Authenticity – Design Language

Design is not skin deep.

There are companies that create an amazing product and enjoy short term success, much like pop stars that have a one hit wonder, these companies soon get overlooked and blend into the white noise market graveyard.  Then there are companies that consistently turn out winning products again and again.  This is achieved through a consistent and authentic Design Language.

Your “Design Language” is the overarching scheme or style that guides the design of a complement of products and or services.  Or in simpler terms your design language is a deliberate and methodical way of presenting your brand that is consistent and authentic.

Companies that understand the total customer experience and build customer awareness into their business strategy win time and time again.  It is not enough to make a boring product and make a donation to an eco-charity in order to claim sustainability.  Neither can you hire a designer to make your product look prettier to fool people into thinking you have a cool brand.

Building a cool brand takes years of being consistent and authentic about everything you do.  Everything about your company and product and the way you deliver your product must all be consistent with the design language you wish to deliver.

Your customer service, the look of your product, the materials you use, the way you take care of your staff, the way you treat your suppliers, where you put your manufacturing waste, what your business cards are printed on and how you fix things when you  get it wrong all need to be carefully orchestrated and thought out.

Once you decide on your design language and communicate clearly to all of your employees and suppliers and empower theses people to contribute to its evolution you will start making your business one that your customers keep returning to.  You will have an authentic customer experience.

We do this with wool carpets,  We create products of exceptional beauty based on the trends that we see emerging and we deliver sustainably produced wool to the manufactures, who are all signed up to our mission.  We tell the story at retail and on our websites.  Now we are thinking about what goes under the carpet and are working to deliver underlay made from recycled tyres and carpet waste.  Of course we will be printing the brochures and merchandising materials on recycled materials.  But it goes deeper.  We are not selling wool, or even carpets.  We are in the business of delivering an exceptional experience with wool.  That has to include not just what the product is made of but how that product is made and how the customer feels.  We don’t make wool we use wool carpets and textile as the portal to a luxurious and comfortable lifestyle.

MID Carpet in New Zealand Wool

MID Carpet in New Zealand Wool

When there is an emotional connection between you and your customer you move from selling a commodity to becoming a much loved brand.

Designing Success

Designing Success

Organisations that thrive plan and design for repeated successful product launches.

The reason companies like Samsung, Apple and Phillips continue to pump out amazing products and profits is because they have a culture of design that is embedded into the way they do business. And it is because the products are more than just beautifully designed objects, rather the products are just part of a total experience of buying and owning a brilliantly thought out experience.

Doing business is not just making a product and hoping for sales. These companies set about designing an experience with their brand. The physical product is just part of the total experience that is a portal to the total enjoyment of being part of something special.

Imagine the iPhone without a great website, stores with experts to help you, an iTunes store to download songs and millions of apps. Without these things you still have a wonderful object, but fundamentally it is just a telephone.

Apple have thought about the total experience of buying and owning an apple device, even the packaging is part of the carefully designed experience. If your phone breaks then the way you get it fixed is also not just an after-thought. And if you think Apple sometimes miss a few features that is also deliberate, hence the long queue lining up to buy the next version. If you give away all the tricks in version 1 then nobody needs to buy version 2.

Design Success does not need just apply to mobile phones. The ethos of being design-led and focused on innovation can be applied to any product or service, even carpet.

With Laneve we are working to build a total experience with New Zealand wool carpet. We could sell wool to spinners and stop there, but that would only be doing part of the job.

We think about who can make Laneve, we build websites to explain the process, we created a network of 280 Premier Partner stores to sell the products, and after the product is installed we created a process for customers to find out which farm grew their wool. We are not finished yet, we are only in version 1.0

Below is the Innovation process in info-graphic form. It applies to everything.

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The Future of Everything and Wool

The Future of Wool (or anything).

How we are going to make wool exciting, again…

How well we know our customers to a very large extent determines how well our product will sell. If we build products based on the market demand then surely our offering will work.

Well, no it is not that simple.

If you listen to a focus group you will get information about what people do and don’t like based on what they are seeing in the current market.  If you build a product based on this you are building a “me too” product that will be nearly as good as the product that inspired the people in your focus group.

The 1st of anything is not copied from a similar product, or evolved with a new colour.  The 1st one is the new innovation that creates a new market all of its own.  The 1st iPad was not a small step, it was a compete re-think of what would be an amazing way to interact with the digital world.

With wool or anything else, we need to design an experience that customers of the future will simply have to have.  This means focusing less on the current market and more on the future market.  That is not as hard as it may seem.  Future trend mapping is a common practice in the design industry but unfortunately not so common in marketing.

When you really understand what motivates people you can start imagining the solutions that people will want to engage with.  Then you start building the solution and assembling the parts…

We don’t sell wool by promoting wool for wool’s sake. We work with smart future focused companies and we imagine and build the ultimate experience with wool.  We design our way to better sales.

After all, marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department.

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