Archives of Design Research
[ Article ]
Archives of Design Research - Vol. 26, No. 1, pp.75-97
ISSN: 1226-8046 (Print) 2288-2987 (Online)
Print publication date Feb 2013
Received 03 Feb 2013 Revised 13 Feb 2013 Accepted 24 Feb 2013

The Dichotomy between Marketing and Design

MartynEvans, Dr ; LeeYounjoon
Senior Lecturer in Design at Lancaster University PhD Candidate in Design at Lancaster University

Correspondence to: Younjoon Lee younjoon

Purpose, value and impact of the paper: This research intends to articulate attitudes and ways of design employment between two disciplines: marketing (business) and design. The research investigates brand development in consumer packaged goods (CPG) which has been criticised for maintaining the status quo in brand development.

Research question 1) What are the different attitudes to employing designerly approaches between marketing and design? 2) How can an organisation enhance the value of designerly approaches in a business context?

Methodology This paper focuses on delineating the findings of semi-structured qualitative interviews with ten participants: five from CPG industry and five from design consultancies specialising in CPG brand development. This is series of interviews was analysed by a thematic analysis method using codes determined and arising from previous online-survey research and by analysing visual materials elicited during interviews.

Main results In conclusion, both marketing and design acknowledge that design envisions opportunities for CPG to some degree, though the ways of exploiting design show differences in terms of collaboration and organisational endorsement. From the interview analysis, specifically, the application of designerly methods – visualisation and prototyping – is limited to the design team or designers. Moreover, regarding collaboration with consumers and other stakeholders, design (or designers) is deemed to take part in developing tangibles, and marketing (or marketers) has difficulty in integrating the diverse phases in CPG brand development

Implications This paper will suggest the implied steps needed to bridge the gap between the two different disciplines in order to integrate designerly approaches into the organisation via collaborative ways of running projects.


Collaboration for design , consumer packaged products (CPG) , design culture for an organisation , brand development


Success stories of employing design in new product development (with a focus upon the development of tangible outcomes in the form of artefacts) have prompted companies to pay more attention to design and to emulate competitors’ steps by applying design methods or working with designers to develop artefacts (Trott, 2008; Montana et al., 2007; Bruce and Cooper, 2000). Researchers have made efforts to provide evidence of design's contribution to creating business competitiveness (Bruce and Bessant, 2002) and the further benefits of more organisational support and collaboration for design: e.g. recent research in the DTI (the Department of Trade and Industry) ‘think piece’. This move towards design integration and designerly ways of conceptualising and exploitation are proliferating in organisational management approaches – i.e. organisational activities at strategic and operational levels beyond developing artefacts (Cooper et al., 2009; Poggenpohl and Sato, 2009; Jelinek et al., 2008). Since the term ‘design’ per se is not enough to convey the current stances of design’s expanded role, they are interpreted as the following terms: design thinking, designdriven innovation, integrated design, designerly ways, big D, etc.

A consensus in which design can be important to competiveness has been achieved in marketing and design, although, in reality, the relationship between marketing and design still has tensions when utilising design or design management (Filson and Lewis, 2000). For example, design academia and designers embark on ‘design integration into strategic management processes’ (Sanchez, 2006), but this move towards design’s application often fails to employ design as a strategic competence due to vulnerabilities and obstacles within organisations; given the nature of business, a marketing team and marketers administer design projects although they are uncomfortable with coping with intangible values which design creates. Thus, to integrate design into business in the form of design thinking and design-driven innovation, i.e. designerly approaches, design academia seeks ways to decrease the tension between marketing and design by providing evidence of successful cases where organisations adapt designerly approaches at strategic levels (Brown, 2009; Martin, 2009).

Now, along with these efforts, researchers also need to explicate design integration in order to localise design’s application in specific contexts. More simply, this research guides each organisation to benchmark and then enhance design integration across the entire organisation’s activities by adapting it to their own culture.

Literature review

In this section, the authors articulate the background of this paper, specifically the following issues: 1) ways of understanding design in business, 2) ways to integrate design as a cultural entity: collaboration to embed designerly approaches as a cultural entity.

