Service Design: Your Ticket to Brand Impact

Is service limited to the service industry? At first glance, the obvious response would be yes. However, limitations of this view become apparent when brands consider the business value of service in today’s world, especially as a framework for end-to-end brand development and delivery. Regardless of a business’ focus and offerings, the need for understanding and implementation of a clear, actionable approach to service delivery in realising a brand’s promise is indispensable; and the key to building an impactful brand experience lies in service design.

Service design and design thinking as customer-centric approaches have many things in common; they may, indeed, be easily confused. However, they differ on a markedly important level: whereas design thinking typically has a targeted feature, product or outcome in mind, service design takes a far more overarching and holistic view across all business inputs and experience points.

Co-ordination through Service Design

No matter the industry, there are various facets to a business – both internal and external­ ­­– which service design considers. Delivering an impactful experience that brings together all of these facets can be likened to putting on a stage production. There are many elements which lead to a successful production: in terms of human assets, there are the director, performers, technical advisors, promoters and many others; regarding physical assets, there are the stage settings, costumes, sound and seating. When considered holistically, these create a full experience that is not only well co-ordinated but memorable.

In the above example, the various elements of a production do not operate in isolation. In fact, they have to synergise in order to deliver on their goal – an impactful performance. The same is true of all businesses. Every organisation is made up of various elements: human, physical and systematic. However, organisations are far more than the sum of their individual parts. The interactions of all elements help drive success, creating opportunities for growth. How do the people in a department interact with one another – effectively or ineffectually? Is inter-departmental communication functioning at its peak, or is there room for improvement? When a business engages with customers or clients, are they delivering on their promise distinctively? Service design considers these questions and many more.

Distinctiveness through Service Design

Markets and media today are saturated with brands competing for attention. Consumers are increasingly inundated with superficial messages that reflect short-term objectives. Such efforts fail to break through as potential customers scroll past or simply block them altogether. To stand out in such a noisy space and create genuine engagement, businesses need to do more than declare how they differ from competitors – they need to deliver on their competitive advantage.

When businesses operate through the framework of service design, previously undiscovered insights come to light. Each area and participant in the value chain has its own understanding, needs, experiences and outcomes. However, when these apparently separate aspects of a business are harmonised through service design, space is created for genuinely unique insights to emerge. Most importantly, the service design ethos compels businesses to plan and execute in a consistently user-centric manner.

Service design, therefore, ensures more relevant, seamless customer experiences that drive real distinctiveness. When customers experience service delivery aligned with their needs as well as a business’ competitive advantage across every experience point, brand affinity emerges. And, when businesses focus on long-term impact, brand longevity is guaranteed. Apple, whose longstanding dedication to effortlessness and simplicity as manifested across every facet of the brand’s experience, illustrates this perfectly.

Futureproofing through Service Design

By considering every aspect involved in creating a meaningful customer experience, service design holds tremendous value for brand development today and into the future. In an era of content overload, it allows businesses to entrench their competitive advantage and fully engage with their audiences. It is truly the ticket to maximising your brand’s impact as it competes on the contemporary business stage.