Apple, Netflix, Nike and Volkswagen. Do you know what all these companies have in common? All of them already use a Design Thinking approach to come up with innovative ideas to solve complex problems. In this article, you will learn the concepts behind this creative problem-solving method and how it can be the key differential for your agency.
Design Thinking is a Mindset
Tim Brown defined it in his book “Change By Design” as an anthropocentric approach. Its main purpose is to develop innovative solutions from the customer’s perspective — all in a collaborative, multidisciplinary, empathic and creative way.
It’s easy to say that design teams have a holistic perspective. They are used to being focused on emotional, cognitive and aesthetic elements, and it enables them to create beautiful and functional pieces of content. All those design aspects and sensibilities are applied to design thinking in order to develop innovative and relevant solutions for complex problems, always based on empathy for the end-user.
The approach is human-centralized, meaning every single solution is built from the perspective of human needs, understanding their desires and struggles. It’s all about comprehending the context of problems even before starting to develop a fantastic solution. Marketing and creative teams are a step ahead, as one of the main activities of this area is to understand and anticipate the user’s needs. That’s why design thinking is a great chance for your agency to make a difference.
Design Thinking + Marketing Agencies
This combination is very powerful when it comes to developing innovative solutions. The design thinking method helps you to create value for the customer and market opportunity based on a viable and relevant business strategy. Check out some examples of how agencies can use this approach as a differential in a competitive market.
Think in Terms of Branding
To deliver a valuable and consistent image to the world, it’s crucial to apply branding goods practices. People identify themselves with brands that are human, those who have a positive voice and reinforce a lifestyle. Brands who are capable of accomplishing it are able to convert customers into advocates and defenders.
Through the design thinking approach, you can identify who are the people who love and interact the most with your business and create customizable communications with them from your results. For brands who still are in the positioning stage, this is even more necessary in order to get relevant information from their target demographic and to understand what they need.
Think as Content Producers
The way people consume the high volume of content created every day, through an enormous variety of channels, has changed drastically.
The biggest challenge that marketers face nowadays is to make that content viral, reaching the maximum number of people as possible. However, with the enormous amount of content created, it is easy to make mistakes, such as defining the right audience, appropriate channel and the right tone.
Design thinking can help you to structure the best content strategy! This approach enables you to have a deep knowledge of your audience one design thinking key aspect is to put your customer in the center of the strategy. Understanding who is your target, how they behave and which media they are consuming, and you will be able to develop relevant and efficient pieces of content that will boost your results!
Design thinking enables you to learn by making.
If you are doing the same thing as your competitors, sooner or later you will be in a bad situation. With the high level of competition today, businesses are inclined to create and develop new attributes to add to their core product or service. Start thinking in differentials and put your agency ahead of competitors.
The innovation mindset enables your teams to be more inspired and to constantly search for new solutions. Gather all your teams in a structured co-creation meeting and inspire them to develop new ideas that will result in business opportunities for your agency to stand out.
By doing so, team members will start to feel like “owners” of the processes and motivated to keep it as a habit. Brace yourself: some incredible ideas will come up and set your business up as an industry leader.
Each of your customers has specifics needs, desires and pains to solve. With generic or unsuitable projects, they hardly can identify value in what you are delivering.
Using design thinking to understand customer needs and developing creative and innovative solutions aligned with your goals is the best way to guarantee your agency is providing value to the customer. (Did you know that this is one of the principles of Lean management?)
To create a collaborative and wholesome relationship between the agency and customer, you can set up immersive workshops with the target audience, for example. Try to be as empathic as possible. This participative process will help you to create proper solutions, connected directly with the user needs. Consequently, it will decrease the chances of rework, and ensure the delivery of value and satisfaction to your customers!
The Problem-solving Framework
In a more practical approach, the design thinking process can be structured in five stages. In each of them, designer thinkers are encouraged to answer questions, define key points and never forget that everything is based on customer needs!
- Empathize: It’s time to learn and understand the struggles that you or your audience have. Use observation, interviews and/or interactions to achieve comprehension!
- Define: The main question here is “what are we trying to solve?” Define a point of view based on the previous phases. Be precise.
- Ideate: Brainstorming time! Collaborative creativity is the heart of innovation. Visualize without limits and release craziest ideas!
- Prototype: Build representations of your ideas to show people! Don’t forget to search for techniques to get the solution “on paper.”
- Test: Time to share the prototype with your audience! Gather feedback and try to understand how you can improve!
Now that you know why design thinking is the key for agency success, it’s time to get your hands dirty. Start with the Lean Management platform for marketing and communication teams and try out all the benefits that Lean provides.
Pipefy has built the proper tool for you to have a smooth start, leading you to business success. Everything you have learned here is already structured in a pre-modeled template, so you can start to empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test your world-changed solutions now!