. A horde of user-centric international companies and energetic startups are pillaging their customer base.

y0gxyue29vhjxplczk4i

In traditionally reactionary manner, many Australian organisations are currently devoting untold time and resources to innovation labs and transformation programmes. But to what end?

Companies seem to be prioritising their own strategic ambitions over the unmet needs of their past, present and potential customers. In order to make the transition from being used, to being useful, the missing ingredient is vision.

While the Aussie population is early-adopting in nature, its stock exchange is mostly banks and mining companies, and the corporate culture is notoriously unadventurous. There are limited traditional companies who have successfully transformed into truly user- centric organisations. But this doesn’t mean that they haven’t broken out of the outdated three-year strategic plan. 

As Jeff Bezos put it in 2011: “If everything you do needs to work on a three-year time horizon, then you’re competing against a lot of people. But if you’re willing to invest on a seven-year time horizon, you’re now competing against a fraction of those people, because very few companies are willing to do that.” 

Companies who implement design methodologies in order to define a strong vision and make users’ needs their strategic priority will be considerably more successful than those who don’t. You only need a quick look at the DMI Design Index to realise this. The crux of the issue is that the majority of the business world still sees design as an aesthetic undertaking, rather than a discipline that should be at the core of a corporate strategy.

Take 3M, for example. It’s an unassuming conglomerate with more than 75,000 individual products in market. While they have a fanatical Post-It following (our studios included), you wouldn’t expect them to be an experiential company. Yet in the early 2000s a young designer, Mauro Porcini (who later became Pepsi’s Chief Design Officer), convinced management to bring in revered design firm Pininfarina to design a multimedia projector. The new model was released and sales doubled. 3M has been integrating design ever since, having come to the realisation that the product and experience have become one and the same.

Organisations who are striving to attract customers don’t have to twist arms to get business through the door. Positive experiences become both marketing and retention. We all know why we use Uber; it’s easy, convenient and the customer is always right (and their customer service makes sure we’re rapidly told so).

In a homogenised market, outstanding customer experiences are the products and services designed with a view to being indispensable to users.

Product features, and even entire service propositions, are now a commodity, so the experience itself is the key to every customer’s heart; which is the all-important step towards a long-term relationship with their wallet. So what if a competitor is slightly cheaper? A well-designed experience makes your service more attractive.

In a homogenised market, outstanding customer experiences are those which make products and services as useful as possible, with a view to being indispensable to users. In order for that to happen, customer-centricity must be a strong foundation for company values.

Professor Rita McGrath’s research into the benefits of embracing ‘transient advantage’ over ‘sustainable competitive advantage’ has found that a company can stay ahead of the pack by rapidly creating concurrent new opportunities through increased fluidity and customer-centricity.

It is no longer sufficient to merely satisfy your customers. You have to be more considerate than this to secure your market. In the words of Mauro Porcini. “You surprise. You enter the sacred field of the magic, of the extraordinary, of the memorable.”

Spotify is a great example of a company that keeps their customers engaged. I’ll most likely be a lifelong paying user of Spotify because their incredible experience is highly useful to me, and I find it indispensable for discovering new music. No wonder, considering their design chief believes “music should feel effortless—there should be nothing between you and its enjoyment”. Their service goes beyond basic functionality by creating new usefulness.

Any pivot of the traditional Australian commercial sector to a design-focused one is something that will take significant effort from executive teams. What’s clear is that both design and business should be trying their hardest to create a fruitful relationship.

Customers deserve it. And companies need it.

Latest News

Women In Media Profile: Zeina Khodr
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Zeina Khodr

When B&T was offered to interview a lady named “Zeina”, we initially thought it was the warrior princess herself.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
39th AWARD Awards Winners Announced
  • Media

39th AWARD Awards Winners Announced

The winners of the 39th annual AWARD Awards were announced tonight in a celebration of the most outstanding creative communications work in the Asia Pacific region. The theme for the night was “Count Yourself Lucky” and didn’t disappoint with a record number of golds being presented. Held at Carriageworks as part of the Semi Permanent […]

Q&A With Cannes Chairman Terry Savage
  • Advertising
  • Media

Q&A With Cannes Chairman Terry Savage

If you mistakenly thought this was an interview with Kojak's Telly Savalas, as it turns out, it's even better than that.

Optus To Phase Out Virgin Mobile Brand
  • Marketing

Optus To Phase Out Virgin Mobile Brand

Didn't much fancy that Telstra story above? Well, perhaps B&T could tempt you with this tasty Optus tickler instead.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
AKQA R&D Teams Up With Google For Semi Permanent 2018
  • Media

AKQA R&D Teams Up With Google For Semi Permanent 2018

AKQA R&D in collaboration with Google has developed a process called Somesthetic Transfer. It uses machine learning to take both the style and texture of an artwork and apply it to another image to be 3D printed with a UV printer. The works will be displayed at Semi Permanent 2018 in Sydney from Thursday 24 […]

WPP’s Health & Wellness To Unveil ‘How Design Can Save A Life” For Vivid
  • Marketing
  • Media

WPP’s Health & Wellness To Unveil ‘How Design Can Save A Life” For Vivid

Design students from Torrens University’s Billy Blue College of Design have partnered with WPP AUNZ’s Health & Wellness division to decode clinical data on ‘Medicinal Marijuana in the Treatment of Epilepsy’. Their creative solutions will be presented at a Vivid Ideas Exchange titled ‘Design can save your life: how can creativity improve comprehension of health data?’ […]

Diversity Case Study Series: The Royals
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Diversity Case Study Series: The Royals

If you read one diversity case study on B&T today, make it this one. Not that there's any others to choose from, really.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Cricket Australia Finds New Major Sponsor
  • Marketing

Cricket Australia Finds New Major Sponsor

B&T was going to insert a homage to Sherbert's classic "Howzat" here before realising it was naff and showed our age.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
PHD Wins HSBC Global Media Account
  • Media

PHD Wins HSBC Global Media Account

ICYMI, PHD has FTW the HSBC business IRL. It's not so much a LOL or NSFW, but a TL;DR. Ahh, forget the whole thing.

