How design thinking can improve Your Brand
Heather Redding is a part time assistant manager and freelance writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is also an avid reader and a tech enthusiast. When Heather is not working or writing, she enjoys her Kindle library and with a cup of coffee.
You can reach Heather on Twitter
Defining and improving your brand are important steps for any company. The most well-known brands use design thinking to bolster their brand image for their products as well as for their online presence. This type of thinking enables you to adjust your image with the latest trends so that it is modern and fresh. Design thinking essentially requires you to reach out to different segments of your target audience regularly so that you can use their different perspectives intelligently. This is a user-centric branding approach with six unique stages. When you understand what these stages are and how to walk through them, you can improve your product branding with incredible results.
How to Use Six Phases of Design Thinking
Improving your brand can seem challenging, but design thinking enables you to define the scope of your efforts. The six phases of design thinking are empathizing, defining, ideating, evaluating and building, testing and implementing.
For example, you may reach out to different members of your target audience to uncover a new feature that they desire, and this knowledge gives you the basis for updating your product so that it is more appealing, useful, and impressive.
The process begins with listening to your customers and utilizing design thinking effectively. Analyzing the steps can help you to learn more about how to use design thinking advantageously.
In order to empathize with your customers, you must learn more about them. This includes understanding how they think and live, learning about their motivators and more. More specifically, you must understand what they think about your product and its features. In order to gather this information, you must actively reach out to them and solicit feedback.
You may gather a considerable amount of data through the first step in the design thinking process. The next step requires you to analyze the data to uncover the true needs of the majority of your customers. Understand what commonalities the users share, such as similar complaints or needs. Some may have even given you specific ideas regarding how to improve your products. You can use these ideas as a basis of defining your changes in some cases.
After you have a list of all changes that are ideal, you must find a cost-effective way to address the needs and wants of your consumers. You can include your customers’ ideas, but you should also brainstorm some of your own ideas. Write everything down, regardless of how unusual or impossible it may seem. Bring your team together to brainstorm as many ideas as possible. Encourage individuals to freely express ideas. Remember that someone’s off-the-wall idea may cause another person to think of the winning concept. All ideas should be expressed and written down during this phase.
Evaluate and Build a Prototype
Through the previous phase of the process, you may have multiple ideas that you want to explore in greater detail. You can build a prototype for the ideas that seem most realistic. Then, conduct feasibility testing and seek feedback. During this phase, you may think about even more ideas, and you may want to build prototypes for some of them.
While this process can seem expensive and time-consuming, remember that there are solutions for this too. For instance, 3D printing has made this process easier and more cost-effective than it once was. This technology is changing the way many companies are innovating products, and it may be time for your company to embrace it as well.
When you believe that you have excellent prototypes that address your customers’ needs and desires, you can put these prototypes in front of a test group of actual customers. Listen to their positive and negative feedback about the various prototypes that you have created. Their feedback can help you to narrow down the options to the best concept, and it could even help you to find ways to make the prototype even better than it currently is.
“Design doing” is the next step in the process. This is the step in which you bring your final prototype to market. The prototype that satisfied most or all of your customers in the test group may be a winning product that you are ready to introduce on a wider scale.
Remember that most companies will not walk through the design thinking process in a linear fashion. This is understandable, as this process is not meant to be linear at all. You may find that your team will backtrack a step or two from time to time to refine ideas and concepts more substantially. This is a part of the process associated with creating a truly exceptional product that will be a profitable success, and you should not think of backtracking as a failure.
Design thinking is an effective way to intelligently improve your products and to refine your brand. It actively takes into account the needs, desires and even the lifestyle of your target audience so that you can create something that is truly beneficial to them. If you are not currently using the six phases of design thinking, now may be a great time to begin implementing this process and taking advantage of its many benefits.