Aesthetics and Design

By Ron Burgess – October, 2002

Aristotle observed,

“It all starts with the eye.”

Every time a buyer makes a decision, it is a multi-sensory experience. Aristotle observed that, “It all starts with the eye.” Meaning that before we process information about a product, determine the integrity of the salesman , or considering the price , we take in environmental stimuli. The old saying “you only have one chance to make a first impression,” re-states Aristotle’s maxim.

A book by Alex Simonson and Bernd Schmitt, Marketing Aesthetics, The Strategic Management of Brands, Identity, and Image, raises the ante on product and corporate image. The notion that corporate image is important is not new to many. However, Schmitt and Simonson show how the aesthetics of company and product in fact are crucial to the highest levels of success. If you as a business executive or owner have ever had doubts about your budget for corporate image, instruction booklet graphics, product labeling, or lobby design, this book makes a case for even the most tight fisted controller to embrace.

The total aesthetics and design supporting product positioning are clearly the major differentiation between you and your competitor’s products. Assuming the quality and service are appropriate for the market positioning, the aesthetics complete the sale. “Aesthetics offers strong, multiple, specific, and tangible benefits to organizations,” according to Marketing Aesthetics.

These assets include:

  • Loyalty, the experience is one of the major “satisfiers” to the buyer.
  • Premium Pricing—Due to aesthetics, the perceived value is increased by properly positioned products. Aesthetics cut through information clutter—with thousands of images daily bombarding our lives, only the best are remembered.
  • Aesthetics build bonds with customers that protect against competitive attack.
  • Increased employee satisfaction and longevity. Comprehensive aesthetic marketing includes buildings, work spaces, correspondence and transportation. Employees are more efficient, and can be tougher to lure away by competitors.

These are concrete and monetary benefits which cannot be explained on a financial statement. Yet hundreds of companies know that the aesthetic benefits are real and carefully craft entire companies around a careful conceived aesthetic concept.

Marketing “all starts with the eye,” but ends with the ear, the nose , emotion, touch, and finally the dollar. In a market place crowded with products, and customers that are sophisticated, the higher degree of image is the aesthetic one. It’s a vital strategic edge in creating perceived value.

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