InMoment Accelerates APAC Expansion With Key Acquisition
  • Media

InMoment Accelerates APAC Expansion With Key Acquisition

Customer experience (CX) intelligence platform, InMoment, has expanded into Australia and New Zealand with the acquisition of customer experience agency, brandXP and appointment of Claire Fastier as its APAC business head.

Marketers Need To Focus On Voice Search Right Now
  • Opinion

Marketers Need To Focus On Voice Search Right Now

In this opinion piece, Performics Australia performance content account director Steve Robinson (pictured below) dives into the hazy relationship between marketers and voice-activated technology. From settling family disputes, (“Hey Google, are fossil fuels really made from dinosaur bones?”) to running a household, (“OK Google, add toothpaste to my shopping list”), voice-activated systems are becoming more […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
SpotX Launches Online Resource Library For Publishers Seeking GDPR Guidance
  • Advertising
  • Media

SpotX Launches Online Resource Library For Publishers Seeking GDPR Guidance

Video advertising and monetisation platform SpotX has announced the launch of an online resource library for the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The library can be found on the company’s website and is part of a wider educational initiative by SpotX – which is headquartered in the US and has an office in […]

Daylight Agency Opens Government Division, Hires Legal & Political Expert
  • Marketing

Daylight Agency Opens Government Division, Hires Legal & Political Expert

Integrated communications firm Daylight Agency has cemented its presence in the government and political arena with the appointment of industry veteran David Begg. A practising solicitor for over 28 years, Begg (pictured above) will head up the agency’s new government division. He has extensive experience working with large commercial clients on high-profile regulatory and legal […]

Frost Design Unveils New Look For John Holland
  • Marketing

Frost Design Unveils New Look For John Holland

Frost Design has shown off its comprehensive rebrand of iconic Australian infrastructure and property business John Holland, based around the brand idea of ‘Transforming Lives’. John Holland CEO Joe Barr said Frost was the only branding business who understood that the impact of the rebrand was just as important internally as it would be externally, […]

Women In Media Profile: Jill Johnston
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Jill Johnston

We've got an absolute cracking Women in Media profile today. Not to say it's approved by the Chiropractors' Association.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama Dance Together at the Presidents Ball
  • Media

Netflix Secures Producer Deal With The Obamas

It seems former US president Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama aren’t quite done with the international spotlight just yet. The Obamas have officially signed a multiyear deal with Netflix, which will see the power couple producing films and series with the streaming giant. According to Netflix, “The Obamas will produce a diverse […]

How To Spot A Trend Versus A Fad
  • Opinion

How To Spot A Trend Versus A Fad

One need only view our editor's hot pink leg warmers today to realise he's neither fad nor trend.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Why Engagement Is The New Rule Of Content
  • Opinion

Why Engagement Is The New Rule Of Content

And why is B&T running a photo of an engaged couple for this content engagement article? It was either that or a carrot.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Fairfax Media Recruits 20 Trainee Journalists Across All Its Titles
  • Media

Fairfax Media Recruits 20 Trainee Journalists Across All Its Titles

Fairfax Media has today announced the recruitment of 20 trainee journalists to join the newsrooms of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Canberra Times, The Australian Financial Review, Brisbane Times and WAtoday. This represents one of Metro’s largest trainee intakes in years and underlines the commitment of the mastheads to fostering a new generation […]

Sydney Australia - November 7, 2011. An extreme close up of an American express card issued by the Australian bank Westpac.
  • Media

AMEX Launches Global Media Review

Are there not enough hours in the day? Are you cheek-by-jowl with your co-workers? Well, hopefully you won't win this.

Sydney Water & Republic of Everyone Create Vinyl Records Made Of Recycled Marine Plastic
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing

Sydney Water & Republic of Everyone Create Vinyl Records Made Of Recycled Marine Plastic

Sydney Water has pioneered a way to create records from marine plastics and, in doing so, encourage more people to join the movement of local clean-up groups rolling up their sleeves every weekend to clean plastics, litter and other pollutants from the city’s beaches and waterways. Plastics are collected by volunteers, then cut in pieces […]

Credit Card Compare Names Its First Head Of Marketing
  • Marketing

Credit Card Compare Names Its First Head Of Marketing

Aussie credit card comparison site Credit Card Compare has announced the appointment of Caroline Raffan as its inaugural head of marketing. Raffan (pictured above) has over 10 years’ experience in brand strategy, campaign development, digital marketing, events, public relations, content creation, market research, advertising, stakeholder management, social media marketing, and project management. She joins Credit […]

Why Programmatic Needs To Become A Branding Machine
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Opinion
  • Technology

Why Programmatic Needs To Become A Branding Machine

In this opinion piece, Phil Murrell (pictured below), country manager for Australia and New Zealand at Sizmek, argues that programmatic ad spend needs to move up the branding funnel. When I started in digital advertising way back in 2004, we got our media insertion orders via the fax machine. We relied on that machine to […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine