— Frank Chimero
What Frank Chimero means when he says that people ignore design that ignores people is that without a human charge, design is irrelevant. If you aren’t moving and motivating people by showing them a different glimpse of themselves or their wants/needs, you aren’t using design to benefit your business.
I know using the word design seems abstract, but design is a concept hard to make concrete. What every business owner, and every person, needs to remember is that everything is designed; from your coffee cup to your computer to the books your read. A lot of it is bad. Only a little bit of it is memorable – and that’s where you want to be.
Take the Los Angeles-based Weingart Homeless Center. A non-profit organization with a limited budget, Weingart used their marketing dollars very carefully with this campaign (click either image for a larger view):
“To raise awareness for the Weingart Homeless Center, they took a non traditional approach that made people imagine themselves homeless if only for a moment. They photographed a dozen of the 70,000 people living on the streets of Los Angeles. They gave each of them a blank cardboard sign and had them write the same message: “Before you turn away, put yourself in my place.” Followed by the URL, weingart.org. Then they took those images, blew them up life-size, removed their faces and made them into photo-realistic cardboard cutouts. They placed the cutouts in upscale shopping centers in Beverly Hills and Santa Monica. Soon the homeless could not be ignored. This project not only raised awareness, but it ultimately raised funds.” – Via adgoodness.com
These life-sized, cardboard cut outs are hard to ignore. Pulling on the heartstrings of bystanders helps ease donor-apathy and increase interest in a cause. They made themselves memorable by going a nontraditional route and because of it, were able to increase their visibility and gain new donors.
Non-profit or not, as a business owner you should begin thinking of ways to use your advertising dollars to get the most out of your money. First, think about your product or service. Then, think about who might need it and when or where they might wish they had that product or service. When you’ve pin-pointed those key areas, you’re ready to brainstorm ideas that meet your customers where they already are.