Ways of understanding design in business

According to the Design Council’s national survey of firms in the UK (2004), design is predominantly perceived as a process for better outcomes (e.g. products, services, communications) to create competiveness. That is, from a business perspective, design is still highlighted in a classical ‘product centric’ way of design limited to developing ‘outcomes’ rather than developing ideas for outcomes. Tether (2005) indicates that advertising and communications, product development and packaging are drawn on highly as organisational activities or tasks via which corporations consider exploiting design. Especially, in Tether’s report, manufacturers (corporations) draw strongly on product development in which design is considered. Besides, although design is perceived as a medium to develop competitiveness, this is deemed to be initiated for marketing reasons, to differentiate their brand or product from those of their competitors; beyond that, internal and external designers are rarely involved in design decisions or report ongoing design projects in business (Mozota, 2002). Thus there are increasing requests to use design in business in order to sustain business by building competitiveness; nevertheless, design-related projects are still appreciated as producing outcomes in a classical manner of design and as a consequence organisations segregate designers from other organisational activities for the sake of ‘creativity concentration’ or due to a lack of understanding of what design can do.

Moreover, there are often conflicts between creative and commercial perspectives in an organisation. Holm and Johansson (2005) point out that impediments to design integration at multi levels derive from different appreciations of the following attitudes between design and marketing managements: 1) product, 2) professional identity, 3) corporate identity, 4) creating value, 5) consumer and market research; however they claim that dynamic support from different appreciations of marketing and design – interdisciplinary approach – helps the organisation to achieve innovation. In other words, it is vital for an organisation to find the right balance or combination of creative/ innovative and commercial perspectives for projects and organisational tasks (Beverland, 2005).

To sum up, design activities are limited to making artefacts and appreciation of the role of design in business alters the ways of employing designerly approaches, beyond classical design execution; thus it is important for businesses to find their own ways in order to elevate the understanding of design and enhance design performance.

Ways to integrate design as a cultural entity

Currently, researchers emphasise desginerly ways to cope with tasks and problems in terms of conceptualising and exploiting concepts to make them happen and go beyond classical design-related projects: challenge to constraints (empathy), prototyping, heuristic approaches, abductive thinking, integrative thinking, iterative approaches, usercentred approaches, understanding sociocultural contexts, etc. (Berger, 2010; Brown, 2009; Martin, 2009; Verganti, 2009; Cross, 2006) by understanding that organisational problems are in essence design problems: ill-formulated and ill-defined problems (Kimbell, 2011). For better underpinning of such designerly applications within the business, organisational support (endorsement) is imperative to effectively employ designerly approaches. Researchers proclaim that business-driven management (efficiency and sales-driven approaches) hinders moving in innovative directions to sustain business within fastchanging markets (Neumeier, 2008), instead a better and/or innovative solution might be achieved through design (Cooper et al., 2009).

Therefore, this progression of design integration – an expanded role for design – drives researchers to identify ways to help business people undertake designerly applications (Liedtka and Ogilvie, 2011; Clark and Ron, 2008). Since design culture can be embedded into an organisation through practical work (Golsby-Smith, 1996), developing internal and external collaboration flows between design and business disciplines is critical to mutual interaction creating one’s own designerly culture. Ind and Watt (2006) indicate that creative balance is generated through collaboration between personal, organisational, team and client/customer needs. This calls for the transformation of organisational and project processes and reconfiguring human resources management in order to embed design thinking/innovation through a (collaborative) learning mechanism (Davenport, 2009; Beckman and Barry, 2007). Mostly, tacit entities revealed in activities during a project impact on the fulfilment of an explicit procedure: communication practice, relationship, coordination, etc. (Sachs, 1995). Thus, it is vital to imbue each employee with design thinking and integrate designerly approaches with day-to-day activities, beyond classical design practice, as an organisational entity.

Thus, it can be asserted that to decrease the gap derived from these differences between marketing (business) and design, collaborative approaches and human resource management are fundamental in order to underpin desginerly approaches across entire organisational activities and elicit organisational endorsement of design. To enact collaborative approaches for imbuing designerly ways into the business, as well as intangible mechanisms for elevating the internal capability for design, an organisation also seeks to create space and tools for collaboration (Doorley and Witthoft, 2011). These tools and space help people facilitate and develop ideas so that an organisation needs to ensure stakeholders from various disciplines participate in a project.

Along with collaborative mechanisms, human resources management needs to be considered in terms of designerly knowledge transfer and knowledge flow: external network influence and information flow throughout each independent group of employees/stakeholders (Design Council, 2009). Most of all, cultural knowledge for designerly approaches is obtained and organisational culture for designerly approaches is formed by consistently feeding designerly experiences into a project and an organisation.

Knowledge evolves from traditional tacit knowledge to form new emergent tacit knowledge through explicating new knowledge (Figure 1). This concept of knowledge transfer is applied to the design knowledge concept for adaptation into new business culture.

Figure. 1

A way of transferring knowledge (Adapted from Kari Kuutti ‘Artifacts, activities and design knowledge’ from Poggenpohl and Sato (2009: 73))

Consequently, it can be asserted that organisations needs to develop a collaborative workflow for design integration by involving different disciplines – business (marketing) and design department – into organisational activities. However, despite the important role of designers in deploying innovation strategy (Verganti, 2003), designers are often deemed to be excluded from a strategic innovation mechanism within a commercial perspective, thus the organisation seeks to find a way to place designers in a project rather than anywhere else (Design Council, 2009). Meanwhile, the organisation makes/keeps relationships with external networks in order to understand wider sociocultural phenomena and keep modifying their business according to sociocultural evolution by mutual interaction (Verganti, 2009). Through this mutual interaction, corporations learn the capabilities of networked partners and adapt to being a design-driven organisation.

Research questions

An increasing role of design is not only making artefacts but also expanded at strategic level by implanting designerly approaches into entire organisational activities. However, researchers (e.g. Tether, 2005; Mozota, 2002) claim that while corporations appreciate the importance of design, they also find that the role of design is limited to

its classical role and is difficult to integrate at the strategic level in the organisation. Each organisation seeks to develop its own mechanism to adapt designerly applications to organisational conditions (Preddy, 2011), though there is little research to investigate more specific cases of undertaking design in terms of industry, size of organisation, region, etc., or a combination of industry and size of organisation.

Therefore, it is necessary to develop a new lens to investigate different phenomenology in different industries and enact designerly applications within different contexts (Cooper, edited in Collins, 2010). This research intends to articulate attitudes and ways of design employment between two disciplines: marketing and design (i.e. between marketers and designers). As indicated above – the need to exemplify specific cases – the research investigates consumer packaged goods (CPG) brand development which has been criticised for not finding new directions for new brand development (Olins, 2007).

A CPG brand is also conceived as a fast moving consumer goods brand (FMCG). Page and Thorsteinsson (2011) indicate some constraints on FMCG brand development: 1) complicated manufacturing and launching mechanisms due to the relationship with logistics and detailed regulatory requirements; and 2) the limited capacity for the integration of internal and external parties into the brand development process due to the various levels of internal and external processes. These characteristics confine design to integrating design at strategic level within CPG brand development: a limited capacity to bind separate parties to work together.

In this research, to galvanise designers and other employees into designerly actions, two questions are addressed:

1. What are the different attitudes to employing designerly approaches between marketing and design?

2. How can an organisation enhance the value of designerly approaches in a business-driven context?

Ultimately, through exploring this relationship within CPG brand development, this paper will suggest the implied steps needed to bridge the gap between the two different disciplines in order to integrate designerly approaches into the organisation via collaborative ways of running projects.


This research is informed by a broader inquiry conducted as part of doctoral research and follows prior research including an online survey which concluded that there are difficulties in integrating designerly applications across organisational activities and limited design roles for developing artefacts (for a more detailed discussion of these issues see Lee and Evans, 2011a, b). Thus within this paper qualitative methods, specifically semi-structured interviews, are used with the intention of finding latent features which raise difficulties to design integration in CPG brand development.

Creswell comments that ‘an ideal situation is to blend the general steps with the specific research strategy steps’ (2009: 184) in order to proceed to analyse data. Thus, as a general qualitative step, thematic analysis was used to extract main and sub-themes corresponding to the determined categories (Table 1). To elicit themes (categories), a specific framework was applied to segment interview data. Since analysing qualitative data can reveal latent and meaningful themes through coding, segmenting and reassembling within iterations (Boeije, 2009), it is important to choose a suitable coding technique for a research strategy step to align with a general step: initial and secondary (reassembling) stages.

The interviewees were selected from participants who left an email address and agreed to participate in further research (as part of related research outlined in Lee & Evans, 2011a, b) alongside new participants with over five years of experience were also recruited to obtain deeper insights into CPG brand development. Three participants from the survey and two new participants were recruited for each cluster – corporations and consultancies, i.e. 10 participants in total. Sampling was structured specifically to cover opinions from design and business, pan-European and global (size of corporations), and different industries (food & beverages and households); the personal care industry was where most participants were recruited in the survey and this was investigated via a consultancy interviewee who works in the pharmaceutical (personal care) industry (Con 2 in Table 1). In the consultancy case, sampling was based on the size of consultancy, the background of interviewees (design, engineering and marketing) and the specialty of design (structural and graphic design).

