Design as a business enabler

30 Jun 2014 by Brian Slade

Good design thinking brings a great idea to life and increases the chance of a start-up’s success says Brian Slade.

I think deep within all of us is a desire to make a difference. It creates a sense of purpose, personal pride and self worth when we can reflect on a situation and believe, “I made a difference.” This happens almost every time we work with an individual or small group who have a great idea that establishes a new, or redefines an existing, product or service.

Our role as a designer is to bring the great idea to life with passion and focus. It’s a big responsibility. You are acutely aware that often your client is investing everything they have into you getting it right. Invariably you invest something of yourself into these projects. I've seen this over the years with the start-ups we’ve been involved with like EcoStore,1Above and Ponoko.

When you consider the huge fail rate of start-ups, and the financial outlay required to get things going, it's no surprise that some cut corners when it comes to design communications. But the right design thinking helps audiences understand an idea and its application to them. This is achieved through a combination of messaging and design working together to bring to life the benefits of the idea for key audiences.

Through the design development process, clarity is achieved on the audiences, messages and the sales process. This allows the right communication platform to be established using the channels that are right for each audience at each stage of the purchasing decision. This initial work also sets the tone for the brand and expresses what the start-up wants to stand for. And even if everything isn’t applied on day one, there is value in developing the communication platform with an understanding of where it will go as the business takes off.

Done right, a great idea partnered with the right design thinking will help start-ups communicate their idea effectively to attract the right backers, suppliers, distributors, employees and ultimately customers. Worth investing in, I think.

Over the last few months we’ve been working with the team at Savii to launch a new kind of employee benefits programme that delivers savings on everyday living expenses such as power, insurance and mortgage repayments. Through an initial workshop, we got a good understanding of the vision for Savii and why employees and employers would be attracted to it. We developed a communication plan that defined the messages, by audience, in the awareness, interest, desire and action stages of the sales process.

The next step was to create a communication platform that bought the Savii promise to life. We put the emphasis, not on what Savii was but, on what audiences could do with it. This strong benefit-focused approach invites audiences to emotional connect with the brand by personalising what Savii could mean for them.

Through a strong visual application, bold colours and emotive headlines, the concept of ‘more money for living’ emphasises that everyday savings can be used to enjoy everyday living. Real life images of surfing, dinner parties, shopping and family time, express Savii’s offer of more out of life. 

The positive ‘more’ idea translates to other Savii audiences as well. For employers, it encourages them to offer Savii to their staff to achieve more staff engagement and retention. For sales consultant, it offers more client leads and engagement and of course more income potential.

The launch programme included employer and employee collateral, sales consultants presentations, website and member’s portal, launch video and a series of environmental graphics for the Savii offices. Further elements are planned and will be rolled out as required.

It’s still early days but the signs are good for Savii, having already started to attract a nationwide network of sales consultants. Next step, employers and their staff.   

Find out more about Savii at

This article appeared in Marketing magazine, March 2014


Tags: Creative
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