Good management improves identity issue

Jeremy Myerson’s piece, The Identity Parade (DW 27 October) on Wally Olins’ and Minale Tattersfield’s latest offerings on the subject of identity, bring to mind a quote from Pride and Prejudice by Mr Bennett… “May I ask whether these pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are the result of previous study?”

The identity issue never went away. While design consultancies re-trenched after the damaging public debate on corporate identity, the client was left holding the baby. Jeremy touched on the real issue, misunderstood and ignored by both clients and the industry, and that is the management of the design process.

Design management of an identity programme has to be an integral component of leadership marketing strategies, which uses the identity to realise an objective to improve market share through differentiation, quality products and consistent messages.

The role of the design manager is critical if these key objectives are to be realised. Yet often the design manager is left out of the process, because marketing or product managers fail to appreciate the need for maintaining the stability of the corporate brand, not only when it is managed within a corporate identity function, but in all functions responsible for specifying the application of the identity. Correctly managed, identity and company image will be strengthened.

But only by communicating the strategic importance of design, and allowing it to become a constituent part of all business disciplines, will organisations start to see the real benefits.

Let’s see a greater focus on teaching design management skills and encourage a rise in standards within organisations. That way identity will become an everyday issue, rather than an impulse.

Christine Drake

Design consultant

International Design Management

London SW6

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