If your design decisioning-making involves trying to guess what the organization will handle, or is guided by asking people in the organization if they “like it,” you are not doing a service to your brand.
> The Symptom:
It takes a lot of time to make design decisions, even on the simple things, and it is challenging to get internal alignment. You feel you need to get every internal stakeholder involved and each one of them has a different opinion.
For example, the typical sign of this issue is when people make decisions based on personal preference – rather than being grounded in the strategy or being presented with any consumer research findings.
> The Cure:
This is an opportunity to ground design in strategy so that decision-making is less subjective. While this may involve some work and education, we have found that presenting decision-makers with strategic rationale and relevant research engages them in the process. And while they may still have a personal preference, the conversation can be more about aligning them on the strategy.
The key is defining a framework that articulates the brand strategy, design strategy, and the research or market learning with rationale and objective criteria.
We find that, while you may still have the personal preference conversation because, quite frankly, that is how they are accustomed to being involved in the process. The fact is, in the absence of any other information, they only thing they can comment on are things like a color, or type, or something else (that may not be truly relevant or in their expertise). Engaging them in the strategy and focusing them on the rationale shifts the discussion. Now, they are informed, and have a framework for decision-making.
We have found this takes some (subtle) education to shift the mindset of some decision-makers. But once you start doing it, it will be expected and relied upon. With this established, design development is more efficient, effective, and consistent. And rather than trying to guess what people will like, your team can be empowered to execute – with reason.
What we have done:
We have had success in developing design strategy, packaging strategy and campaign strategy guidebooks. We create engaging presentations that identify design logic, solution rationale, and background information in a way that helps people make informed decisions that are right for the business and customer.
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