Designing for Scalability: How to Use Content Design to Grow Your Startup
Content marketing has been around since the dawn of marketing, and it’s a tried-and-true way to scale your startup with minimal costs. From email newsletters to guest posting, content design plays an important role in marketing your business and boosting your bottom line. If you want to take your content design game to the next level, though, you’ll need to approach content design differently than most startups do. Here are three ways you can use content design to grow your startup.
Before we can figure out how to design our startup in a scalable way, we need to define what scalability actually means. Put simply, it’s about being able to adapt or grow your product or service in an effective and strategic way as your business grows. From a design perspective, that means keeping brand consistency at all costs. Our identity is one of our most valuable assets.
Defining content design
At it’s core, content design is a way of thinking about designing content that focuses on making it scalable. In essence, it’s like taking your beautiful hand-crafted digital product and wrapping it in Legos so more people can use and build on top of it. Graphic design is often linked to branding, typography and marketing. But, done right, graphic design should serve an idea or solve a problem through visual communication.
The power of words
Words have always been one of our most powerful communication tools. But lately, words haven’t been enough. Thanks to social media, we can now see a photo of our friend’s last meal or watch a YouTube video on how-to walk our dog. Simply put, today’s audience has become visual and needs more than words in order to understand your message.
The power of images
For example, consider a hypothetical startup called Plugg.me, which offers customers a set of pre-designed hardware and software components that can be assembled and plugged into any Internet of Things (IoT) device. Plugg’s strategy is to offer its products on a subscription basis so it can scale rapidly. To do so, it has invested in graphic design and copywriting services that help entrepreneurs quickly build their own IoT prototypes while adding value with style.
Putting it all together
The truth is that design isn’t about decoration—it’s about creating experiences. Whether it’s a website, a print piece, or an advertisement, design should be there to inform your users and move them in a direction that ultimately benefits your business. Design with scalability in mind as you plan out your projects so you can reap maximum rewards when you reach new customers and build relationships with existing ones.
Chappell, Mark. Design for Growth: A Design Thinking Toolkit for Managers. Burlington, MA: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers Inc., 2012. Print. Crumlish, Nancy, and Shelley Cronin. The User’s Journey. San Francisco, CA: Rosenfeld Media LLC, 2013. eBook File. Ferriss, Timothy A. The 4-Hour Workweek. New York: Crown Publishers Inc., 2009. eBook File Halligan, Brian and James Whitehead. Winning at Designing Products & Services: Innovation through Design Strategy . Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2010. eBook File Jager, Ronald M. Customer Experience Management 2nd Edition: Turning Customer Input into Innovative Ideas and Actionable Insights. Amsterdam ; Boston: Academic Press/Elsevier Science, 2011. eBook File Peppers, Don and Martha Rogers. Enterprise One to One: Tools for Competing in a Connected Economy. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Business School Press, 1997. eBook File Ries, Eric. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses. New York: Crown Business Publishing, 2011.
Most startup owners focus so much on creating a fantastic product that they forget about the importance of startup branding. If you want potential customers to choose your company over its competitors, you must first draw them in with the astonishing design.
It’s a story as old as the Internet. A budding startup owner or entrepreneur has an awesome idea. They spend months if not years tweaking their product, finding investors, and perfecting their elevator pitch. Everyone gets excited about the launch and then… nothing.
In 2019, the failure rate of startups was around 90%. Most owners quote financial issues, poor market positioning, and ineffective marketing as reasons for failure.
But, even if you do the research, find the right niche and target audience, and gather enough funds for product development, there’s no guarantee for long-term success. In fact, research suggests that **most startups fail after the fifth and tenth year **(50% and 70%, respectively).
This might be because while many startups become successful companies, only a few transform into successful brands.
In this article, we’ll explain what is branding, why it’s important for a startup, and highlight ways to use graphic design to strengthen your startup brand.
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