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March 19th, 2019

Beyond Branding to the Incorporation of Design

When properly deployed, design can turn your brand—a misunderstood word in many parts of a business—into one of your highest performing assets. Design is moving to the core of many businesses and design thinking is taking over the MBA school curriculum. It’s important to acknowledge that when properly harnessed, design—as a discipline and a process—can flow through every department of your organization. The experiences created through intentional design solutions can and will improve communication and break down silos that create confusion, controversy, conflict, and internal competition. And we all know that eliminating those four “C” words from your business can translate into market success and profitability.

We call it the design thinking nexus. It’s the confluence of people, business, technology, culture, and brand. When all are considered through a lens of discipline and a process that focuses on empathy, insights, and craft, the result can be a design-driven fidelity of brand. Measured by truth, transparency, authenticity, simplicity, and clarity. This design-led approach to your brand—its meaning, the value it creates, and the preference it commands—forces integration and a single focus on what it takes for your brand to influence positive behavior toward your organization and its products and services.

Design Thinking Nexus Illustration

Design thinking incorporates a process of understanding, creation, testing, and implementation. Developing your brand should incorporate the same process. Its purpose and foundation are first defined by research, to gather insights that inform the strategy and provide empathy. Next is ideation and visualization that is critiqued, tested, improved, and validated to a point of being able to manage implementation and deployment.

As CEO, you have a responsibility to make sure the organizational design allows for deliberate and purposeful integration as a reflection of brand fidelity. The multitude of brand touchpoints in an organization fall into three buckets:

  1. The Corporate Brand. The overarching representation of a corporation and the reflection of your business strategy manifested visually and verbally.
  2. The Employer Brand. Deeper and greater reflection of your core purpose, culture, and values, targeted toward current, past, and future employees.
  3. The Customer Brand. The outward expression of the brand to various constituents, as manifested through your products, services, marketing, and external relationships.

Integration through design allows your culture and process to be operationalized, allowing scalability without loss of integrity or purpose.

Brand isn’t a bad word. It just seems so until the sheer power of brand is understood. We believe that brand was always meant to be a reflection of intentional design, both as process and solution. When fully integrated, brand and design will convey your business’ purpose and goals through your brand strategy. It will positively influence cultural behavior toward your organization and its products and services, both internally and externally. The result? Your brand will become one of your highest performing assets. Through design.

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