The workings of a Creative can be more than just brainstorming and problem solving through type and imagery. Having a deep awareness of the brand purpose and more importantly the customer journey is important and is something I always try to consider when designing. Throughout the design process I recognise the holistic view of the customer’s interaction with the brand from start to finish, as well as their engagement at each stage; where they come into contact with the brand whether it be in person, web or print.
Is this the customer’s initial engagement with the brand? Are they already familiar with the brand and its purpose? What motivated them to come to the website? What information are they seeking? What kinds of obstacles could prevent them from progressing through to the next stage of the customer journey? By asking myself these sorts of questions I establish the customer’s objectives and frame of mind. I adapt to their mindset and point of view. I understand their needs and motivations; their goals and hesitations. It is then that I am able to step into the shoes of the customer and understand how my design, from the messaging, images or colours impact on the experience they have with the brand.
I also have to remember that customers do not experience your brand in isolation. It is about the total experience. From the initial stage when they first discover your brand, whether it be word-of-mouth or an advert, then researching where they might compare your product or service with others in the market, to the customer making a decision to purchase and beyond, where they can show brand loyalty and even share their experience with friends.
After the customer has interacted with my design at each stage it can be beneficial both for the Designer and the Brand Manager to gather insights from actual customers’ behaviour. Our Developers will provide me with digital data – how long a customer was on a certain webpage, what they clicked on to explore further, click-throughs and conversions from a Facebook ad and so much more. This way I am able to identify opportunities for improvement and even innovation. If a customer clicks through to your website from an ad, stays on your page for a decent amount of time, clearly showing some sort of interest, but does not enquire via the contact form on the page, some analysis needs to be made. As a designer, do I need to provide more visual ways that link to other pages on your website to encourage them to explore your brand more? Do I need to question the information we have provided them with? Do I need to rethink the way they navigate through the layout and digest the information? Do I need to reconsider the types of images I have used, are they not reassuring or helpful to the customer?
While a being Creative is about employing shape and symbol to simplify and solve complex problems, to me it is just as much about critical thinking and making sure the needs, expectations and goals of your customer are met through your craft.