When it comes to creating products, experiences, or solutions, marketing can help provide qualitative data. In addition, it is about great storytelling and building awareness for a specific demographic using a set of activities or strategies. However, marketing doesn’t tell researchers what specifically the problem is or how to solve it. Consumer research is limited in its scope because people have a hard time expressing their desires through surveys or focus groups. That’s where design thinking comes into the picture.
The intensity of the design thinking process allows researchers to empathize with the intended audience and immerse themselves in the needs and wants of the end user. The insights gained from these exercises can be of immense value as you begin to understand what problem is and how to solve for it. Design thinking allows you to dig deep for “unarticulated needs” by asking why multiple times while constantly re-framing…
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For the past six years, Marcus Engman has successfully made Ikea weird.
As the company’s head of design, he spearheaded artistic collaborations on tropical furniture and L.A.-inspired skateboards to push the reserved Swedish furniture giant out of its minimalist comfort zone. But Engman recently left Ikea to start a company of his own called Skewed Productions, as a partner of the design firm Doberman. Think of Skewed as a hybrid of design studio and ad agency–its goal is to create marketing moments for companies through product design itself. Instead of spending money on ad buys, Engman wants to teach companies to market themselves through their design.
“I want to show there’s an alternative to marketing, which is actually design,” says Engman. “And if you work with design and communications in the right way, that would be the best kind of marketing, without buying media.”
His plan makes some sense. In a consumer-obsessive world, design has become a major selling point. Consumers study everything from Kickstarter campaigns built upon the personal journeys of inventors to Apple’s Jony Ive-narrated iPhone videos to hear the intent and motivation behind the products we buy.“More and more people are interested in how things are made,” says Engman. “I believe in transparency–being more transparent in design you do–that attracts interest and over time it builds interest in the project.”
But for companies that don’t necessarily “get” design–whether that’s individual product development, or how to marry a whole line of products into one grounding thesis that can define a brand–Engman sees an opportunity for flexible, design-oriented people to help out in a hands-on consulting and development capacity. “It’s one ballgame in fashion,” he says, “and a completely different one in how we work in furniture, for instance.”
[Screenshot: Skewed Productions]
Skewed Productions is a one-man show. Before Ikea, Engman has had his own agency with 30 employees under him. Now, he plans to hire out collaborators from his network on a per-project basis. He argues that this new model will be more equitable for everyone involved, because he plans to share profits with his team, rather than paying out stock salaries. And it will allow him to take on projects more flexibly, since his crew can always be in flux. While he cautions me that Skewed is only four days into existence, and he’s just building a client roster, he’d like to have a mix of large companies and small startup clients to keep work varied.
As for his legacy, and why it was time to leave Ikea? “I think there comes a time when you feel you want to do something else. I’m not a maintainer guy. I’m a startup guy. And I was put there to make a lot of changes. And we made a lot,” he says. “Working at a large company, it’s about leading by strategy and finding new partners. I wanted to, not go backwards, but be even closer to the design, to be able to do design myself again.”
HOW Design Live has released a new white paper, ‘The Intersection of Design and Marketing,’ which offers advice and tips from some of the top creative minds in design, branding and marketing.
“The HOW Design Live 2018 white paper is a must read for any designer or marketer,” said Amy Conover, content manager for HOW events.
“We’ve complied some truly valuable insights from numerous speakers who will present at the upcoming HOW Design Live in Boston – all related to the theme of ‘The Intersection of Design and Marketing.’
In addition, the white paper is co-presented by Printing Industries of America, the largest graphic arts trade association, and the Association for Print Technologies, which is dedicated to supporting the entire commercial printing value chain, from print to digital. Of course, both organizations are also at the center of design and marketing, as well as featured in the white paper.”
Originally published at: https://www.dexigner.com/news/30892