The Guide

How a Bookkeeping Agency Goes Start-to-Finish with a Design Driven Business Strategy

May 5, 2016

We all know great design is one of the most important elements when it comes to building a great brand. But how do you do it? How do we make that happen? We recently had the opportunity to speak with Bench, one of Vancouver’s most successful design-oriented brands, about that very challenge.

1. It starts by doing things that don’t scale. While it’s important that you grow your community in a way that allows you to sustain business operations, it’s even more important that once you acquire a user, you delight them. This can be the difference between success and failure. What are the things that will make your users the happiest? Find those and execute flawlessly. For Bench, this means the highest quality of design no matter what.

“It’s about designing an experience that our users love,” says Natalie Burgwin, Director of Communications at Bench. ”If marketing isn’t beautiful then it’s not worth doing.”

2. Design and branding aren’t separate disciplines. “When it comes to our product and user experience,” says Burgwin, “and the way that the users feel when they interact with our brand, well those are the most important things.”

3. Use design to reach your vision. Brands can use design to transform themselves into vehicles for realizing bigger aspirations. If you want your company to succeed, frame the way you want to change the world, and make it come to life in your user experience.

For Bench, Burgwin says it comes down to this: “We believe commerce is a tool that you can yield to make the world more beautiful.”

4. Design is often initiated top down. Great design emerges from all levels of the company, but it’s essential that it has support at the executive level. “Great design stems from our leadership team,” says Taby Cheng, Digital Media Producer at Bench. “Bench has incredible design leadership. This match-up, with design being so highly valued from the top, means we improve customer delight and business outcomes at the same time.”

5. Develop an internal and fully integrated design organization. It’s not enough for design to be valued only on the design team. When the entire company has a design-first mentality it can be truly revolutionary.

“Everyone at Bench puts a big emphasis on quality,” says Cheng. “We all care about how Bench is reflected and how the brand personality comes through creatively.”

6. Invest in design that reinvents the brand. Companies of all sizes can have a hard time getting certain things done, especially when it comes to making decisions about getting something to your users and getting something incredible to your users. This dilemma can be daunting. While it’s important to launch certain things quickly and just to get them done, when it comes to user experience and brand, you must be relentless in the pursuit of quality. Bench has worked with our team to rent out a number of top tier spaces for photo shoots and productions because they believe in the value of making things that are beautiful. “For us the investment is completely worth it,” says Cheng. “We’ve rented out spaces like the Cabinet Warehouse, A Gastown Studio, and Little Mountain Shop because they allow us to bring our creative projects to life.”

While these nuggets of branding wisdom may be a fresh way of thinking about design for some, they’re important for all those who want to build a great brand and make life better for their community of users.

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