What Makes a Design Successful in Marketing?

In this essay, I will address the successful design in marketing. How does the design succeed? What is good design? By analyzing those questions, I will introduce some popular designs and brands and compare them to evaluate why they are successful in the marketing in relation to the taste and aesthetic in design discourse, as well as critical And then, I will propose a project that I would like to undertake to address the issue that what is “successful” design.

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Sony is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation and is also one of the leading manufacturers of electronic products for the consumer and professional markets. According to MBA sKool, Sony is one of the top 10 consumer electronics companies in the world in 2018. It can be seen that Sony is quite successful in the word. Thus, why Sony is so popular and why people would like to buy Sony products. The questions lead to the relationship between the Brand and consumers. As a fan of Sony brand, people usually buying products unconsciously from this brand, even sometime there are better options from other brands when they are facing lower prices or high qualities. Why it appears this phenomenon? Is it the sense of loyalty? Good design? Better experience? … In my opinion, I think there are some topics may relate to this phenomenon that I want to address in the following.

Firstly, “good design” and “good taste”. In the article Good Taste vs. Good Design: A Tug of War in the Light of Bling (University of Borås, 2012), authors said that “we must remember that what is considered good taste is socially constructed.” In other ward, there is a process or system of people creating criteria to determine what is good taste. The definition between “Good design” and “good taste” are different. “We consider ‘good taste’ to be rooted in a subjective context of inherent values, whereas ‘good design’ arises from competence and is based on professional skill.” (Good Taste vs. Good Design: A Tug of War in the Light of Bling, 2012). Sometimes, “good taste” is not necessary to identify a “good design”. That explains why those Sony customers always choose this Brand even if there could be a “better- designed” product. What is considered good taste in relation to product design is decided by a certain group of people that belongs to different organizations and institutions. (Kawamura, 2005). Sony capture those group of consumers’ similar tastes to make successful markets in the world. Russell Belk believes that “We are what we own and control.” The possessions or the products that we purchased are could reflect our identity and also “extend” ourselves. Another example about it is “Bling”. “’Bing’ was an onomatopoeic slang term from Jamaica that imitates the imaginary sound of light hitting and being reflected by a diamond” (Christoforidou, 2013). It is a popular fashion among American rap artists, and it usually refer to glittering jewelry that symbolize wealth: ornate diamond rings, large golden necklaces and accessories (Figure 1). “Bling” is also used to mean a lifestyle, and it is one of important way to show wealth in a direct way through flaunt wealth consumption (Ossé and Tolliver, 2006). It is a way to identify customers themselves. Veblen (2001) suggests that “The acquisition and display of expensive items to attract attention to one’s wealth or to suggest that one is wealthy.” Some customers believe that need to buy products from popular brands such as Prada, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and so forth, to present their wealth and even positions. Its essence refers to the external expression of a person’s internal character state, usually through various forms of visual stimulation. “Bling” became a symbol that hard to ignore, a symbol of certain group of people that reflect personal values. It is same to the brand “Sony”. Sony owns the largest video game console business and one of the largest video game publishing businesses (Sony History, 2018). There are huge number of customers are video game players. When it comes to “player” identity, they are attracted with video game console companies such as Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony… If in a group of players, there is only one person that does not have any video game console while everyone else does, that person may start to consider buying one to be close to the “player” identity. In other words, it is the need of belonging to that certain group of people. According to Ahl and Olsson (2002), the product often relates to customers ideologies, values, status, and social and cultural identities.

After discussed about “good taste” in relation of brand designs. To grasp how does design succeed, another major concern is to understand what is “good design”.  From the perspective of a company or a designer, what make design good or successful? The idea of the originality is important. According to Vihma (2007), Simply copying what already exists gives the product less value than the innovative design. Sony design is always focus on innovation and stylish (Sea-Jin Chang, 2011). Most Sony products appear with simple shape, characteristic color (ocean green in mobile design) and features such as water-proof technique in mobile devices and color-display capability in T.V. or camera designs.

