Times are hard, businesses are going under left right and centre. For the lucky few still in business money is tight and most of them are looking to cut the fat and tighten their financial belts just to stay in the game.
Design seems to be one of the first things small businesses cut back on, it’s seen as a luxury only relevant for good times or big brands with big budgets. Larger businesses also cut back on this luxury item, preferring to focus budgets on other essential areas of their business.
The Tortoise and the Hare
This type of scenario reminds me of how some people try to keep fit,
Jan – March: Great enthusiasm
Apr – June: Loss of momentum start finding it hard to find time to workout.
July – Aug: Holiday inspiration,
Sep –Dec: Things get very hard, bad weather – low motivation.
Their keep fit routine is a real rollercoaster of activity, making gains then losing them. The point I am trying to make is, rather than going all or nothing and gaining ground then losing it, a far better approach would be to keep up a consistent flow of activity which could be adjusted depending on circumstances. Studies show that companies who cut their marketing and design budgets during a recession fall behind those who didn’t, so when the recovery does come they need to apply more effort to catch up.
Great things come from small beginnings
A strong brand can differentiate you from your competition without drawing you into competing on price, without it dropping your price, quality or something else might be your only option, also businesses that cut back on design could be damaging their reputation and long-term chances of success.
Picture this you decide to go out for a nice meal, you are not sure what restaurant to visit your favourite restaurant or the new restaurant that has just opened up in town, both serve very nice food, hard decision. You start by looking up both their websites to view their menu and opening times etc … times are hard your favourite restaurant decided not to get their site designed and branding up-dated properly, they got a friends brother to do it and the owner decides to take the Art Director lead, much cheaper option. You find that their site is very slow it’s also hard to find what you are looking for, things don’t look that good, poor food photography, hard to read, colour is a bit off and the up-dated branding doesn’t quite look right. On the other hand the new restaurant in town invested in their brand and got professional help, their site looks fantastic, very fast and easy to use, your mouth is watering just browsing through their photos and they also provide a very easy way to book your table and information on parking which you like. Where would you spend your money.