This is a guest post from the World Business Forum Sydney, which takes place in May 2016.
Designers typically have a unique view of the world. And the view of Mauro Porcini, PepsiCo's chief design officer, is especially noteworthy. For example, he doesn't blame consumers for not using products, instead he blames bad design. It's a refreshing and important perspective.
At the heart of it, Mauro says, is the lack of emotional connection. We're all familiar with the product/positioning pyramid. It starts off with rational product attributes and builds to emotional connections. Only when reaching this emotional high ground can a true bond between brand, product, and consumers happen.
As marketers, we too often get stuck on the rational. Product features, attributes, and benefits often are the focus of any messaging. Consumers are treated as if they make decisions like robots. We don't. We are inherently emotional. We make emotional decisions and justify them rationally.
Often times an emotional promise or proposition is more likely to seek trial than a rational one. If the product doesn't hold up, consumers will quickly change their minds again. A simple example: Which is more compelling, toothpaste with new whitening crystals? Or toothpaste that will get your smile noticed?
Marketing and design have long been partners. They need each other to flourish. Never has this been truer than in the digital era where the platform, message, and design all come together at the same time. Platform is the channel used; message is the marketing communication and design is the user experience design. Digital products like Pinterest or Instagram are good examples of message and design collaboration. In the physical world, wearable products are good examples.
On the surface, it's hard for even the most traditional marketers to disagree with this concept. However, sitting in conference rooms with pressure to meet the sales objectives of the quarter, month, or day, we often revert back to what we think will work immediately. After all, it is the brand manager or the CMO's jobs that are on the line if results don't come in immediately. For that reason, marketing service agencies will often set goals such as "brand building with immediate retail results."
But by thinking like a designer versus a marketer, your time horizon gets broadened a bit. You can tell when clients have a broader level of thinking. Often they're called "risk takers" or "challengers," which demonstrates some admirable traits. But I would say one of the most admirable traits in clients is patience.
Patience to see an idea develop and come to life over time. Patience to weather the storm of not seeing immediate results. The best design thinking is focused on a long-term emotional connection, not a rational immediate transaction. Ultimately, an emotional connection is stronger and leads to loyalty and resilience to competitive suggestions.
Mauro rightly points out that it ultimately comes down to the people you work with and the consumers you work for. If they have the passion and drive to do something great, something great will happen.
We've all worked with people and teams in our career where we thought anything was possible. We cherish those people when we work with them and we miss them when we don't have them.
Want to hear more from Mauro Porcini? He will be speaking at the World Business Forum Sydney 2016. Warc readers receive a 10% discount, use promo code WARC10 when registering.