When it comes to your brand, you make a lot of decisions. And that’s natural, because it’s yours. But your brand was created to serve a specific group or audience. So, when designing for people, it’s important to remember it’s not always about you.

Designing – It’s about them.

Fundamental to success is actually listening to your audience. We’ve put together three case studies that demonstrate why listening is important, and what you can learn.

Ford

Henry Ford was determined to build a simple, reliable, affordable car; a car the average American worker could afford. It was his unique vision that led to the popularisation of the automobile. He was the right person, in the right place, at the right time.

Ford became known as the pioneer and master of the assembly line. He chose his materials strategically, doing everything in his power to improve efficiency. Cars were painted black as it dried fastest. Shipping crate timber was used as flooring. Excess seating fabric was salvaged for seat stuffing.

He once stated: “Time waste differs from material waste as there can be no salvage.”

For around fifteen years, Ford’s cost-cutting measures enabled a stronghold on the market. Less money spent on resources and materials meant customers could purchase cars at a lower cost.

But in 1923, something changed. People were given choice.

Alfred Sloan – of General Motors – realised GM could compete with Ford by focusing on style and offering customers the luxury of variety. So, GM developed a new paint known as DUCO, which came in a range of colours and had the same drying time as enamel. Sloan continued to offer people an escape from monotony when car radios went commercial, striving to ensure every car ride was a vacation.

What happened? GM overtook Ford in the number of cars sold – rather rapidly – and Ford’s still running behind today. On top of that, Ford’s resistance to change and to designing something current, different and up-to-date ultimately led to the termination of the Model T.

So, what’s the lesson?

If your market is moving in a certain direction, embrace the change. Audience insight can drive both product innovation and direction for future marketing.

Don’t be like Henry Ford. Never stand still.

Vegemite

If you don’t know what Vegemite is, Google it.

Created in 1922, Vegemite got off to a rocky start in competition with British marmite. After making it through that rough patch, it was instated as an Aussie icon and is now a beloved fixture in many pantries.

But towards the end of the 2000s, something happened. Sales were slowly declining and market share was dropping by almost 10%.

In an attempt to excite an audience spread thin, Vegemite thought it was time for a new product. So, they brought ‘Name Me’ to shelves, opening the naming process up to the average Coles and Woolies customers. And the name they landed on – iSnack 2.0 – was interesting.

designing

Australians did not respond well.

Fortunately for Vegemite, they managed to turn a disaster into a brand loyalty redemption exercise. iSnack 2.0 was quickly changed to Cheesybite after an online poll asked consumers to choose their new favourite name.

It’s important to note a focus group doesn’t always give you the information you need. Be ready to roll with the punches.

So, what’s the lesson?

It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s often the mistakes that will help you better understand how to approach new opportunities. If your audience responds to something you’re doing, pay attention.

Be like Vegemite. Listen to your customers.

Quiip

Let’s bring things back to a more relatable space with a favourite client of ours; Quiip.

This community management company specialises in building forums and connecting people in an incredibly personal way. They’ve built a reputation for managing high risk forums and social media pages for big brands, are a 24/7 team, are B-Corp Certified and were voted one of the coolest companies by Anthill.

Though they had a strong client base, Quiip’s CEO Alison wanted her business to grow, and to appeal to more audiences than they had before. To do that, she needed to know what was working with her existing brand and positioning, and what needed to change. How could Quiip unlock its potential and move towards new success? Was it time for a rebrand? A new look? Insight was key to planning next steps.

We conducted a market research survey and the results were enlightening.

Feedback proved people actually liked the brand – they just thought it could use a little refinement. So, we evolved the Quiip logo, gave them a teal to equal their dynamism, adapted their tone of voice to suit their personality, told a story through emotive imagery, and played up fun across collateral.

Quiip’s CEO has attributed a renewed interest in her business to designing this rebranding exercise.

So, what’s the lesson?

Sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest impact. An aggregation of incremental improvements can result in overwhelming growth and change.

Be like Quiip. Don’t reinvent the wheel; just add some oil.

Whether you’re a global brand, a yeast extract or an emerging business, listening to your audience and designing a plan with them in mind will help you grow.

And if you need help understanding what people need, just ask BEING.

You’re about them; we’re about you.

View the complete Quiip case study here.

Lean more about Quiip here.