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Epicure Spring 2020

Grand Designs

Great digital designers take an evidence-based approach to tailor content strategically, say Fox Communication’s Ashley Pearson

Decisions of all kinds are increasingly made on screens — and with that shift comes an often-ignored consequence: the digital design can profoundly affect your business. When strategising about your brand – the right digital design is more than impactful – it is utterly essential. 

No longer just about function or visibility, digital design is increasingly the most powerful tool you have in which to amplify all areas of your brand. In many ways a great website and social presence is its own media campaign, working tirelessly as your chief marketeer. And whether it’s expressing your ethos and building trust, or impacting customer acquisition and conversion rates- the devil is in the details.

From layout to colour, from key messages and carefully chosen words, there are critical elements that work together in order to enable users to engage with your stories and to ‘buy in’ to your brand. 

According to a 2019 Gartner report, “88% of surveyed B2B customers report that the information they encountered during a recent purchase decision was high quality.” Today, standards and digital expectations are higher than ever; consumer behaviour has evolved, and the modern luxury consumer has emerged. As you have more millennials buying things — they aren’t buying magazines and reading ads, or watching adverts on the telly, they are checking Instagram and Googling what they want to buy.

Techs emergence in luxury has literally propelled a shift in the industry. By 2025, luxury online channels will more than double in their market value today (from 10 to 25 per cent), and nearly all luxury purchases will be influenced by online interactions, according to Bain.

The First Step: Defining Your Why

Simon Sinek’s iconic TED Talk highlights the importance of finding the ‘why’ that lies behind all that you do. He connects the dots between great leaders, exceptional brands, and the notion that people don’t buy “what you do, they buy why you do it.”

Once you can identify the core “Why?” of your organisation, crafting an effective brand story, authentic messages, and engaging content will come much easier.

Create Your Brand Story 

The average consumer encounter between 4,000-10,000 brands a day and only a handful leave an impression. 

Compelling stories and powerful visuals are a way to cut through the noise. When a website or a social media account is visually less than exciting or even worse looks out-dated, your first impression will not be a good one. You are identified immediately as who you are – what you stand for and your own personality.

Forgo standard templates – no matter how tempting – you need a custom website with a storytelling perspective and supporting visuals. It needs to feel authentic and accurate reflect your vision and perspective. This is the best way to make an impact on both the market and the consumer.

Social Media and Design

Social media has resulted in significant change in digital design, from adding social buttons onto websites to influencing how designs are shared. Social media allows people to connect with one another and more content than ever before – wherever they are. Using these platforms allows designers to determine exactly how engaging their audience finds new pieces, particularly in the case of graphic and digital design.

Now, via social media you can gain almost instantaneous feedback on new updates and designs. Many large tech companies like Facebook and Microsoft review this feedback in real-time to take it into account for the next redesign. This can also be seen in companies trying to make their products and services more appealing for Millennials and Gen Z’ers. This is often the case for banking services by companies like HSBC and Santander, each of the app redesigns take into account feedback from users, often received through social media, whether that is using Facebook messenger for help with how to find your transactions or complaints about features not working being shared publicly on Twitter.

User Experience and SEO

Good user experience (UX) design gives users what they say they want but great UX design solves their problems in unexpected and impactful ways.

Like websites that aren’t mobile-friendly, sites that are difficult to read on any device or desktop are going to turn people away quickly. Colour, font, background – and how readable it is on a mobile phone is all very important.

While many designers will ask users to fill in surveys to drive their next design, the great designers will use this feedback to inform redesigns and new designs.

By taking into account the data gathered through research and feedback you can design an engaging and interactive product that your users may not know they want.

Also, one of the reasons your rankings might not be as high as you’d like might be because your website is just too slow and people are bouncing quickly. 

Website speed is one of the most important aspects of technical SEO, and it’s a primary deficiency on many websites. When it takes longer than three seconds, as many as half the users visiting your site are likely to abandon it. Page speed is even more important on mobile devices, where people are even less likely to spend time waiting. Page speed is a known ranking signal used by Google. You can speed up your site by optimizing your images, eliminating unnecessary plugins, and allowing browser caching.

Good SEO practices include linking your website with keywords that apply to what your target market is searching for. 

Best SEO practices involve the use of research to figure out what links and keywords they are looking for. These should be implemented into a website, continuously updating these links to stay relevant and consciously, actively positioning content to elevate messaging and increase visibility in search results.

Conversion

Keeping track of conversion rates when analysing metrics of how a website is performing is critical to customer experience (CX). Because a conversion rate is directly correlated to how a user engages with the website, it is a vitally important factor when driving marking strategy.

Web design, when done the right way, has the power to directly affect these conversion rates. If a user is navigating a website and is not able to locate the information they are looking for – whether it doesn’t exist or they just can’t find it –it’s likely they will quickly leave and go on to a competitor’s website. You may have the exactly the product or service that they are looking for, but your website doesn’t get the message across.

Improving digital design using an evidence-based approach should be a strategic imperative for any organization that aspires to connect and engage their customers – and ultimately drive them to buy in. Digital design is today’s modern-day shop front window. And be assured, it is no longer just the icing on the cake- it is the key ingredient to success.

Spring 2020

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