behind the design
Striving to be different is the key to creativity amid fierce competition
I am very happy and excited to be offered a chance to write for "Behind the Design". The articles for this column will be based on what I have learned from my experience in marketing, where I was granted numerous opportunities to participate in designing products and services from consumer products to insurance, residential projects, and even multimedia advertisements.
These experiences have made me believe that many things that exist in this world came about solely because of our human capacity to design and invent things to satisfy our various needs, and also to differentiate ourselves from other players in highly competitive markets.
All of these reasons require designers to work harder each day, as the speed of change has rapidly increased. In the face of intensified competition, designers have to pay attention to details in everything from our thought processes to the way we create products and services so they meet and improve our daily needs and quality of life, as well as contributing to a better society and environment.
By employing various technologies to develop new things, and adapting technology in new ways faster than ever before, this new working norm poses great challenges to every designer. Designers today have to advance fast enough not just in terms of their capability to learn about new things, but also to develop the capability to relate and execute ideas with these new and rapidly changing technologies.
In his book "Marketing 3.0", Philip Kotler explains that the current era requires us designers to create relationships with customers in a variety of ways by harnessing various types of technology to bring about change. An example of Marketing 3.0 is the ability to improve on available technology so that one's version becomes the industry standard.
For example, mobile-telephone touch screens existed before the iPhone, but none of its predecessors were successful. With a user-friendly interface and numerous applications launched when high-speed Internet connections such as Edge, 3G and 4G became available, this confluence of functionality and a supportive environment enabled the iPhone to shift mobile-telephone users' values and expectations. Thus the most highly respected products are designs that are able to address and fulfil the deepest human needs.
In addition to designing with creativity, we have to dare to dream, to make decisions, and to push powerfully for ideas with persistency and passion, so our ideas become a reality. After all, success is not guaranteed.
Courage and tenacity were required to push bold ideas, such as when Asian Property developed townhouses in Bangkok's Soi Thonglor in the midst of the financial crisis in 1997, or when condominiums were first constructed on roads parallel to the Skytrain. These projects made consumers and property developers alike rethink their notions of urban life. These qualities, then, are crucial in ensuring that many new ideas continue to emerge.
The most important thing in designing for the modern age is the integrity of the design. Because of the constant flow of information flooding consumers today, the addition of bells and whistles to a project can contribute to a surge in short-term sales. However, in the long term, the strength of consumers' word of mouth is much more powerful because of their ability to voice their opinions through various channels. That is why having merely beautiful advertisements is no longer a sufficient marketing tool.
As the impact of advertisements today is lower and less capable of swaying consumer decisions, we have to return to fundamentals by creating products that have excellent value that can be trusted by our customers.
These issues are my general thoughts on designing new products for markets targeting younger consumers who will be the core market segment that will create sustainable, long-term growth for Asian Property Development.
In future articles, I will recount details of various things that have had an influence on designing valuable products and services that improved consumers' quality of life, and contributed to the developers' long-term profitability.