This series of interviews was conducted to identify underlying phenomena impacting on collaboration in designerly applications in a UK context.

Interview profiles


This paper focuses on delineating obstacles to design integration/ collaboration. Before stepping into the main discussion, it will be beneficial to understand how design is perceived in CPG industry: the relationship between organisational management, branding and design.

How is the role for design perceived?

Design does not play a role at strategic level, instead design is predominately utilised at operational level within CPG brand development in contrast to what is claimed as design’s role in literature (Lee and Evans, 2011a; 2011b). Especially, an internal design team/ designer and external design consultancies are segregated from other activities in organisational management: fewer opportunities exist to transfer designerly applications to mainstream business. Even though it is important to find a balanced workflow between business (marketing) and design, as illustrated above, design is perceived as peripheral to CPG brand development. Table 2 illustrates where and how design is placed between the organisation and brand development (branding). Within CPG industry, design plays a subsidiary role in branding and rarely integrates with organisational activities except for COR 4: a similar finding to one from the online survey. Mostly, branding intervenes between organisational management and design.

Corporation assessment to design from corporation’s interviewees (red: design; blue: branding; green: organisational management)

Next, the consultancy interviewees’ opinions and drawings are illustrated in Table 3. The consultancies, by reflecting their experience of design while working with CPG industry, indicate these three relationships and their drawings of their current relationship are similar to the ones of the corporation interviewees. Interestingly, the consultancy interviewees appeal for an ideal relationship to enhance design’s role within CPG industry and they emphasise that organisational management needs to be the linchpin to disseminate and/or embed designerly applications and integrate all the activities (e.g. branding and design) with each other or encompass all the activities. Such assertions call for consistent organisational support: leadership’s willingness to endorse design.

Corporations’ assessment of design from consultancy interviewees (red: design; blue: branding; green: organisational management)

The corporation and consultancy interviewee indicated that design is not seen as being a mainstream strategic activity: design plays a role in supporting branding activities rather than integrating with organisational management. Mostly, the interviewees acknowledge that design needs to overlap more or be more integrated with other disciplines. Thus, it can be asserted that through a brand development project, design might be transferred into organisational management by involving stakeholders/employees from diverse disciplines.

Internal collaboration

Two sub-themes are subordinate to the internal collaboration theme: 1) enhancement of and 2) hindrance to internal collaboration. The features drawn as enhancement are opposite to those of hindrance. Therefore, the following features influence ways of internal collaboration.

• The manner of discussion to exploit a project from conceptualising to delivery outcomes;

• A way of involving diverse stakeholders in ideas generation (logistics, suppliers, etc.);

• A way of integrating organisational management (finance, sales, etc.) with the central project team for brand development.

The interviewees indicate that an organic structure (flexible organisation structure) or the role of project leader determines the way to enhance idea flow and discussion as a substantial feature of enhancement for collaboration. Grounded in this, interviewees referred to some exemplars for enhancement:

• Open discussion as organisational culture;

• Involvement of all internal and external stakeholders – stakeholders from diverse disciplines – in the ideas generation phase;

• Integration of each task by a central (project leading) team throughout the process;

• The exploitation of all multiple tasks in tandem.

The interviewees acknowledged the benefits of collaboration; nevertheless, the extent of internal collaboration is vulnerable or manipulated, depending on project conditions (project ownership, project time, budget, project types, etc.).

To sum up, the interviewees called for more proactive collaboration in ideas generation, and running tasks in parallel in terms of internal collaboration.

External collaboration - corporations’ side

This cluster intends to identify the approach to external collaboration on the corporation’s side. Three main themes are extracted: role of consultancy, hindrance and enhancement of external collaboration.

First, in terms of the role of consultancies, since corporation interviewees do not have an internal design team or designers, they mention that what they consider as design – making artefacts – takes place in external collaboration with limited involvement of consultancies in up-front stages: interviewees believe they have a partnership with consultancies but the partnership is more operational than strategic. Except for COR 4, corporation interviewees were not integrated with external consultancies in the up-front stages of a project, and even limited external collaboration was undertaken without any involvement between corporation and consultancy. Mostly, corporations ask external consultancies to carry out only predetermined tasks: the role of consultancies is limited to executing what a corporation asks for. On top of that, no consultancy interviewee is integrated with a client’s process or other consultancies: a silo operation of external consultancies. However, except for COR 1, the respondents recognised that if they involve scattered external consultancies into an early ideas generation stage or integrate them more into their process, better results can be achieved and mistakes decreased.

