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Design and Communication

To succeed, an organization needs to provide customer value at acceptable costs and communicate that value to target customers. Design and communications must both be focused on the customer. As Tony Davidson, president of the D&AD Global Awards, pointed out, “In the end, it’s not just about whether something [an advertisement] is a good idea. It’s about whether it’s a good idea and relevant.”32

Customer value comes from innovations in design—the new products and services or improvements in products, services, and processes that a company generates over time. At the heart of communications is branding—the reputation of the company in the minds of its target customers. Without innovation, branding withers. But without branding, the company is not rewarded for its innovations.

For example, many years ago Xerox developed many innovations in computing—but never truly received credit for their achievements in terms of their brand. On the other hand, Levi’s has been a very powerful brand, but failures to keep pace with innovations in styling eroded the brand’s value.33

In the long run, both innovation and branding are required for success, as shown in the sidebar, a 30-year tale of two companies: Harley-Davidson and Norton Villiers Triumph.34

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