When times are tough, the inclination is to cut discretionary spending to things like design and brand marketing. Not so fast says a new report out by the Design Council. The UK study reports that half of businesses:
… are looking to design their way out of downturn
Over half (54%) of the firms in our survey thought design would contribute to a large or great extent in helping maintain their competitive edge in the current economic climate.
… think design is more important now
Similarly, 53% thought that design had become more important in helping the firm to achieve its business objectives over the last three years.
… think design is integral to the economic performance of the UK
The same number agreed or strongly agreed that design is integral to the country’s future economic performance.
During challenging times, investments in creative, including advertising and brand development may in fact give a business a competitive edge over rivals who are reining in their design and innovation budgets in order to save money.
With the credit markets slowly showing signs of thaw, design firms must step up their efforts in promoting brand solutions that deliver both creatively and economically. It seems even big corporate CEOs agree.
American Express chief executive Ken Chenault told Fortune magazine:
A difficult economic environment argues for the need to innovate more, not to pull back.
Similarly, in September 2008 following a crisis in the global financial markets and in the face of an impending worldwide recession, Intel’s chairman Craig Barrett told Reuters:
We’ve always had the attitude that you have to make that investment in good times and bad.