Secondly, despite the limited role of consultancy, good attitudes to enhancing external collaboration might be captured from the COR 4 case: some approaches found therein suggest ways for collaboration enhancement. Although COR 4 assigns design development to an external consultancy, they work closely with design consultancies and even place external designers in their organisation, rather than adopting the silo operation of external consultancies. In addition, COR 4 seeks to collaborate with diverse external consultancies for new inputs to develop concepts of products and brands in order to identify sociocultural trends and consumer insights. Along with these attitudes, they illustrate some different approaches to external collaboration from the organisations of the other interviewees:

• Assign an appropriate leading consultancy depending on a brand situation: e.g. if a brand needs to engage with young target consumers (i.e. Internet generation), the corporation (e.g. COR 4) assigns a project to a digital consultancy;

• Facilitate early integration between a corporation and consultancies, as well as between consultancies in up-front stages;

• A marketing service team to look after the relationship with consultancies (e.g. every 6 months, assessing the relationship between internal teams and consultancies);

• A yearly-based contact with consultancies to involve them in strategic development;

• Open conversations with external consultancies: e.g. workshops and casual conversations.

Most of all, the organisational attitude to collaboration, internally and externally, in COR 4 results in a more integrated relationship as part of the daily job. Not all the approaches to external collaboration can be epitomised, because they have been adjusted to their business contexts: e.g. a yearly-based contract requires more investment. While COR 4 deploys external design projects via a leading consultancy, CON 4 referred to the downside of assigning a leading agency because of possible misinterpretation of original clients’ intentions or a wrong direction for a project from a leading consultancy.

Thirdly, a hindrance to external collaboration is opposite to the above indications and derives from organisational attitudes as well as budget support. Except for COR 4, other corporation interviewees rarely undertake any external collaboration in the research stages. According to COR 1, since the interviewees were trained as innovation practitioners to facilitate ideas generation, they viewed external collaboration as unnecessary for ideas generation. The organisation misled employees about the role of a facilitator for ideas generation: executing ideas generation within an approved process. Except for COR 4, all the interviewees commented that CPG industry tended to have project-based contracts due to budgets. Thus, a projectbased contract might be assumed to be a reason for difficulties being encountered with external consultancies/outsourcing. The interviewees referred to an exemplar remedy in order to overcome a projectbased contract relationship with external outsources: conferences and workshops to enhance the understanding of processes and brand vision.

In brief, ways of undertaking external collaboration are determined by organisational support and culture. From the corpus of interviewees, it might be asserted that a CPG organisation needs to formulate a way to work with external sources – consultancies, universities, suppliers, etc. – in the up-front research stages and throughout the process.

External collaboration - consultancies’ side

From the corporation’s external collaboration, it was identified that the role of external consultancies is limited to providing what clients have already set up. Thus, this subsection intends to investigate external collaboration on behalf of consultancies. Four main themes are extracted: 1) hindrance from external collaboration, 2) enhancement from external collaboration, 3) preferences for whom one works with, 4) ways of transferring designerly experience.

Firstly, in terms of hindrance from external collaboration, the previous deficiencies in corporate ways of external collaboration were referred to as difficulties in integrating consultancies into clients’ processes, because corporations’ attitude to working with clients determines the ways that consultancies work. Consultancy interviewees indicate a lack of understanding of how consultancies develop a project, resulting in difficulties for collaboration: sudden requests from clients without considering real working time, lack of time to conduct research, etc.

Secondly, the consultancy interviewees called for a good relationship with clients to change their attitudes to external collaboration in order to overcome difficulties. The interviewees pointed out that building a good relationship allows opportunities to influence a client’s brand development and organisational culture. To form a good relationship, seamless delivery was indicated as a priority and then they illustrated their approaches to attaining it:

• Client’s involvement in consultancy’s process;

• Bringing together all the stakeholders and suppliers to develop manufacturable products and brands;

• Co-creating a brief and sharing ideas with clients: e.g. interim meetings;

• Delivery which balances creativity with financial aspects for clients (a combination of creative and strategic thinking).

