The Design Council's Leading Business by Design report (November 2013) showed that the more strategic the use of design, the greater the benefit to a business. It's easy to create communication that looks great - but in order for it to be effective, a design strategy ensures that everything produced communicates the correct and consistent message. Here are 5 steps you can follow to start using design more strategically - before any creative should begin. 

1. Identify the challenge you want to resolve

Look at both external and internal factors - opportunities and risks, strengths and weaknesses. Is the challenge to generate greater efficiency / grow sales / expand into new markets? Where is the business now, and where does it need to get to? A design strategy will be most effective when it is integrated alongside the overall business strategy.

2. Know your core market

Who do you want to talk to, and who are you talking to now? Where is your market?

3. Provide clarity in what you offer

What are you solving for your core market? Is your product or service offer really clear for this market, can they easily understand what they can buy from you?

4. Define message

Taking into account the above, develop the message that needs to be communicated across your collateral. Why should they buy from you?

5. Create relevant communication

The creative work produced should be judged against the above four steps - what will attract your core market, what kind of information do they want to receive and how do they want to receive it?