Have you ever noticed just how many people go for auditions for those X-factor shows and don’t get through, well, it’s more or less the same for new products, only the judges are consumers and there are so many product candidates each year that many simply fail the audition, and have no hope of getting on the show!
So lets concentrate on the audition: In branding, this might be seen as the product launch; here, to even get noticed you need to have something that’s different, like an innovative product or brilliant concept that gets you into new territory, but in most cases, new product launches are limited to new formats, flavours or add-ons. So the only way forward is to create a great presentation.
This means you’ll need to hone and refine what it is you are selling, defining what’s so unique that will get the judges attention. You’ll need to decide on priorities and push them forward, because even though your product may be great, just like in X-factor auditions, the way you present, the way you look, the clothes you wear and the way you deliver your message, all play an important part in getting your uniqueness across. So when you consider all the energy, the rehearsals and practice you’ve put into creating your product, the failure rate at audition is something you don’t want to be part of.
This is where ‘design’ comes in; Paying attention to Design as a communication tool, seems to me, in this case, to be obvious, but then I’m a designer, so I would say that! But how many times do we all see products launched on the market that neglect the power of design communication and fail the launch audition miserably. Perception, I believe, is a key word here, as in a selling environment; consumers make decisions about new products without opening, tasting or even touching. They make their choices on what they see and what they ‘believe’ or ‘perceive’ the product to be offering. The only way they can do this is via the presentation – in most cases, this means the Packaging.
Here’s where the designer’s skill in building visual strategies that lead consumers to clearly understand product attributes and benefits are essential particularly in the in-store audition environment, where all the new product candidates are all trying their very best to get the judges attention in the hope of becoming household names. But do the brands themselves really attach any value to design?
I suppose it all comes down to whether brands believe how they look and how they are perceived is important, and if they are really dedicated and committed to win the audition. From my experience, I see that the power of design as a communication tool is today grossly undervalued, this I see demonstrated time and again by brands (even big brands), who expect designers to work for little or nothing and often in competition.
My advice to these brands would be, if you are not committed to bring consumers on your side and win the audition, save your money and don’t even enter the competition. But if you are, then be prepared to invest at every level including and especially Design. Let’s remember that when asked, consumers often consider packaging to be part of the product.
Rowland Heming© 2014*
*If you would like to know more about the power of design communication or are interested in any presentation on this site to be made to your company, university or organisation, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
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