Besides, some interesting attitudes were found for forming a good relationship whilst dealing with clients: 1) do not separate a substantial phase for another billing, 2) do not say you can handle everything, 3) do not let clients lead a project. These are related to the attitudes of openness and trust which the interviewees saw as a priority to build good relationships.

Project types – new and incremental brand development – and the budget for a project influence a consultancy’s approach to a project: ways of collaboration. Concurrently, the progress of and approach to a project are dependent on whom consultancies deal with most and the client’s organisational culture. Thus, to develop a project seamlessly, it is important to identify a consultancy’s preference for whom they work with.

Thirdly, four types of preference whom a consultancy works with were checked as subthemes: marketer, key decision-maker (e.g. CEO, department director), designer (or person who has a design background), and multidisciplinary team. There was no common preference for these indicated positions, because the interviewees explained that there are pros and cons in brand development ownership. For example, CON 2 and 4 drew on the preferences of marketers and key-decisions due to their authority over decisionmaking and budgets; on the other hand, CON 3 and 5 prefer to work with a designer or design manager who has more understanding of design. Interestingly, the interviewees called for the involvement of diverse client stakeholders but do not prefer to work with a multidisciplinary team due to the complicated decision-making procedures involved. Therefore, common characteristics might be instilled: consultancies prefer to work with a person who has authority over decision-making and project budget, and a better understanding of designerly ways.

Lastly, since hindrances to collaboration can be overcome thorough external collaboration, according to ‘design discourse’ by Verganti (2009), the theme ‘ways for transferring designerly applications’ is categorised. All the consultancy interviewees pointed out that a good relationship is prerequisite to transferring designerly applications. In the case of a good relationship with clients, designerly applications can be transferred via casual and formal conversations. Regardless of whether clients are existing or new, the interviewees indicated the importance of a preliminary phase to inform or transfer basic design knowledge for a project afterwards; the best way to transfer knowledge is to show and experience designerly applications throughout the process of a project. However, in reality, the preliminary phase is vulnerable, depending on the clients’ understanding and does not play a role in transferring designerly knowledge.

To fulfil this, interviewees suggested two examples: 1) find a person who has an open mind to embrace designerly approaches and disperse them into their organisation, 2) take a trip together to find consumer insights, how brands lure customers or enhance creativity in inspirational places. They addressed there being no way to embed and cultivate designerly applications within a client's organisation at one time, thus they started a small project to transfer designerly applications.

In summary, due to the limited role of consultancies, they make efforts to build a good relationship when working with clients instead of focusing on transferring designerly knowledge. Indications of preferences for whom a consultancy works with might be an indicator for corporations to assign a project manager and of how an organisation educates marketers and other business-trained employees.


The features which drive difficulties in design integration and collaboration

From the above findings, there is little change in value of design between design and business, corporations and clients. Yet, the current exploiting of design in CPG business does not comply with the expanded role of design. In these findings, a consultancy’s work is controlled and instructed by the client’s ways of underpinning design assessments and collaboration. Although a corporation exploits some activities with an expanded design perspective (e.g. a collaborative process for innovation or ideas development using designerly methods – prototyping and finding insights from consumers/customers), interviewees perceive the role of design is limited to making artefacts and without a corporation’s endorsement design activities occur latently. Moreover, designers or design-trained people are disconnected from the up-front stages of the development process.

Two common features are identified as influential features to employ designerly approaches in an overall CPG brand development context. First, the CPG industry focuses on short-term planning to increase revenue profit due to sectoral characteristics: low margin and high volume products. Thus, CPG organisations are deemed to adopt a sales-driven/cost-driven approach with a risk-averse attitude. Eventually, this results in less investment in (new) brand development and focuses on brand line extension. In addition, consultancies have limited involvement in the operational roles of development projects.

Second, the way of a project is dependent on corporate endorsement of design integration and such endorsement is derived from design leadership at two levels: strategic and project operational levels. Strategic leadership catalyses design integration within organisational culture, meanwhile leadership at project level facilitates design integration to fulfil each task within a project. The interaction between leadership at both levels reinforces design integration far beyond making artefacts.

