Since the design of a retail display can often be the deciding factor for a customer who is caught between engaging with your brand or continuing on their way, it makes sense that the design costs need to have at least as big a slice of the marketing budget as, say, advertising or social media. However, that's usually not how marketing campaigns are conceptualized.
From the beginning, brands allocation of the budget goes toward multiple platforms that are the "best fit" for your brand's perceived demographic. Whether the chosen vehicle is product placement, celebrity endorsement, high priced media or marketing campaigns these are visual placements and focused on a traditional presentation. There is one key opportunity to engage with your customers in physical way and that is at retail through a dimensional prism.
Industrial design most commonly comes to a brand through the design of a trade show booths, pop ups, or retail displays. However, in most if not all of these scenarios the focus is often on the build and the cost of the build and not on design. Sometimes design costs are actually built into the total build budget which only diminishes the importance of this key step in the process.
Now more than ever, designs should be considered as a significant part of any marketing budget. Chief marketing officers should be asking their teams: How will we tell our brand's story in a more engaging way? How will we create an authentic experience that demonstrates our product's potential? And, of course: How much will it cost?
The answer to the first two questions is "smart design," and the answer to the last question is: "as much as you'd spend on any other significant aspect of your marketing campaign."
When brands fail to make design a top priority, especially in retail, they too often don't allocate proper budget to their retail display offering. This can result in an inauthentic experience that is off-putting to shoppers, confusing, or creates a disconnect in the brand story.
The best way to prevent a brand disconnect is by planning ahead and budgeting design in from the beginning and making sure you carve out a sizeable piece for it within your marketing budget.