Do you design PowerPoint presentations? Do you have difficulty getting your company — or your clients — to realize the importance of good design?
Perhaps you can provide some information about the relationship between design and profits. Here’s a point to make:
Peer Insight, a research firm, did a 3-year study of the performance of more than 40 Fortune 500 companies from 2000 to 2005 and found that those that focused on customer-experience design outperformed the S&P 500 stock index by a 10 to 1 margin.
Recently, Fast Company magazine, wrote an entire issue called, “Masters of Design,” naming several masters. One of them is Yves Béhar. Béhar’s work has become so well known, that one of his design’s, the Leaf LED lamp for Herman Miller is shown in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. And the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art honored him with a solo exhibition this past fall. He is perhaps best known for the $100 laptop, which he designed for Nicholas Negroponte and MIT Media Lab’s One Laptop per Child project.
Béhar notes that only a few companies, including Apple, Target, Procter & Gamble, and Nike, have the type of “full-throttle engagement” in design, making sure that design is important in everything the customer sees and feels. This includes not only the product, but the packaging.
Archetype Associates, a consulting firm, examined the backgrounds of 368 board members of the 30 companies in the Dow Jones Industrials Average and found that only one, Steve Jobs at Disney, with a design background. This means that companies don’t feel that design is an expertise worth having on their boards. Those few design people who do get support, have it from the very top.
According to Béhar, a company that makes an emotional connection to users will gain long-lasting customer loyalty. He’s talking about products, of course, not PowerPoint presentations.
But design-driven companies incorporate good design into all that they do. You see it not only in their products and packaging but on their Web site and in their brochures. You see it in their Annual Report.
Tell the powers that be that if they use professional designers for their Web site and printed materials, they should do the same for their PowerPoint presentations. Consider yourself, whether or not you have formal training, a design professional. (If you don’t have training, petition to have the company pay for you to get some.) And make sure that the company knows the importance of good design.