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Do You Matter? How Great Design Will Make People Love Your Company Hardcover – August 22, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
In this mostly well-argued book, industrial design expert Brunner and corporate consultant Emery (Success Built to Last) put forth a design manifesto: building a successful company is not just about the shiny end product but about designing every aspect of the customer's experience. By paying just as much attention to store design, Web sites and customer support as to the product or service being sold, a company can build an emotional relationship with its customers and so secure market share for life. They contend that design should influence every single business decision and—if done right—will lead consumers to become truly invested, and willing to pay extra. The authors return again and again to several well-known brand names as exemplars of their theory. Ikea, Samsung and Whole Foods are all given props, though highest praise is reserved for Brunner's old employer, Apple, so much so that at times this book reads like an Apple promotional product. Combining their knowledge of design, organizational structure, branding and product placement, the authors have essentially repackaged a simple idea: the customer's feelings matter. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From the Back Cover
“Definitely, a game changer! Design experience is the power shift to our era what mass marketing was to the last century.”
John Sculley former CEO, Pepsi and Apple
“Great design is about creating a deep relationship with your customers. If you don’t, you’re roadkill. This book shows you how and much, much more. Be prepared to have your mind blown.”
Bill Burnett Executive Director, Design Program, Stanford University
“Design is the last great differentiator, and yet so few really understand it. Do You Matter? offers a marvelous series of direct, in-your-face observations and drives home the means to an absolutely integrated design strategy.”
Ray Riley Design GM, Entertainment and Devices, Microsoft
“This book will challenge you to ask and answer what arguably are the most important questions an executive can ponder today. So open up.”
Noah Kerner CEO, Noise and coauthor, Chasing Cool
More and more companies are coming to understand the competitive advantage offered by outstanding design. With this, you can create products, services, and experiences that truly matter to your customers' lives and thereby drive powerful, sustainable improvements in business performance. But delivering great designs is not easy. Many companies accomplish it once, or twice; few do it consistently. The secret: building a truly design-driven business, in which design is central to everything you do. Do You Matter? shows how to do precisely that. Legendary industrial designer Robert Brunner (who laid the groundwork for Apple's brilliant design language) and Stewart Emery (Success Built to Last) begin by making an incontrovertible case for the power of design in making emotional connections, deepening relationships, and strengthening brands. You'll learn what it really means to be "design-driven" and how that translates into action at Nike, Apple, BMW and IKEA. You'll learn design-driven techniques for managing your entire experience chain; define effective design strategies and languages; and learn how to manage design from the top, encouraging "risky" design innovations that lead to entirely new markets. The authors show how (and how not) to use research; how to extend design values into marketing, manufacturing, and beyond; and how to keep building on your progress, truly "baking" design into all your processes and culture.
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Top customer reviews
Next, I thought the book would be more about designers and the importance of our role in corporations and society on the whole. It - (sigh) wasn't exactly focused on that. Instead the authors spoke mainly to CEO's in companies who make products. Not service-based companies or to professional designers. Just companies who make products. Leaves out quite a few of us, don't you think?
On the plus side, this book did give me several great examples of why design is so important in business that, okay, wasn't exactly news to me - but was put in such a way and packaged with a solid example (usually about Apple and Apple products) that I wanted to jot some passages down and share them with my clients if only to make a point that I would otherwise struggle to convey.
And that was the best take-away I can offer from this book as the "CEO" of a service-focused company or as a graphic designer. If you are a marketing director, I hope you keep reading while I excerpt the best of the best - and save everyone a whole lot of time from reading this entire book (that's again, mostly about Apple).
Here are my notes all excerpted directly from the book "Do You Matter?":
1. "Become brillant at using design to provide an amazing customer experience."
2. "The difference between a great product and a merely 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.
3. "When it's all said and done, your customer doesn't care about your process. In the end, none of this matters if the design experience is wrong."
4. "Great products are about ideas; they are not just objects."
5. "Effective design establishes the emotional relationship you develop with a brand through the total experience, to which a service or product provides a portal."
6. Here is the core idea of this book. I printed this excerpt out and pinned it to my wall: "Who are you? What do you do? Why does it matter? Would the world be a darker place without you? If someone took a poll today of your customers, constituents, followers, whatever, and asked if you matter to them, how do you think you would come out? If you ceased to exist tomorrow, do you think anyone would really care? In other words, has your product, service, or brand established an emotional connection with your customers to the extent that they are invested in the interest that you not only survive, but also prosper?"
7. "Developing an awareness of excellent design as the connective tissue that defines and ensures an excellent experience for your customers is a vital key to the future of your business."
8. "Don't just play the game, change the game."
9. "Design is a living, ongoing process that has to learn from mistakes, refresh itself, and take new risks all the time."
10. "The idea behind Whole Foods is more than being a market. It is an informative, rewarding experience."
11. "Learn what you can change, because that's how you achieve longevity."
12. Oh, how I love this one: "If, on the other hand, you start by saying, 'OK, we're going to do this product - let's ask people what they like,' you wind up with the sort of mediocre outcome that comes of designing by committee. When people think as a group, they end up liking a bland type of product because that's what makes most of them feel comfortable." Raise your hand, designers, if you've ever been part of that scenario. I know, right? Design by committee = EPIC FAIL.
13. "Mediocrity is what you end up with if you try to make something everybody likes." Yes, yes and YES.
14 "Most customers have a difficult time articulating their design preferences. You can do far better by watching, listening, and observing."