However, within CPG brand development, marketers mostly have responsibility for ownership of brand development. This tendency is not problematic per se, but marketers’ attitudes to professional establishment – concern of career building – cause hindrance to design integration. Marketers have a propensity to remain short-term in their outlook because they get careers built and recognition by moving. This concern/interest results in a risk-averse or show-off attitude towards new brand development. The first attitude entails the status quo: marketers adhere to what the organisation has been through without challenging new ways to break the status quo. The latter attitude entails marketers’ hasty actions to show personal achievement for better positions or promotion without elaboration of the existing brand or further implementation into the organisational culture. Both attitudes confine designers to a limited role, thus making operational role: 1) status quo type: do not breach a current rule using design, 2) hasty action type: do not have time to consider applying new ways in order to quickly deliver a result and projects are mostly led solely by marketers.

Conclusion with academic contribution and managerial contribution for R&D

The above findings’ consequence is that an organisation often locks into the status quo in brand development and results in vulnerability/ hindrance to underpin designerly applications. Thus, it is necessary to create a culture for design integration to overcome this situation: customised organisational culture overcomes a disregard for design integration despite marketers’ short-term stay in a corporation and the ‘low-margin and high volume’ product characteristic.

Within the CPG industry, efforts to integrate design into the entire organisation’s tasks can be found in only some big and global corporations; efforts to change/expand design’s scope are identified in such corporations – P&G, Unilever, etc. Mostly, CPG corporations are deemed to focus on product development itself rather than developing advanced processes or nurturing an organisational culture. They consider design or change for design is a cost not an investment due to the characteristics of CPG product, but designerly approaches – design thinking – help organisations challenge this constraint (Brown, 2009)

Thus, above all, in CPG industry, there are few activities that experience designerly applications and their benefits. As noted above, designers are restricted to modifying/developing functional and aesthetic parts of a brand; meanwhile, only limited participants are involved in design activities. Therefore, it can be asserted that there are few opportunities for interactions of knowledge and value interactions between designers and business people (e.g. marketers, sales person, etc.) or between design/design-related and business disciplines within CPG brand development.

Jevnaker (2005) reports that since most design activities occur in hidden contexts (e.g. design studio, boardroom, etc.), only a few people are able to access design activities, so corporations need to develop a collaborative mechanism across boundaries in order to provide design experiences and guide design's integration into mainstream activities. During such collaboration, the stereotypical barrier of continuous interactions via ‘cross-departmental-project work’ can be vanquished (Jevnaker, 2000).

Design working practices within CPG brand development present challenges to integration with a diverse range of stakeholders from different disciplines throughout the brand development process in order to break away from the status quo in the organisation. Therefore, to change the scope of design via an interdisciplinary project, it is important to develop capability building and increase understanding of how design fits within organisational processes, how design performance is managed and how to use structured thinking within the design process (Design Council, 2009). As a preliminary step, corporations create a collaborative process for a project not only to develop the brand itself but also to establish a designerly culture for the organisation: via stakeholders who participate in interdisciplinary projects and permeate what they experience and learn from the project into their departments.

Therefore, a conceptual model (Figure 2) is developed to disseminate, accumulate and inherit design experience and knowledge into the organisation via a project underpinned by designerly ways. This helps an organisation to decrease the differences and contradictions between different departments and positions in a collaborative manner. There are four phases to procuring design-driven culture: Acculturate > Assimilate > Apply > Procurement (convergence). Through a continuous loop of such activities, organisations eventually achieve their own designerly culture and sustain their business in a fast-changing market by coping with contradictions encountered between design and business, resolving organisational resistance to change and adapting to it.

Figure. 2

Designerly culture establishment via learning loop

Management and Innovation

Within the CPG industry, designerly applications are not considered a medium for innovation fulfilment, because design per se is limited to secondary activities often in the form of the development of tangible outcomes. From this research, internal and external collaboration for design is dependent on the organisation’s pursuit of new brand development and capabilities – knowledge of innovation and design, infrastructure for design, etc.

Hence, first of all, design leadership at strategic level is imperative to establish a structured mechanism for interdisciplinary projects and designer’s placement in these projects. Besides, via these actions, design leadership envisions how designerly applications change the ways of developing a brand.


Citation: Martyn,E.,& Lee,y.j.(2013). The Dichotomy between Marketing and Design: Incorporating Designerly Approaches into Organisa tional Culture within Consumer Packaged Products. Archives of Design Research, 26(1), 2013.2


This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (, which permits unrestricted educational and non-commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.