The other topic that related to the issue is “critical luxury”. In article “Luxury Fashion Digital Innovators”, the author suggests that there are five marketing trends that luxury digital innovators are embracing. One of those trends shows the importance of being successful in the market—brand loyalty. The more personalized and customized the brand’s marketing information is, the more loyal consumers will get. Building a sense of community with the target customers will help you gain loyalty and ultimately increase conversion rates. Sony Corporation’s product is comprised of various products targeted towards different market segments. They have products that suit for everyone, regardless of age. Such as cameras, or televisions that attract people mostly over thirty years old (Journal of Business and Management, 2013). If you’re young, you might want to buy a video game console, or might be interested in mobile devices and headphones. Sony maximize the e number of loyal customers from all different markets. Sony has accumulated a large user group, after decades of cultivation and communication, this user group has generated a higher brand loyalty to Sony. In a survey (A Study on Customers Satisfaction Towards Sony Television in Salem City, 2016), forty- four percent people vote that Sony TV is the excellent one, forty- three percent people vote that this is the best one and ten percent vote as satisfies and only three percent are not satisfied with the performance of the Sony TV. The Data suggest that most customers are willing to buy Sony products, and there are more chance that most customers are driven by their desire, in other words, sense of loyalty. In my opinion, the customers choose the product they want to get, but sometimes the design company control what customers will purchase. Therefore, building brand loyalty is critical to success marketing. Moreover, the loyalty comes from the emotion connect between customers and the brand. As Positive Luxury puts it in the new report, “A brand’s ability to spark an emotional connection with consumers, especially around the social and environmental factors that are increasingly important to them, will be imperative to successful growth. This is especially true for brands looking to engage younger consumers, the future of the luxury marketplace and workforce.” these emotions are based on actionable facts, such as interacting with local communities, or sharing a brand’s true story. With the cultivation of the relationship between the brand and consumers. The brand is not just a “name” anymore, it become a part of consumers’ life. After become a loyal customers, some of them will pay more attention to the development of the brand, such as reading news online the brand that they love, buying the magazine with the name of the brand on the cover. Those desires drive those customers collect all thing related to the design they like. Eventually, they will be willing to buy more products from that brand. It is the process of building of emotions. Therefore, the emotion is key component of establishing successful marketing.

Finally, the experience economy is other component of success. What is experience economy? In article the virtual experience economy, “A new economic era in which all businesses must orchestrate memorable events for their customers, and that memory itself becomes the product”.

Market segmentation and target market selection determine the target user group and product positioning of Sony entertainment, gaming. (Sea-Jin Chang, 2011) The characteristics of target users include: most live in large and medium-sized cities, have relatively strong consumption capacity, and are sensitive to product appearance and ease of use; The pursuit of comprehensive, perfect leisure experience and so on. Those customers usually value the experience rather than product itself.

In conclusion. In order for a design to succeed, it must show people the overall appeal. In addition to providing functionality and usability, products must also meet people’s hopes, dreams, fears, aspirations, etc.

From what has been discussed above, I would like to propose a project that to help to evaluate the issue that what is “successful” design. As we all know, surveys and questionnaires are one of the most common marketing research methods. According to J. Priyadharshini and M. Selladurai, few uses of those methods are getting information of the level of customer satisfaction with a particular product, service or experience and the factors that effect customers’ satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Therefore, I came up the idea of surveys. However, it will not be a page or website, I would like audiences be more participated. Instead of letting audiences just staring at the paper of page, I would like hold an exhibition that could let people engage and be more interesting. In the exhibition, in order to study “successful design”, I will invite all different companies select one product that they consider most successful designs. By observing and experiencing those products, audiences will vote if those products are good design or not by simply answer “Yes” or “Not”, and them will also leave them age, profession, income and hobby as a data record. After colleting those data, I evaluate what type of customers would consider the product is “good design” in relation of their age and income; In those people who voted “Yes”, is it because their career and hobby relate the classification of product; Does those products really success as the compony thought. By thinking of these questions, the result will help people gain a knowledge of what could affect the success of product in design practice.


Santhini S., Jeeva R., Meena G. IOSR Journal of Business and Management (IOSR-JBM). Volume 9, PP 28-32, 2013.

Privadharshini J., Selladurai M., A Study on Customers Satisfaction Towards Sony Television in Salem City, International Journal in Multidisciplinary and Academic Research (SSIJMAR), Vol. 2, No. 2, March-April, 2016.

Tarr, Greg.TWICE: This Week in Consumer Electronics; New York Vol. 28, Iss. 1,  (Jan 8, 2013): 10,42.

Christoforidou D., Olander E., Warell A. and Svengren Holm L. Good Taste vs. Good Design: A Tug of War in the Light of Bling. The Design Journal, VOLUME 15, ISSUE 2 PP 185–202. 2012.

Chang, Sea-Jin. The Inside Story of the Electronics Giants’ Battle for Global Supremacy, John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pte. Ltd, 25 Feb 2011.

Christoforidou, D. and Olander, E, Bing?, The Design Journal, Lund University, 2013

Verb Brands Limited, Top 5 Action Points from Luxury Fashion Digital Innovators. file:///D:/S1/Theory-TDN3001/easy/Top%205%20Action%20Points%20From%20Luxury%20Fashion%20Digital%20Innovators%20-%20Verb%20Brands.pdf

Mugge R., Schifferstein H. N. J. and Schoormans, J. P. L.. A Longitudinal Study on Product Attachment and its Determinants, in European Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 7, Eds. Karin M. Ekström and Helene Brembeck. Duluth, MN: Association for Consumer Research, pp. 641-647, 2006.

Mugge, R. Product Attachment. PhD thesis, Delft: Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, 2007

Veblen, T. (2001). The Theory of the Leisure Class. New York: Random House.

Vihma, S. (1995). Products as Representations: A semiotic and aesthetic study of design products. PhD thesis. Helsinki: University of Art and Design.



Momentum Worldwide, 2017. https://drive.google.com/drive/u/1/folders/1QTdta3dMWk8ErCHP6DqOyfNDH1wlHWtW

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