1. User-Centered Design
Know your audience and design everything for and around them. At no point should the designer or the client feel the design is for them, for their taste, or for their whims. The user-centered design keeps the focus where it must be, on the people who will use your product. This requires empathy for who and how they would use your product. To get the most from user-centered design thinking, you must partner with the right designer, who will build audience personas, research who they are and what motivates them, as well as what can frustrate or cause friction, and design an experience that informs and supports their mission while helping achieve your business goals and brand aspirations.
2. Customer Personas & Goals
I don’t like advertising, and I think the advertising world exploits designer talents to help them convince people to buy or do something they don’t want or need. On the contrary, if people want to buy or do something, it is imperative to enlist the talents of a skilled designer that will dig in and, through empathy and research, try to understand the potential user personas and goals, then reduce friction as much as possible, helping them achieve their intent.
3. Brand Promise
Trust is the basis of any relationship. For people to support your brand (business), you must build trust and gain respect. And I mean to build trust because it just doesn’t happen. A business must know who they are and build a reputation through clear positioning and consistency in message, and the tangible part of that reputation is the brand promise. Breaking the brand promise will ensure you lose trust and respect for your business.
4. Expertise / Positioning
I have a simple formula for designing marketing-focused materials for businesses, especially websites: declare your expertise, then use every inch/pixel to support and legitimize that claim. Bigger isn’t better, better is better, and different is better. Define why you are different and thus better than your competitors, then use knowledge capital, expertise, case studies, testimonials, and any content and media you have at your disposal to support and verify. This helps build trust, too, as long as you are consistent and clear.