Within some companies the design, be it for products, communication or service seems to be conceived and executed by one single person: all just fit together perfectly. But we know that many design activities take place to create this perfect picture. Brands who have understood that a well-orchestrated and holistic experience across all touchpoints solidifies their identity are creating the basis for customer loyalty, and are a leading example to all other companies. Like with an orchestra playing out of tune, customers will turn away from companies, who are not able to harmonize the ‘interplay’ of their organizational parts to create a collective showing. Remember the story of the kitchen nightmare?
This brings up the questions as to who is in charge of the design harmonization: how can one get a grip on all design activities, so that all, be it product or communication, turns out fully harmonized, irrespective of what the business is about? Even more so, since you do not have one designer, but a whole team actively working for your brand? Then it might help to look for a ‘score’ and a ‘conductor’ to achieve a ‘harmonious’ result out of your companies effort.
A company-score has the task to orchestrate all touchpoints to the market, the consumer and customer and to society at large, through guiding the design with one approach that is fully in line with the personality of the brand. To many a ‘corporate guideline’ will come to mind, also known as a corporate identity style guide.
Most of the style guides around, limit themselves to communicative aspects within a brand experience (logo, graphics, type, tonality etc.) and hardly include product and service aspects as well: a holistic guideline, which truly incorporates all touchpoints to the market is hard to find, also because there are hardly any agencies around who are able to conceive one…
But if a company does have such a ‘score’, which directs all the ‘instruments’ in a brand’s recital towards the market and consumers, it can create a truly holistic brand experience.
This score is no guarantee though that the rendering will be consistent: most instruments a company ‘plays’ are dislocated in time and space from each other and the overarching score is therefore constantly re-interpreted. On top of that, every design function has his own creative director trying to ‘interpret’ the score…
If you then also consider that (in contrary to an orchestra recital) customers, if they engage with a brand, will experience the ‘instruments’ playing one after the other, it quickly becomes clear where the problem lies: a conductor needs to be in charge. One who is able to direct (or let direct) all those different creatives in such a way that the rendering of the score is coherent and consistent despite being disconnected in time and place.
The prerequisites for being such a ‘superconductor’ are hardly to be found amongst the designers: they are too quickly falling in love with their ‘instrument’ and the ‘playing’, they focus on the details rather than the larger whole.
Mostly you find these qualities in entrepreneurs, with an antenna and flair for the effect of a consistent and coherent design and the gift to sensitize their employees in this as well. They can achieve the synchronization of all different parts into a connected whole. And they also know that it’s not sufficient to have a ‘score’ composed by a who-ever design guru, in order to fully leverage from design – it’s the rendering that makes the experience!
Most likely it’s because of this that some companies are more successful than others in exiting consumer and building customer loyalty: they have a fitting ‘score’, sensitized employees and designers who can render it – and a superconductor ensuring all play in tune!