How Does AIDA Fit Into the Design Process?
Many executives, marketers, business people and designers believe that the best way to get things done in life is to create an “Aha Moment” when it comes to getting things designed. They often refer to this “Aha Moment” as a “iphany.” For some reason, the action-centric perspective of most designers seems to put the design on a higher pedestal than thinking through the big questions that are often asked by the customer before purchasing their product or service. The focus on the moment is clearly a problem.
One of the most common challenges that face marketing and business owners are being able to communicate the message and vision for their product or service in an appropriate language (business language). This is especially challenging if that message and vision are not communicated in everyday language such as the language of regular folks, which is more common in formal company settings like board meetings, corporate conference rooms, and trade show exhibits. How can one designer stay on task during a highly charged marketing or business development activity? The answer is that they must be able to think in an “Aha Moment” when it comes to designing products and services. Here is an example;
Marketing and business development professionals may need to work on a new product design. What is their best strategy for getting the message of the product designed and communicated? Will they use a formal AIDA format, which they first developed in the early 1950s? Would they be better served using the more flexible problem-solving approach that they employed in the past, when problem-solving actually meant designing solutions to real-life problems, rather than creating product designs? Perhaps a seasoned sales professional with experience in marketing and business development would be the best person to approach this “product design process” and suggest the best approach?
A critical component of any successful AIDA strategy is a sketch of the problem, with a list of the proposed solutions in sequential order. It is widely believed that the process of visualizing something on paper is much more difficult than actually doing it, and it is this difference in the conceptualization process that will have the greatest impact on the final product. In the case of a problem-solving approach, the sketched out logical model is the rational model. In the case of a problem-solving approach, the sketched out logical model is the Graphic Design Reference Model (GDRM).
A second critical component to a successful AIDA strategy is an action-oriented perspective. Most of the product designer and business development professionals I spoke with do not take an action-centered perspective during the product design process. This means that they fail to see the relationship between a sketched out logical model and a set of action-oriented requirements. It is only when these critical steps are followed that a product meets the original goal. In the case of marketing and business development professionals, however, taking an action-oriented perspective means being able to look at the problem from a more critical and thorough perspective.
One important difference between designing and problem-solving is that designers often feel they have a deeper understanding of their clients’ problems, whereas problem-solveters feel that they have a better idea of how to solve problems. It is therefore important for designers and problem-solvers to work side-by-side in order to achieve their solutions. However, this doesn’t mean that a designer or problem solver should share all of the responsibility for the design process. As my conversations with designers continue to suggest, the designer will often make the calls while the problem solver will need to be on hand to implement the ideas of the designer.