Setting Brands Apart with Service Design

August 5, 2016

Service design is what sets one brand apart from another. To prove the point, think about the answers to the following: Where do you get your morning coffee? And why there? The answers may surprise you. According to Marc Fontijn, co-founder of the Dutch firm 31 volts, “When you have two coffee shops right next to each other that each sell the exact same coffee at the exact same price, service design is what makes you walk into one and not the other.”

In other words, service design is what sets one brand apart and hooks a consumer. But this isn’t just another term for good marketing. Rather, it is an ethos that permeates throughout a brand and that allows the brand to deliver valuable experiences to consumers, which they will return to again and again.

Apple and Nike are masters of service design. These global brands create memorable experiences for their customers. That’s what’s made them a household name with phenomenal growth.

It’s Service Design, Stupid

UX Magazine has detailed four ways in which service design is more than just good marketing.

  1. While traditional marketing focuses on the four Ps (product, price, promotion and place), its modern rendition also includes three other Ps: participants (both employees and customers), processes (how an interaction unfolds) and physical evidence (whether an interaction with a brand is face-to-face or online).
  2. While marketing is about a brand developing and maintaining relationships with customers, design puts customers first, often designing services around them.
  3. While market research looks for customer insights to drive business, designers use those insights as building blocks for designing the aesthetics of service experiences.
  4. While marketers often have backgrounds in the social sciences, designers typically come from art and design schools.

Focus on designing memorable experiences for your consumers, and your brand will have an advantage over others that just zero-in on marketing.