15. "When your brand communicates well, you create a context of expectations. The product is emotionally prequalified before the purchase is made."
16. "There is still a gap in business culture, at least American business culture, of really viewing design as a business partner." True!
17. Another good one: "You need to believe that design matters, you need to believe that experience is important, and you need to look at the things that create great experience. We are talking about emotional reality here, and you can't put emotions on a spreadsheet."
18. "Look to design to uncover new territory."
19. "The core aspects of a design-driven company ... can be arranged to form the acronym FLAVOR. Here is what the letters stand for: Focus, Long-term, Authentic, Vigilant, Original, Repeatable."
Focus: on the customer experience;
Long-term: "Becoming a design-driven company takes deliberate practice and time."
Authentic: "If your slogan is 'We Care,' this had better be the case."
Vigilance: "It is also 'forward looking' as well as keeping track of what is going on around you. In a way, it's like continuous due diligence."
Original: "We apply the 80/20 rule. You want 80 percent of the market to love it. But you'd also like 20 percent to be challenged by it."
Risk: "You have to take chance to keep moving ahead. Try to balance risk with research. It doesn't mean that you can't cross a boundary when designing - it just means you have to know when you've crossed it so you can assess and discuss."
20. "The creative process is really hard to compress; it really is very difficult. You just need time to experiment and try things. Because when you get compressed, what you do is revert to what you know." So to all the owners,CEO's and marketing directors reading this post - please think about this critical point the next time you ask your design agency to 'rush' a project. When you do, you risk compressing the creative process which will give you a sub-par result when we have to take shortcuts in our thinking to meet a hurried deadline. It is worth it? Sometimes, we understand, it is a necessity. But overall, it's probably not worth what you lose. It is far better to give your creative team the time they need to think, observe, research, test and then create for you the best possible result.
When I was in college, one of the hit "The" bands was a raucous group from Down Under called The Vines. Now, the Vines definitely had a great sound, and their writing and melodies were great, but their press just revolved around their wacky lead signer, Craig Nichols who oscillated between adorable and totally insane. Now, Craig was an interesting guy, who was trying to fuse melodic rock with something grunge-y like Nirvana. Craig said weird irreverent things, and was often so `anti-establishment' that his fits of `quirky behaviour' cost the band many huge media appearances, hoards of mainstream fans and lots of money. After hearing of Nichols' obsession with McDonalds fries, I found myself pulling up to the Golden Arches more often. In a weird way, I didn't just connect with the band by listening to their music, and following the music news, I connected with them by eating the same junk food they ate. Because Craig loved McDonalds, I loved McDonalds. It was my way of connecting with a fun goofy carefree vibe (which has nothing to do with McD's actual marketing, by the way).
In a way, the rockstar analogy is perfect: another band I loved (and still do) was Pink Floyd. To say to someone that you loved Pink Floyd, was to admit two things: a) that you loved great guitar, and great sounds, and great rock b) that you were creative and imaginative, and hence, appreciated art and color in life, c) the words in the songs touched you, meaning you weren't just a rocker, you had a brain, and a heart as well. And so Pink Floyd fans get this feedback from each other when they talk about great albums, great concerts, and little nuances about the band members.
So this is my long winded way of saying we have relationships with these companies when and only when they seem to represent ideas that we like, and want to surround ourselves with. The BMW driver has an attitude about the world, and he wants everyone to know, not that he's rich, or successful (although the association doesn't hurt), but that he thinks a certain way. The popularity in late 1990's of the Christian WWJD (What would Jesus Do) wristbands was a perfect example of this: it combined something that was trendy and good looking, with ideas that millions of people truly believed in. When you combine a good product with a belief, an ethos, an attitude about the way the world is, you have a powerful brand, and a powerful following. Just hope they all have credit cards, and you have a business model.
And thus, Macintosh users, for many years, had the same identification: not only did they like good tech, but they loved what the Mac was about, and what it represented; they took it as a badge of honour to be a minority marketshare, knowing that in many other realms of life, the best is often in low numbers, and the masses often settle for mediocrity. But it's more than just that: what the Mac lovers believed was not just a belief about technology, but a belief about the world. The belief was that by being a little different, I'm not a bad person, actually, I should embrace it, because the status quo makes me puke, and never leads to anything great. Fittingly, Apple has never looked to polls, or focus groups to design its products. Focus groups don't lead to greatness, they lead to average. And to be average, even if it's incredibly profitable, is not worth it.
Ironically, it turns out that being average isn't so profitable after all. You can mass-produce cars, but you can't mass-produce average cars, and expect to still be in business 10 years later. No way. It turns out that companies who make amazing products, like imported cars, and superior electronics (like Samsung), always win because of the amazing experience their customers have using the products. Paying attention to detail means paying attention to the experience of using the product, and the best designers in the world know that that experience is why the customer bought that piece of plastic in the first place. You don't sacrifice great design for dollars. It doesn't work. You will end up destroying your company. Growth comes from great design.
Those experiences add up to one great truth: Great companies are a positive force in people's lives. Now, you may not be a Pink Floyd fan (breathe Mike... breathe...) or like Bimmers, but there is bound to be a company out there that makes products that you believe in, and it's got nothing to do with the taste, or the 0-60mph time, or the specifications of the technology. We bring friends into our lives that think like we do, and we bring MP3 players into our lives that `think like we do' as well. And what is the goal of all this consumption and qualification? People are seeking a great experience of being alive, and will buy products and surround themselves with things that help them do that. As Simon Sinek once said, People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
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