It used to be simple. Producer had a product. Product was not that different from other products on a functional level. Advertising people came in and turned product into a brand. Giving the product an aura of specialness that helped marketers sleep tight mumbling happily ‘intangible emotional benefits’. But then things got more complicated. There was The Internet. There were Involved People. There was Dialogue. Opinion. After a period of confusion, luckily there were the advertising people again.

They looked a bit different though. They were interactive. But an interactive campaign is still a campaign. And the interactiveness didn’t solve the real problem: people being able to scratch away the brand layer, asking questions, being interested in proof instead of promise. Now the marketers were not the only people getting less sleep, the advertising people started to look grumpier too. But the truth is: they might as well start sleeping again. Since innovation won’t come from advertising agencies. The revolution is coming from design agencies.

Innovation won’t come from advertising agencies. The revolution is coming from design agencies

Why? First of all because they have a creative process that is totally product centred instead of campaign centred. Secondly, because if we strip away all the brand layers, design is what people buy.

Let’s go back to that simple place. In the bare essence: why would you buy a product with a certain producer? It’s the way a product looks (packaging design), it’s the way it works (product design), it’s the way you are treated (service design), it’s the way you experience the store (retail design) and it’s the way you are convinced (persuasion design).  So, if products and producers themselves are becoming more and more the real interest of consumers, marketers should invest in design to make products and themselves genuinely worthwhile again. And look for agencies that have design thinking at their core.