Balancing logic and emotion through design: China International Import Expo 2018

At the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, tangerine’s CEO, Martin Darbyshire, spoke at the Product Design Forum on the 7th of November, addressing an audience of local Government, State-owned enterprises, exhibitors, and visitors alike on the value of creating brands through products and services that deliver outstanding customer experiences.

Martin discussed how a balance of logic and emotion, combined with creativity and a deep understanding of a market, is critical to delivering exceptional customer experiences that grow brands, increase market share and deliver a substantial return on investment.

The customer experience covers many things; it could be about the visual identity or the look and feel of something, or it could be used to transform and differentiate a brand, or also be utilised to deliver innovative solutions that give businesses a position of leadership.

The scale of opportunity for growth within China continues to grow. Companies such as Dyson, Xiaomi and Nio are utilising the power of designing experiences to create valuable brands that provide clear differentiation in the market and encourage customer loyalty.

There are four common factors that make these companies successful:

1.  They are all clear about the gap in the market they want to own.
2.  They place value through the intangible as well as the tangible aspects of their brand – as it is through the intangible that often exceptional value can be found.
3.  These brands have created a connection and belief from their customers by enabling a personality or an iconic concept that the brand is synonymous with.
4.  They are all seeking to deliver excellence in the experience spanning across all touchpoints by creating experiences that are consistent and distinctive.

Three decades of experience working with global brands, retailers, and manufacturers has given tangerine an acute understanding of how to make meaningful connections between business context and consumer desires. There is no one single design process that can be applied to every project. If design is to deliver the right customer experience for a brand, it must look broadly at the overall objectives of the business.

Concluding his talk, Martin summarised four key points that delegates should consider to improve the performance of their businesses through innovation and design.

1.  What is the gap or the opportunity that you can really own that creates distinctiveness for you?
2.  How is value being created not just from the tangible aspects but also the intangible aspects of an experience?
3.  How can you make your brand become synonymous with an icon – something that is easy to remember that stays in your mind and in your heart?
4.  How can you deliver the experience that works across all of the touch points in a consistent way?

Done well, design can help businesses to define where they want to get to, define the position a business will own in the market and then establish the steps that design can take to deliver the right response for both near and long-term goals. tangerine works with brands, manufacturers, and retailers to create outstanding customer experiences that deliver commercial success.

About China International Import Expo (CIIE)

The 2018 China International Import Expo is the inaugural trade fair held in Shanghai, China. It is the world’s first import-themed national-level expo, featuring exhibitions of multiple countries and businesses and the Hongqiao International Economic and Trade Forum.

Shanghai declared a two-day public holiday, as industry and economic super giants gathered to take part in the Expo’s Hongqiao International Economic and Trade Forum. Among those speaking was Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma, and Microsoft Founder Bill Gates.  President Xi opened the event in person.

In addition to the Hongqiao forum, there were over 100 other events taking place during the five days of CIIE. The aim of the exhibition was to promote trade between China and the rest of the world with over 3000 companies from over 130 different countries exhibiting in the vast 270,000 square feet of hall space at the National Exhibition and Convention Centre in Shanghai.

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