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Figure. 1

Figure. 1
A way of transferring knowledge (Adapted from Kari Kuutti ‘Artifacts, activities and design knowledge’ from Poggenpohl and Sato (2009: 73))

Figure. 2

Figure. 2
Designerly culture establishment via learning loop

Table. 1

Interview profiles

Corporations Consultancies
Participant Position, size of organisation & previous experience Participant Position, size of organisation & previous experiences
COR 1 Food industry, survey participant •Innovation practitioner CON 1 Marketing and packaging, survey participant •Owner & CEO
•Large-size corporation •Small-size consultancy
•Previous job position was as a marketer • Marketing and packaging engineering background, worked in the pharmaceutical industry (personal care)
COR 2 Food industry, survey participant •Innovator at strategic level CON 2 Retail design •Owner in retail branding
•Large-size corporation •Manufacturing and marketing background
•Small-size consultancy •Graphic design background
COR 3 Household Industry, survey participant •Marketing director CON 3 Product design, survey participant •Co-founder
• Medium-size corporation in the UK, the local office of a large corporation based in France •Marketing background
•Small-size consultancy • Product design background, worked for a large size consultancy
COR 4 Spirits industry • Digital brand manager in the vodka category (junior level) of global marketing management CON 4 Graphic design, survey participant •Business development director
•Large global corporation •Marketing background
• Three offices in the UK and one international branch • Graphic and digital design background and worked for a marketing consultancy
COR 5 Retail industry (Own brand) •Head of catalogue production CON 5 Product design •Senior product designer •Large-size consultancy
•Large-size corporation •Design background
•Large-size consultancy

Table. 2

Corporation assessment to design from corporation’s interviewees (red: design; blue: branding; green: organisational management)

Participant opinions Drawing of relationship
COR 1 • Design is perceived as a classical way of aesthetic modification: a small part of the business.
•Innovation is also a small part of the business.
•There is no involvement of organisational management in the business.
• Each business (brand category) has its own style of development and is separate from organisational management
COR 2 • Design is considered a technical service: modifications to packaging, advertising, etc.
• Design is not yet employed as a cultural entity because of short-term planning.
• Brand team (marketing team) is a central driving force in business and brand development.
• Central brand team is rarely integrated with other departments.
COR 3 • Design is utilised in a classical manner and external agencies take a role in developing design in terms of brand development.
• Brand team (marketing team) is a central force in brand development.
• Currently, the overlapping portion is small, which means there is a lack of integration.
• Ideally, the interviewee referred to a similar concept of ‘living the brand’ for full integration of the organisational management and brand team; meanwhile design agencies feed into corporations’ tasks throughout the process and organisational ctivities.
COR 4 • What the interviewee called design was undertaken externally, but the organisation ensures the brand team collaborates with diverse external outsourcing throughout the entire process.
• Manufacturing and logistics are not included in brand development because they are more concerned with consumer emotional engagement, rather than manufacturing cost.
COR 5 • Design is deployed at tactical or operational level rather than strategic level: design is appreciated as a secondary thing to increase sales so there is less interest in design development.
• No integration between ATL and BTL (no integration between primary marketing department (retail) and other departments (online, new business, category management, etc.)).

Table. 3

Corporations’ assessment of design from consultancy interviewees (red: design; blue: branding; green: organisational management)

Participant opinions Drawing of relationship
CON 1 Currently: • Design is separate from main brand development or organisational management.
• Within the ‘current figure’, the interviewee indicated his role as broker and integrator in order to comply with the goals in the overlapping space.
• External consultancies are separated from the client’s process without any integration.
Ideally: • Organisational management needs to encompass branding and design. In other words, design fulfilment calls for organisational endorsement.
CON 3 Currently: • CPG organisational management is not integrated with brand development; on top of that, design is separated from main brand development and developed separately, without involvement.
• The interviewee indicated that, currently, these three elements are getting closer but still there are impediments to their being integrated with each other.
Ideally: • This case shows the same ideal as that of CON 1.
CON 5. Currently: • Design and branding are not integrated but, currently, a new paradigm to employ design has been found.
• External design is on the periphery of the branding process and joined up with brand development.
Ideally: The interviewee suggested the two ideas are in a relationship in terms of organisation for clients and consultancies.
• Branding and design are integrated to permeate consistent strategies and solutions into organisational management
• Regarding managing consultancies, if an account manager who can intervene between strategy and design leads to a brand developing well, this assures that both strategy and design can amplify their tasks without losing consistency. However, in reality, it is hard to find a person to take on this role.