In a climate where we are constantly inundated with information, our instinct is to assess and judge quickly. Absorbing content through in-depth reading is uncommon, and attention spans are short. In acknowledging this aspect of the modern world, how can businesses reach their intended audience and communicate in a meaningful way?
Business can only happen when a connection is made between the audience and the product or service. As previously stated, the challenge is reaching the audience through an influx of dense information, all while communicating the right message. To appropriately captivate a target audience, a business must present itself in a way that resonates with them.
The best way to understand how a business is perceived by its audience is through the "iceberg theory.” Businesses are complex, and filled with information about themselves, their goals, their products, and their services. However, a customer encountering a business for the first time cannot see these “beneath the surface” details. Like the tip of the iceberg, only a small sliver of a business is visible upon first glance.
This is where design comes in. Though it is not the bulk of a business, design is the visible portion of it. A designer’s job is to recognize the “tip of the iceberg” limitation that exists in audience perception. Then, the designer analyzes complexities from beneath the surface and reflects them in a distilled, clarified, and simplified manner. With this holistic process, business has the opportunity to happen, as information is made understandable and visual.
Making Your Business Understandable
Success can be measured by whether your audience understands how your business benefits them. If a connection is not made between the intended audience and the product or service, business will not happen. Understanding is not automatic; businesses, while made with specific purpose to help a certain user, do not always come equipped with a digestible presentation in which their audience can immediately grasp the information they need. Design solves this problem by learning and working through the complexities, and producing representations that a target user will more easily understand.
Making Your Business Visual
What goes into visualizing a business? A common misconception is that a design can be done as decoration without meaning. However, if design becomes random or arbitrary, a business can run the risk of conveying the wrong idea to their audience. Visual perception is powerful; users are prompt in making assumptions based on what they see. It is imperative to leverage this with impactful design that communicates clearly, so that what a user sees accurately reflects the business and what it is able to do.
Making Your Business Happen
While the visual identity of your business is only the tip of the iceberg, it is a point of entry: a gateway or a bridge into learning more about the business and its functions. When the introduction between the business and customer is successful, a dialogue is created, and your business gains the opportunity to be understood and appreciated by your audience.
Janet Odgis is the President and Creative Director of Odgis + Co, an award-winning certified woman-owned design firm based in New York City. For 30 years she has worked with some of the world’s most prestigious corporations reinventing ways to define and express their brand. We Make Business Beautiful.