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The Role of Design in Marketing

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Design plays a large role in the marketing efforts of most businesses. Good design can have a significant impact on your business. Design can help you attract and retain customers, showcase distinctive features, abilities or services and most importantly, build your brand into an easily recognizable presence. Read our tips below for effectively integrating design into your business.

Understanding Design 

The business community has had a complicated history with design. This is in part because there are many different kinds of designers and many different approaches to design. Some look at it as an aesthetic concern while others see it as creative problem-solving. Increasingly, businesses have discovered the vital role quality design can play in helping them achieve their goals. 

Integrating Design into Your Business

The role of design in your business can be as narrow or as broad as you decide. The level of engagement you choose will have a direct relation on the impact of the results. However, not every business has a large enough budget or a pressing need to hire a consultative design team. 

For small businesses the role of design can be quite basic: establish a visual and verbal framework for the brand, a brand identity system that helps present your organization's USP (Unique Selling Point) while also distinguishing it from the competition.

Increasingly, businesses are in need of imagery to support their brand. This is partly due to the increase of technologies such as smartphones, tablets, etc. that bring your business into the hands of customers, existing and potential, wherever they may be. For your business to compete effectively in the digital space, you'll want to look at all your options from the use of flat graphics, illustration or stock photography, to hiring a photographer to help you establish your own photo library. 

Choosing the Right Designer

The first step in selecting a designer is to be clear about your needs and to consider your resources. If you have an in-house designer or design staff, their role is going to be very different than hiring an outside designer who may or may not act as a consultant for your business, helping you to set goals, identify problems and provide creative solutions. An in-house person or team should have a deep understanding of your organization and its priorities. The value of hiring an outside design team can be in their fresh perspective. As they learn about your business they may be able to bring insight and understanding from their experience that helps you see your challenges and opportunities differently and more clearly.

One of the most important factors in choosing a designer is finding someone, or a team, that you are comfortable spending time with and speaking to openly. The more your designer knows, the more empowered they are to help you find effective solutions.

Be sure to check out the other resources in this series. So far, we've taken a look at the communications and marketing process with an overview that helps you set goals, form a team, define responsibilities and establish a schedule. We've also taken a look at branding and its importance for helping people understand the nature of your enterprise. Next we spent some time focusing on messaging and how an editorial calendar can help your organization consistently and effectively communicate to key audiences. And from there we spent some time thinking about how to effectively reach out and get your message to your target audiences efficiently.

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