The difference between a great product and merely a good product is that a great product embodies an idea that people can understand and learn about—an idea that grows in their minds, one they emotionally engage with.
Unless you have a strong idea that pervades the way it looks, the way it operates, the way it’s communicated, how it’s branded and how people identify with that brand, the product is not complete, because all of these things go into making a great product which becomes a great business.
Great brands have loyal customers that are connected to the brand in a deep emotional way. That is what great design does, it can make people love your company.
Using design to manage the customer experience supply chain is how you get to matter in a way that really counts. Design is such a fundamental part of our lives today. You may not be fully aware of it, but people surround themselves with design that speaks to them and their lifestyle.
Understanding great design for the average person may not be obvious if you asked them to point out what they thought was good or bad, but it becomes apparent on a subconcious level when they have an experience with the product. Great design is transparent to the user because it just works, it makes life easier and they feel good about buying it. Bad design comes and goes, is often frustrating, confusing or simply not what it promised to be.
Great design is also not only about usability, it must be desirable as well. Your brand must be consistent and focused because any emotional upset can become magnified into a perceptual paradigm shift resulting in negative feelings about your brand. Ensuring a positive experience every time is critical to your companies success as a great brand.
To reach this point of great design and being a great brand, you must start with brand strategy, market analysis, and design. Design is not an event or a process to apply, it is not a veneer and it is not something you “just do” without any thought or strategy. Design must be aligned top to bottom, it must be understood by everyone within your company, and it must not be driven by growth — growth must be driven by quality of experience. It is only when the brand establishes this enduring commitment to design and the customer experience that the customer will become loyal.