5 min read.

A customer asked me a few months ago, “How do I measure the effectiveness of design and branding?”. In this article I’m going to answer that question. Let’s start by defining what we are going to measure:

What is Design?
Design is the creative activity and process of expressing a communication system through;
• Comprehensiveness
• Process
• Service
• Outcome

Design strategy needs to be defined in order to make it effective. Some goals can be to make life better for humans, sell more products or evoke a certain emotion to differentiate you from your competition.

What is Branding?
Branding is the experience that is created based on an accumulation of signs, symbols and messages to evoke an emotional response or attachment to the subject. These symbols can mean different things to different people and are leveraged to help signify a new message through every customer interaction. A brand is used to communicate a promise to your customers and show off who you are and what you believe in.

Branding can be practiced in the following outlets:
• Any conversation by anyone about your company
• Sales materials
• Marketing channels and collaterals
• Product design
• Events and tradeshows
• Associations and partnership
• Customer feedback
• Your logo and all DNA design elements that create a your visual identity

Some design and branding misconceptions:
One of the biggest misconceptions is that design can be seen as an ‘expense’ and not an ‘investment’.

Design and branding activity should be treated with the same respect as sales, marketing and product development. Design is always a part of the equation used to enhanced all company communications and if done well can return the investment by ultimately selling more products.

Design and branding ROI is measured by setting a goal and achieving the intended outcome. You need to set the metrics in order to measure their effectiveness over time. One of the most accurate forms of measurement is what your customers say about your product.

For example, here is a lipstick box that I design for e.l.f. cosmetics (NYSE: ELF), the goal was to design a line that looked expensive and used for professional-grade, studio make-up. The retail was $5.

Here is an example of a customer review which proved that our strategy was effective.

Metrics used in this design were:

✓ Relevance – The end product was relevant to the target audience and resonated with them
✓ Cost – The precieved value of the product exceeded the cost
✓ Design – The design communicated the value and created the desired user experience.

These metrics together with the shopping experience and customer service created the desired e.l.f. Brand, offering high quality beauty products for less. The ROI can be measured if sales overtime exceeds the cost of the design and branding activity. If customers return to buy or use the product(s), you win!

Stay tuned for next week’s post about the process of design and branding for startups.