The evolution of design

Tech February 16, 2019 11:38

By Asina Pornwasin
The Nation Weekend 

9,392 Viewed

Adobe highlights the digital experience in forging links between designers and marketers in quest to drive sales

Adobe has made a commitment to small businesses in Thailand that it will help them improve their competitiveness through better design, including through bringing together designers and marketers. 

Michael Stoddart, director of market development for Asia Pacific, says the longtime software developer will improve the local experience with digital software, leading to a positive business impact.

Digital experience is important to commercial business, he says, and Adobe views collaboration between designers and other business departments as creating the potential for a leg up on the competition. And Adobe has the digital tools to make that happen, he says.

“Adobe is a ‘digital experience’ company that delivers digital experiences digitally,” said Stoddart.

It is great time for design, because customers and the world in general understand that good experiences increase revenue and impact the bottom line, he says. Large companies in Southeast Asia and in Thailand realise that their relationships with customers depend on great user experiences, and that those experiences are managed and produced by designers. 

In the past, you could just have something made to look good, but now that everything has gone digital, designers think in particular ways – through the “design thinking process”. Designers today see that they can help a business not just by making a pretty website, but also by considering how their client’s customers find out about the business. They consider how they can get the potential customers to go to the website, how to treat them when they are there, how to deliver the services, and how to treat them after they purchase and engage with the designer.

Stoddart points to a McKinsey Quarterly report, “The Business Value of Design” from October 2018, which found that a company that placed value on design could get a 12 to 16 per cent better year on year return. While that is not huge, he said, in a competitive market the better designed websites and apps can increase the return for shareholders.

Companies are starting to appreciate the value of design, says Stoddart. Design used to be how something looked, but now is about how something works. It does not just make something pretty, but creates value for the business.

“We want to enable designers to be good designers across a broader range of design skills, such as print, digital, video, user experience, 3D and so on, by removing some of the burdens of production,” said Stoddart.

In Southeast Asia and Thailand, the digital economy is exploring opportunities and how digital transformation can help create success through good user design, he says. It is a great time for Adobe and for the Thai marketplace. 

Marketing faces the challenge, called the content velocity problem, of requiring a lot of content. Personalisation is driving the content velocity to design in 100 or 200 different pieces, and this in turn requires that a website or app having several different designs. Artificial intelligence and machine learning can help solve the content velocity problem, which is being driven by marketing. To solve the challenge, the marketer needs to see the designer as a business partner, says Stoddart.

“We expect anybody can be creative and can find some value from Adobe Creative Cloud. 

“Tools for the Creative Cloud are not just Photoshop and Illustrator for designing; they are also Spark for the marketer and Rush for the video maker. Creative Cloud is for the professional person who use Adobe to make content, and also for anybody who needs to express their creative idea or to create content such as a marketer, businessman, builder, architect, engineer, lawyer, student, and so on,” said Stoddart.

The priority for Adobe is social media marketing, because designs now have an immediate impact on business. Design is not just about having a well-designed website, it is a well-designed experience and can give 2- to 3-per cent better income. Marketers are people who implement designs in business. In terms of design, the marketing part of business could be a commercial using a creative professional. 

Combining the professional creative team and the marketing team is a significant part of many organisations. The digital organisation requires training and resources to generate the creative output.

“Under Adobe Creative Cloud, we have a wide range of products that help every part of a commercial unit of the organisation to produce creative designs for the business. The first challenge is to convince [the decision-makers] that design can help business performance. The other challenge is to not use Adobe’s tools in the same way as in the past. Adobe is not just Photoshop and Illustrator, previous iterations of which were difficult to use and costly. Photoshop is one product of the 23 in the Creative Cloud – they can’t be complex, they are easy to use and give powerful outcomes,” said Stoddart.

A lot of people might think that Adobe is difficult to use, and it is a big challenge for Adobe to reverse this. Adobe has tools that are really easy to use both on the smartphone and desktop computer. 

“We need to build brand community and to create applications. We need to make it easy for everybody using our tools; behind this is 35 years of trust in Adobe for doing the creative things,” said Stoddart.

The number-one trend now is video. Some people think video is hard. Adobe’s Rush tool for creating video, is not just for social media marketing – video can be created and used across the business for better communication. 

“We are the company that’s completely digital, we know out customers, we have data on everything we do.”

Adobe is not just the Photoshop software company, it is a partner to help businesses find the time to build value. It has a consulting team to help businesses benefit from using its tools to creative a business impact, such as improving email marketing and improving communication and results between designers and marketers.

In Thailand, Adobe is looking to expand their local partners to help penetrate the market, he says. 

“We allow the individual to drive digital transformation through the community, and hope they become an evangelist for digital transformation,” said Stoddart.

“We use an AI system called Sensei to make our software work faster and to allow our customers to work faster. Adobe Sensei further automates customer experience management, which helps retailers work smarter and faster,” said Stoddart.

For example, Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Analytics Cloud enable retailers to more easily personalise ads based on a potential customer’s shopping behaviour, loyalty programme status and more. Also, the new Adobe Sensei-powered capabilities enable retailers to manage, optimise and report on search ad campaigns specifically for retail promotions and events.