TCG Roadmap: Agent of Change Part 1

Communicating the Value of Design

Communicating the value of design to senior executives and throughout the organization is a responsibility shouldered by creative leaders. Those from SAS and Unilever provided insight into ways creative leaders can heighten their teams’ exposure:

SAS: An Integrated Approach

Thoughts from Steve Benfield, senior creative director, SAS

• Support comes from the top

“Fortunately at SAS, our executive team knows and understands the value of great creative work. In fact, our CEO, Jim Goodnight, co-wrote an article on creativity in the workplace for Harvard Business Review.”

• Design is fully integrated throughout the company

“We recently launched a new internal brand site for all employees. In addition to providing a holistic view of the organization’s brand foundational elements like mission, vision and corporate values, there is significant attention given to visual identity and design, and its importance to our business. The new site is functional as well as beautifully designed.”

• And it doesn’t hurt to be surrounded by inspiring art

“Because SAS has one of the largest corporate art collections in existence, employees are surrounded by great art and design every day. Incorporating creativity and great design into everything we do at SAS is part of our brand.”

Unilever: What’s in a Name?

Thoughts from Sharon Reiter Lindberg, senior design manager, Unilever

• Department title breeds new thinking

“We have chosen to call our team ‘Visual Branding’ instead of ‘creative services’ at Unilever to promote the value of design and design management across the organization.”

• An “education” in the importance of design

“Visual Branding has given presentations to other internal groups to help them understand how we add value and how the design process works: For example, we have given a presentation to our entire marketing team to demonstrate what we do in the Visual Branding Center. We spoke about everything from the signage in our campus buildings to creating multimedia presentations for our senior management. Basically, we covered every service our Visual Branding group provides so other groups understand the breadth of our work. Visual Branding also brings in outside experts and colleagues to talk to our entire marketing team about trends in packaging or design.”

• A global effort

“We try to show the value of consistent global brand design at Unilever, and reach out as design managers to impact our brand’s overall design globally. It’s important to let others outside of our local business groups know what expertise we can offer to their teams because Unilever is, of course, a global company. Many of our brands do touch all corners of the world — and each must speak with a consistent visual language.”