REFLECTIVE ESSAY

 

This essay is my personal reflective which base on what I have learned. The creative and cultural industries play a significant role in nowadays economic in recent society (Cultura, 2009). I am highly interested in the art market and the creative related industry. What I want to do is to start my own business, which is a multi space combining the gallery space and the coffee shop business in five years. In order to make my dream come true, there are several skills I need to observe in these years. First of all, my design background might help me a little bit, but I still need to consider problems with design thinking skill and train myself to solve problem with user experience. Second, the business model requires full knowledge of marketing communication skill, advertising skill and branding strategy. Those parts are I got the main idea of this module, but I still need time to improve. For these areas I want to raise my knowledge range before I actually run a business. In this essay, I will demonstrate all these areas and explain what I have learned and why these subjects are vital to me. After all, I will illustrate what I want to continue focusing on the future.

Design thinking
According to the theory of Tim Brown, he explained that design thinking applies designer’s sensibility to match the need for people, using technologically possible and business strategy to reach the goal of increasing customer value and market opportunity (Brown and others, 2008). That is to say, design thinking is using the design method to solve the problem and achieve the aim of customer value and further opportunities. However, there is an interesting question coming up, why we need to apply the design thinking method to solve problems, what is the major difference of this kind of creative thinking rather than traditional thinking? John Maeda, a programmer, artist, and former president of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), he explained that creative thinkers are with higher willing to learn from mistake rather than a regular thinker (Maeda, 2014).

Both theories of Tim Brown and John Maeda could link to our course. How to use design thinking to solve the problems to reach the value and truly understand the power of the creativity is a major issue in our course for sure. One of the workshops happened in our first term could be a perfect example. At the very beginning of our course, the guest speaker Eewei Chen lead went through a one-day workshop. On that day, he first introduced us the process of how to apply the ideas, cooperate with teams and fulfil the aim of providing a solution for museum to increase the visits. As an industrial design background student, I am already familiar with the process of brainstorming. But the aim of this workshop is totally different; the final outcome is to provide a solution for museum to increasing the number of the visitors rather then designs a beautiful product with function. The aim of this workshop is more about how to increase the ‘value’. During that workshop, Eewei lead us from brainstorming, define the persona, shape the business model for each team and we need to pitch the ideas in a short period of time. This workshop is a brand new experience for me. This is my first time to go thought the whole project from brainstorming, problem solving, and idea pitching in a limited time and with totally unfamiliar people all from different background and different home country. That’s not all, from this experience I could finally get the brief idea of the true meaning of design thinking and realize the importance as well. This workshop shop is definitely a useful worn up for the following learning.
Turning to the future business I want to run, no matter what kind of business goal I want to achieve, applying design thinking is definitely necessary for me in the future. Maybe I won’t start my business in short time, but what I could do is to train myself to think differently and try to avoid the traditional answer but using creative way to solve the problems.

User experience
User experience nowadays presents itself as a vital role in the creative industry.
According to Flowers (2014), he explained that user experience design is the connection between three areas, which is business, technology, and the most relevant design. What user experience designer does is to find the user’s need and link those aims and solve the problems by well communication with the sectors of design, business and technology (Flowers, 2014). That is, user experience is applying these three sectors to satisfy user’s need.

ux
During the module of designing a business, our team ‘Le petit sac’ not only designed our product, we had our own Facebook, twitter and instagram account. That is not all, we created our own website. When our potential target audiences first touch our product, visit our Facebook page, the power of the user experience is already building up the connection between the our brand and our potential costumers. Before we designed the website, we need to consider what is the most essential thing our costumers want to receive, is the user interface designed with user-friendly concept? Is the banner catchy enough? All of those details need to consider user experience in order to create a superb shopping experience for our costumers.
To apply the concept of user experience is absolutely influential. When I start my multi-space, what I need to do is always keep user experience in mind and keep testing until the best outcomes appear. Remain humble and truly understand what is the need of the costumers. Even a tiny little part could make a huge difference.

Marketing communication skill & social media use
The communication way between the brand and costumers changed a lot during past two decades. Camarero and San Jos\’e (2011) discussed that in recent society, the communication is no longer only relies on one-way communication (traditional communication), and has been replaced by two-way communication or multi-communication.
On the other hand, with the development of the Internet, the online platform becomes much more influential than before. At the same time, the electronic peer-to-peer communication now becomes a major phenomenon. On the other hand, the messages delivered via peer-to-peer communication transfer from one recipient to another are tend to have higher credibility (Strutton, Taylor and Thompson, 2011). Still, marketers are also using it as a direct communication way to communicate with their potential costumers as well. With the help of word-of-mouth marketing communication, the markets are easier to deliver the messages to their target audiences and the potential costumers to influence their behaviours via this kind of online environment (De Bruyn and Lilien, 2008). In other words, the online marketing communication becomes one of the most influential ways to deliver messages with limited cost in short time.
Our brand, Le petit sac also highly relies on the online communication to communicate with our potential costumers. We launched our own fan page on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in order to reach the goal of building up our own community on these social platforms. That is not all, we invested in the advertising on Facebook to gather higher brand awareness from people. After applying social media, Le petit sac actually has 106 follows until now (Facebook, 2014).
Turn to my multi-space issue, at the first moment of I start the business, I need to apply for the social media platform and find the most related platform to deliver the basic information. That is not all, how they differentiate with other is the major task for me to challenge.

