Design now works alongside marketing as a “creative steward” for the entire brand experience, which is driving innovation and value for the pharmaceutical business.

Like marketing, design is often dismissed as the colouring-in department. It is seen as the function that makes packaging look pretty, but very little else. Certainly not a team that could work alongside marketing to help drive the strategic direction of a business.

“Design is very underutilised in most organisations,” claims Andrew Barraclough, GSK’s vice-president of design who reports directly to the company’s CMO.

“But design can be the creative glue within your organisation, and it can add significant value to shareholders and consumers’ lives because the core skills of a designer are about problem solving… It frustrates me that the industry doesn’t realise we can act strategically.”

He urges businesses to stop thinking of design as something that comes in right at the end of the process, “so everything gets done and then someone says, can you just make that shiny for me”.

Barraclough has been at GSK for eight years and in that time has revolutionised the way the business views design and its relationship with marketing.

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