Importance Of A Design Strategy For A Brand In India

Deepa Bachu, Co-Founder & CEO, Pensaar.Headquartered in Bengaluru, Pensaar is an innovative design strategy and innovation consulting firm that uses collaborative and human-centred approach to design thinking and creates rich and insightful experiences by design.

A customer is four times more likely to defect to a competitor if the problem is service related than price or product related; even more so in India, where new markets are being created every day. There is a frequent need to assess your relevance in a dynamic, ever changing environment. What successful brands are doing right is delivering awesome experiences that give them a leg up in the game. Customer experience is the new frontier for brands looking to leave a mark on their target audience.

The right strategy allows you to have a competitive advantage over your peers. In a rapidly evolving landscape where brands are clamouring for market share, it is becoming increasingly difficult to hold on to that advantage. There is a need to not just stay ahead but stand apart from the competition.

To do so, organisations need a tactical shift in the way they approach challenges and pursue innovation that will set them apart from the rat race. Innovation today is increasingly dependent on creating products or services that deliver awesome customer experiences. Solutions take a deeper look into problems that are plaguing customers and truly attempt to solve them.

Who are these customers? People who experience your product, be it consumers, enterprises, internal employees and more importantly, stakeholders involved in the decision making process. It is crucial for the process to be inclusive and empathetic of everybody to understand if there is an alignment in what companies are looking to achieve.

While India is a hot bed for intellectual property and startups, there is also the alarming global statistics of 90 percent startups failing. It is not for lack of a great idea but for lack of the right product-market fit. Who really is it solving for? Is there really a problem at all that it is addressing? Fall in love with the problem and not the solution.
A design strategy allows companies to determine what to make and do, why they should do it, and how to solve for it immediately and in the long run. Enter Design Thinking; there is ample proof to show that it has led to new business lines being created, innovation and even disruptions in markets. Companies like Intuit, SAP, 3M, Air bnb, P&G and GE give credit to design thinking having changed the way they do business.

Design thinking has led us to enable financial organizations to function at double speed so as to innovate consistently, enable a global consumer & industrial product company to innovate keeping in mind changing landscapes, and initiate cultural change in companies with long standing traditions.

Allow wild ideas to come forth and hold back on judgement. Unrestrained, ideas flow freely and allow yourself to go broad and be creative with them.

The making of a good design strategy asks the following questions and a process we steadfastly follow in designing strategy is our framework of insight, dream and disrupt. Insight begins with deep customer understanding followed by a dream to explore multiple ideas before narrowing down and finally disrupting where we rapidly iterate with customers to arrive at the best solution.

What to Make & Do?
Insight: Empathy is at the heart of good design. It allows us to put aside our biases and understand how other people experience things. This requires going out there and connecting with your end users and every stakeholder involved. Building deep empathy leads to non-obvious insights. These insights shed light on needs and should motivate you to do some thing; insights that inspire innovation.

Why Do It?
Define: Define the right problem to be solved from the point of view of the users. Arriving at insights enables the definition of a meaningful and actionable problem statement. It puts us in the users’ shoes and brings about clarity and focus as to why it needs to be done.

How to Solve for It?
Dream: Allow wild ideas to come forth and hold back on judgement. Unrestrained, ideas flow freely and allow your self to go broad and be creative with them. Combine ideas to build on them and narrow down to top ideas.

Disrupt: Rapidly prototype and test in order to increase your chances of success. Identify key assumptions surrounding the idea and develop a rough, working prototype to explain your ideas and start to test them with end users. It is an iterative process of incorporating feedback and solidifying the solution while still keeping the user at the heart of your solution.

Design thinking is a structured, human centred approach to innovation and strategy. The key tenet of design thinking is that all design starts with and is built around solving a problem. What determines if the product will be successful or not is whether it solves to the satisfaction of the end user; not just meet customer expectation but also beat it.

A good brand strategy always has the customer’s problem at the core of its function. The reason for a brand or a business to continue to thrive is if it is continuing to stay in tune with its users and constantly adapting to changes around them. What will set you apart from the competition is kicking it up a notch by delivering customer experiences that are awesome by design.