Would great, award winning design from an experienced agency change the face of your business? And if it did, how much money could this great design or branding actually make to your business? If you knew what the return on investment was, would it be worth it? These are questions (or similar) that every business asks itself before talking to a designer or design agency. This is even more relevant when today’s economy is in such a challenging state.
Believe it or not, companies and organisations can and do exist without design input. There are companies that let the printer design their leaflets, or do it in publisher whilst watching the latest episode of Eastenders. So when a established company (that has up until now dodged design input) asks itself this question the answer could come back ‘we’ve done ok so far…’.
Return on investment and design
However, that’s not really answering the question. If the question and the answer was more about how different the picture could be with professional help their answer could be a little less dismissive. Measuring return on investment (ROI) is one of the strongest ways the design industry can show its worth. It’s how a business can put a figure on the value of design to show the people to whom numbers matter, sit up and listen.
Measuring return on investment (ROI) is one of the strongest ways the design industry can show its worth.
Measuring ROI of design is unfortunately notoriously difficult, in many ways, an imperfect science. How can you show design played an integral part in a company’s success? When design is just one of many areas in which an organisation has invested its money. If a company has £50,000 to spend, it could spend it on design, marketing, direct mail, all of the above or actually on any number of other business promotional services. It could chose to blow the lot on Facebook ads. However, without measuring any of this no one will know the true reason for any successes or failures.
To understand ROI let’s clarify a couple of points. ‘Return’ could be something nice and definable such as sales, footfall or market share; but equally, it could be something a little less tangible such as brand awareness, public perception or even a shift in staff awareness or morale. Though these later, ‘soft’ measures are more of a challenge to quantify, they are still measurable and important.
Return’ could be something nice and definable such as sales, footfall or market share; but equally, it could be something a little less tangible
Investment can also be in a bunch of different ways; a design company’s fees is just part of the cost of a design project. Implementation costs (ie printing, construction, production in general) are pretty much unavoidable most of the time and of course a clients time (something a lot don’t put a value on). It would be the same if a designer wasn’t involved, of if a client went to a cheaper agency to save money.
The simple ROI calculation in monetary terms is financial gain over total investment.
It can get a lot more complicated. Valuing the benefit in terms of awareness is a little more challenging and takes consumer research (usually quantitive) both before and after the project. This can be expressed in a percentage change of perception. Usually extremely useful especially if the questions are wider than just around the current project. It could be something that is undertaken on an annual basis to look at how your ‘brand’ is doing.
So to understand what your money is actually buying is driven by clarity about your business aims at the outset. This is vitally important for clients, but for designers it can help justify the costs for creative work, which is still seen by many as a luxury. It can and should be something that a business looks at regularly. As although moving agency could save you on design costs, it could be that you damage brand perception.
And as we have talked many times previously, damage to your brand will end up costing revenue. Especially if you are in a crowded marketplace. ROI is the justification marketing departments crave. If they can prove that spending more sells more then, giving them more money makes good business sense.
How can we help in all this?
Puur relishes the opportunity to help measure the impact of our design work. All our work is developed with the end audience and objectives in mind. Our work isn’t just pretty pictures, our work solves a challenge set by you. It makes good business sense for us to deliver the ‘right’ solutions. Give us a call today to chat over your needs and how we can help.