What's coming

It’s a brave new virtual world. Or is it?

Australia is just coming out of lockdown with all the pundits predicting we will never go back to the old way of analogue communication. The virtual decade is upon us!

The home schooling experts see it differently. There are some very large figures being bandied around that show the loss in productivity from the closure of schools and the online delivery of classes at home. There are many anecdotes of students missing the classroom and their friends. The same sentiment is being expressed by workers.

Accenture in some recent research commented that

Some, maybe many, will feel discomfort at being virtual. Home working is not a habit for the majority. Not everyone will work virtually—for example farmers, delivery drivers and factory workers. Use of video can be uncomfortable with awkward distractions — kids in the background, dogs barking or bad hair days.

Zoom recognised the privacy issue in their zoom meetings and developed virtual backgrounds to give privacy. It certainly beats seeing the washing hanging on the indoor clothes line in the background.

One agency owner commented to me remote working had decreased the collaborative spirit they had worked hard to build in their studio. Having to constantly request zoom meetings to get feedback was tiring and counterproductive.

Pivot to compete

In a webinar I recently watched one of the presenters said he was trying to work out how design needs to change to take account of the screen that is a blocker in person-to-person communications.

I think we pivot back to the future.

Perhaps we as designers have become too lazy and digital centric. Perhaps we shouldn’t spend more time working out how to keep people locked into screens. It’s now the most hotly contested space for eyeball time. Why not find an alternative way to gain attention.

Here’s how it has been done

A Melbourne based hiking store in Little Bourke St worked hard to gather names and addresses when they made a sale. These were then fed into a direct marketing campaign. Within a week of making a purchase the buyer received a direct mail postcard. It promoted a special price for an item related to what they had bought. Hiking boots had a special offer on multiple pairs of hiking socks etc. It also had a map that showed how they could get from their home to the store via a number of ways – walking, cycling, public transport.

They used a data merge printing process that very cheaply allowed for personalisation. The printing and delivery cost per item was just a few dollars.

The store dramatically increased sales and increased the lifetime value of their customers.


Is now the time to look at alternative media – go back to design for the printed page to get attention from clients and their clients/customers?

Why not start with your own direct marketing campaign. Demonstrate your ability to gain attention through a printed campaign.

If you want to learn more about how the DBC is helping the Australian design community contact Greg Branson.

Greg Branson

Contact Greg Branson if you would like to learn more about the many programs the DBC offers.

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Greg Branson

Greg’s passion is the research and development of methods that improve design management and the role of design in business.

Greg has developed The Design Business School to help owners manage their business better along with showing designers how to get more involved in the studio and develop their career path. Contact Greg.