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Today’s business environment is more competitive than ever before. Well-funded new entrants are shaking things up while incumbent leaders are using digital transformation to catch a second wind. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, you’re likely feeling some pressure to differentiate your business from the rest.

Looking to stand out in a crowded market? The answer might surprise you. It’s design, according to a McKINSEY & COMPANY report.

What exactly does McKinsey mean by design? Is a pretty, award-winning website what it takes to get ahead? Not quite. The report provides a new definition of design, calling it “a creative process driven by the desire to better understand and meet consumer needs." 

First, the numbers. McKinsey researchers assessed the design performance of businesses in its study using its online tool, the McKINSEY DESIGN INDEX. They found that over a five-year period, businesses with high MDI scores generated 32% more revenue and 56% more shareholder returns than their competition. The report also found that the design-driven growth was the same across all industries examined, proving that design matters whether your company is product- or service-based.

Tallying Up the Benefits of UX-Minded Businesses

A FORRESTER CONSULTING report digs further into the real impact of design, coming up with three advantages that positively affect the bottom line.

Advantage #1: More exposure. The report found that experience-led businesses have 1.6 times greater brand awareness. For smaller or newer companies in their markets, getting your brand name out there is half the battle. After all, prospective customers can’t buy your products or services if they can’t find you. Once brand awareness is no longer an issue, businesses can compete on the factors they can control, like price, quality, etc.

Advantage #2: Happier employees, to the tune of 1.5 times higher employee satisfaction. This is a big one. An article in FORBES shared that happy employees are 20% more productive. The talent shortage makes finding quality hires more difficult, so improving the experience of the ones you have is critical to retention. There’s no arguing that hardworking employees who stay with your company for longer periods are good for business.

Advantage #3: Happy, loyal customers. Along the same lines, Forrester found experience-led businesses have 1.7 times higher customer retention rates and 1.6 times higher customer satisfaction rates. There’s no denying the benefits of turning one-time customers into having loyal brand advocates. This is especially true in today’s world where online customer reviews or how people talk about your brand on social media can make or break a company.

How Your Philosophy on UX Drives Business Success

“No product is an island. A product is more than the product. It is a cohesive, integrated set of experiences. Think through all of the stages of a product or service – from initial intentions through final reflections, from first usage to help, service, and maintenance. Make them all work together seamlessly.” — DON NORMAN, inventor of the term “User Experience”

We love this idea that a product – whether that be a website, an app, or even an enterprise technology solution – should be thought of as a “cohesive, integrated set of experiences.” It helps brings to life the importance of design, in the context of how people interact with your product. This is a common belief shared by WunderLand Group’s own talent bench of UX designers.

Here’s three more shared views of great UX designers – and how your business can benefit from them, according to the McKinsey & Company report.

  • They think of design in the context of the bigger picture.

Consider for a moment everyone within your company who is involved in some part of the customer experience. They each have valuable feedback to share on how the experience could be better, whether it’s their own ideas or directly from customers. Your UX team’s success largely depends on its ability to communicate and collaborate with all of those people.

From the McKinsey report: One of the strongest correlations uncovered in the research was between top financial performers and those who have broken down functional silos to integrated designers within the business.

  • They understand design is an iterative process.

Every great experience involves testing and refinement over time. While designers need to tweak usability with every new release of features and functionality, there are also external factors within a customer’s environment that might create a need for change. Let’s take a mobile app, for example. UX designers may soon be tasked with optimizing usability for foldable phones from SAMSUNG.

From the McKinsey report: The Apple Watch, largely thought of the best smartwatch, is one among many products that have been tweaked to reflect how customers use them “in the wild.”

  • They design with purpose.

Each design decision should come from a user need and serve to improve the experience. Great design is striking a balance between things like how a product looks, what a customer can do with it and how easy it is to navigate. This balancing act is first and foremost, not the latest and greatest design trends.

From the McKinsey report: One online gaming company attributed a 25% sales increase to a small improvement in the usability of its website’s home page.

Do you have the right team of designers in place to carry out your UX strategy? WunderLand can help. REACH OUT to learn how.

For more information on job searching, contact WunderLand Group today.


WunderLand Group is a full-service staffing and project studio fully dedicated to helping your creative, digital, and marketing projects succeed. Our experienced team is here and ready to start creating opportunities and connecting creative minds.

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