Screenshot 2014-04-26 13.02.49

Brand strategy and the emotional connection
Branding is always a serious issue in running a business. How to deliver the brand identity and the brand image in a smart way always remained a doubtful topic to the brand.
Le petit sac offered a tiny guide in for our costumers inside the delivery box when our product shipped. Our costumers will see this guile at the first glance they open the shipping box, and though this guide we want to build up and deepen our brand image. What we have could easily connect to the theory from Kocek(2014), he defined that branding is all about reputation. That is, the way of people see the brand. On the other hand, Kocek(2014) also emphasized that quality, differentiation and reputation are crucial for building up a brand.
Nevertheless, the importance of connecting consumers to brands emotionally is also vital as well. Le petit sac always delivered the message to our potential costumers: with our product you have no need to worry about back home with bare foot. We want our costumers to feel that we consider about our costumers, and we care about our customers’ need.
During the trade fair, before we actually sell our product we talked to our potential customers, and asking them questions. We questioned our potential costumers, have you ever experienced walk bare foot back home after the party? Have you ever brought an extra pair of ballerina in your bag when you go party? When we asked these kinds of questions I could easily see our target audiences are willing to share their own experience, and becomes more focused on understanding our product.
What we did is to link our product to our costumers with emotional connection. The aim of this kind of strategy is to build up the brand personality. Is is also an influential strategy of ‘focus on actual self-congruence with the brand rather than ideal self-congruence to increase emotional brand attachment’ (Mal\”ar, Krohmer, Hoyer and Nyffenegger, 2011). By doing so, marketers want to shorten the distance between the brand and the costumers, also strengthen the emotional connection.
That is to say, when I want to start my own business, how to build up the emotional connection is my other major task. What I need to do in the future is to observe the marketing strategy from other brands, understand both advantage and disadvantage of each case study. Learn from the case study or the actual campaigns to see how others build up the emotional connection effectively. When I start my business, use the emotional marketing in the right direction will absolutely benefit to my business.

trade-fair29860-celebrate_enterprise-ezzidin_alwan-web

Conclusion

To sum up, in order to fulfill the final dream, running my own business is still a lot of areas I need to improve my knowledge. The module of designing a business basically covers all of these areas and lead us learning by trying. During this course, we all start up our own business and fully understand of the idea and the process of running own business. In this module, I learn how to gain the value from the business model, think differently and apply the design thinking, user experience to solve the problems effectively. Also, I learned how to promote our own business though marketing communication and the social media platform, and how to build up the brand identity and the emotional connection between the customers and the brand itself. Even though during the start up process, we always need to face the mistakes, but learning form mistake, and never give up is the key to overcome all the challenges.

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References
Brown, T. and others, (2008). Design thinking. Harvard business review, 86(6), p.84.
Camarero, C. and San Jos\’e, R. (2011). Social and attitudinal determinants of viral marketing dynamics.Computers in Human Behavior, 27(6), pp.2292–2300.
Cultura, E. (2009). Staying ahead: the economic performance of the UK’s creative industries, 2007.Economia della Cultura, (1), pp.75–81.
De Bruyn, A. and Lilien, G. (2008). A multi-stage model of word-of-mouth influence through viral marketing. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 25(3), pp.151–163.
Facebook, (2014). le petit sac. [online] Available at: https://www.facebook.com/lepetitsac?fref=ts [Accessed 25 Apr. 2014].
Flowers, E. (2014). Treatise on User Experience Design: Part 1 | Experience Design at Hello Erik. [online] Helloerik.com. Available at: http://www.helloerik.com/treatise-on-user-experience-design-part-1 [Accessed 25 Apr. 2014].
Kocek, C. (2014). The Difference Between a Business and a Brand. [online] Entrepreneur. Available at: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/231292 [Accessed 26 Apr. 2014].
Maeda, J. (2014). How art, technology and design inform creative leaders. [online] Ted.com. Available at: http://www.ted.com/talks/john_maeda_how_art_technology_and_design_inform_creative_leaders [Accessed 25 Apr. 2014].
Mal\”ar, L., Krohmer, H., Hoyer, W. and Nyffenegger, B. (2011). Emotional brand attachment and brand personality: the relative importance of the actual and the ideal self. Journal of Marketing, 75(4), pp.35–52.
Strutton, D., Taylor, D. and Thompson, K. (2011). Investigating Generational Differences in e-WOM Behaviours: For Advertising Purposes, Does X= Y?. Business Faculty Publications.

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