Every product communicates characteristics of their brand. It is what they say about their brand that can form a relationship between a company and a consumer.
The challenge to businesses is to develop products that clearly convey both their product and their brand value while delivering a unique experience. When a consumer buys a product, they are really investing in a brand and buying all that the brand has promised.
Design leadership ensures that the product speaks to the user – creating a connection and sparking a relationship – offering a promise that the user can count on. By creating product experiences that truly mean something to their users, executives can effectively grow their product lines, their brands, and, in-turn, their businesses.
A product’s design—including its features, form, and price point—can only achieve so much.
To develop products that engage and deliver on a brand’s promise, business leaders need experienced, knowledgeable, and capable experts to guide them. Design leaders offer a holistic approach and a fully integrated product development model that identifies, clarifies, and realizes a product’s soul and potential—and then delivers that message to a user in a way that invites interaction and fosters reciprocal relationships.
Design leadership makes a difference in more ways than one:
Design Leaders Lead
Design leadership is not design management. While design management is concerned with processes, design leadership is focused entirely on outcomes—namely, an experience that connects with users and maximizes the business opportunity. It’s the ability to simultaneously see the big picture and the minutia—guiding stakeholders through the dynamic, sometimes fluid, and often chaotic product development lifecycle.
Design Leaders are Advocates
A design leader is a champion for the user and a steward of the product experience. Their mission is to embrace the chaos, confront the inevitable challenges, and never stop fighting for the product’s integrity and soul.
Rather than separating the product, the user, and the experience in silos, IDM works to create immersive, emotional product experiences.
Design Leaders Turn Experiences into Connections
When a user engages with a product in a positive way, they not only accomplish a task or achieve an objective. Something “clicks,” and a connection happens.
For business executives, these connections are gold. A great experience fosters brand loyalty—encouraging consumers to buy more and to buy often. It also enhances a product’s real and perceived value—giving buyers more than enough justification for paying a premium price.
IDM designs emotional connections that transcend the objects themselves. They look beyond trends and instead search for opportunities to create deeper, more satisfying interactions that simplify, enrich, and delight.
Design Leaders Shape a Product’s Soul
Think of a photograph. Its physical form is nothing more than a piece of paper, and yet an experienced photographer can connect deeply with their viewer through composition, color, and subject. These photographs do more than tell a story. They take on a life and meaning of their own. They ignite all the senses and trigger visceral responses. In the same way, products are more than capable of speaking to us on a profound level. When they do that, they’re said to have a soul. Design leaders know how to manipulate forms and other cues to reveal a product’s essence.
Design Leaders Communicate What Can’t Be Seen
As design leaders, IDM both clarifies and amplifies a brand’s story and expresses the product’s soul. With certain products, however, the brand promise is less explicit and may even be overlooked. The most successful user interfaces, for example, are often described as “intuitive” or “transparent.”
Other times, the story lies just beneath a product’s surface—and must be brought to light through subtle (or not-so-subtle) signals to the user.
That’s what happened when IDM teamed up with Biamp to show off their Parlé Beamtracking Microphone technology.
As a leader in AV technology, the CEO of Biamp believes in delivering intimate, meaningful product experiences for his loyal community of discerning tech clients.
Biamp’s new beam-tracking technology promised to change the competitive landscape. So, the CEO wanted the product’s exterior to voice what the advanced tech on the inside could not.
Believing it was possible to create a smaller assembly, IDM advocated for a slimmer, more elegant exterior case that would convey clarity and sophistication. When Biamp’s engineers expressed their concerns around the ambitious size restrictions, IDM empowered the team to look past conventional solutions and pushed for the seemingly unobtainable.
To further illuminate the product’s soul, IDM envisioned a seamless, glowing ring of LED light around its circumference. The concept was to inspire 360 degrees of confidence in the user by symbolizing an unbreakable communication connection. After testing several executions that failed to deliver on the intended promise, IDM ultimately invented the tech to make it happen.
When an organization lacks design leadership, everyday conflicts threaten to compromise the product and the brand message. By partnering with IDM, Biamp’s CEO got a product development executive at the table to help navigate the process. IDM negotiated strategic trade-offs rather than arbitrary compromises—ultimately adding value and preserving the product and brand integrity.
When a business has a product with a story to tell and an audience to engage, design leadership offers an ally, an advocate, and an invaluable asset.
With the confidence that comes from having a design leader over the entire development process, executives are free to pursue bigger, bolder opportunities for growth, value, and true innovation.
And then, they can move forward knowing that everyone will be aligned around the vision, the promise, the product experience, and the soul that transforms ordinary interactions into transformative relationships.
Anne likes things neat and tidy. As an avid gardener, she knows a pristine landscape doesn’t happen by chance—there’s always someone pruning, watering, and tending to the details. Anne is that person for IDM. “I shape things,” she says, “often behind the scenes, to make sure we deliver what we promise.”
At IDM, Anne works to “make excellence a habit” by overseeing our ISO certification program. She also helps cultivate a culture focused on customer satisfaction—whether that “customer” is internal or external. With her self-described “relentless smile” and what Frank Lloyd Wright calls “an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen,” Anne keeps us alert, on our toes, and bringing our very best each day. “I love working with bright people who are passionate about what they do,” she says.
When she’s not digging in the dirt, you might find Anne nurturing her love of reading at the local library.