“Begin with the end in mind” is a quote by the late Stephen Covey that every business or organization should adapt in their design making decisions. This might sound like a no-brainer. However, in my experience with clients, a lot of them seem to forget this. In this situation “the end” is the organization’s public or target audience. Why does this matter?
Simply put without your customers (target audience) your business or organization will cease to exist or exist without much substance. Yeah, that’s pretty much it, end of the blog you can now go back to surfing the net. Alright, I’m kidding there’s more to it. So, let me break it down. Your target audience determines your brand and your organization’s goals. This includes your design decision as well. However, by beginning with the end in mind you get to have a greater control in which direction your brand goes; which is what most clients who come to designers want anyway.
The downside is that a lot of clients come to designers with an idea of what they want, and are very adamant about having the designer create what appeals to them rather than what would work for their brand. Pretty much, it is not about you but what appeals to your target audience (your money makers). This attitude of "getting what I want" stems from the fact that a client is paying the designer to do work for them, as well as wanting to see a reflection of themselves in the design. While this sentiment is understandable, it becomes a problem when clients insist on overriding the designer’s professional expertise that would actually work in favor of their brand. An example of this is a client who owns a construction company insisting that his web designer uses a lot of nature, forest and ocean landscape images for his site because he loves it and thinks it looks beautiful. We all love nature, however, when the potential clients of that constructor come to visit his site, they would rather see images that reflect homes, office spaces or maybe a tree house.
Before going to a designer it’s best to decide who your target audience are, what your brand culture is and what kind of message you want to convey to your target audience. Why? Because your target audience is your money maker. A few things to consider with regards to the target audience is picking the specifics of your demographic. Your demography can consist of Hispanic women between the ages of 19-35, who are college graduates and live in San Diego, California. Knowing your target audience allows the design project to be more focused. Often times, when clients are asked who they want to reach they say something along the lines of, anyone who wants to patronize my business. Having a target audience doesn’t mean that people outside of that group won’t patronize your business. It just means you have an identity and brand that others want to be a part of. Why? Because you created one in the first place. This also helps the design process to flow better and allows you see how the designer’s decisions are aligning with your goals.
Once more remember, to begin with the end in mind. Satisfying your target audience and having them reward you with their loyalty is your goal and is what will keep you in business in the long run. This means that when you hire a designer they too have to design for that target audience first and foremost and you secondly. In what ways is your business putting the target audience first through your design choices?