Claire Hall

Claire Hall

Design & Branding Strategy MA
2011

Guerrilla Design for SMEs

Unconventional differentiation and competitive advantage in the market

In the UK, 99.9% of businesses are small to medium sized enterprises. Differentiation can be challenging. The recession is still negatively affecting SMEs. Typically, organisations that value design tend to outperform those that do not. I am fascinated with how guerrilla design is effective for large corporations. The focus of this project is to develop a strategy for identifying efficient, imaginative ways to promote and differentiate SME businesses through innovative guerrilla design. For branding, marketing and advertising activities this involves using unconventional methods of getting messages across to consumers. Due to the emotional and or interactive nature of guerrilla design, SMEs can enhance the two-way communication. What ties guerrilla design to advertising, branding and marketing methods is the fact it can be cheap, quick and easy to implement. For struggling SMEs, expensive advertising campaigns are not an option, creating a catch 22. Little money, few ads: few ads, little business. Jay Conrad Levinson is a key figure in guerrilla design and marketing. He coined the term in 1984 due to the similarity of the unconventional guerrilla warfare methods, and today it is still a fairly new paradigm. His books describe tactics to leverage guerrilla design in order to gain publicity. By performing action research and liaising with SMEs in the West London area, a picture been built up of the pressures of today's business and different views on guerrilla design. During a presentation at Brunel University, Simon Black, Group Strategy Partner at Design Bridge stated 'good interpretation is great, originality is not vital, but test your lateral-thinking, move it on'. Black was speaking about branding and the 'thinking outside the box'­, which is extremely important for innovation and growth. In terms of guerrilla design for branding, this relates to unconventionality as a key aspect for publicity and promotion. Based on the research to date, the final outcome of the project should be able to prove that guerrilla design can be leveraged by SMEs, whether design-led organisations or not. At the end of the project, a simple, prospective strategy that can be adapted from one business to another, encouraging creativity to create successful guerrilla design approaches for advertising, branding and marketing will have been developed.