Why ‘Design Thinking’ Is Critical For Your Business

Design Thinking has been around for almost 40 years. It originated as a business concept in the early 90’s at Stanford. Design Thinking has picked up steam over the past 5 years, and is now the latest craze for many Fortune 500 companies.


While the average small business owner may not be familiar with Design Thinking, the philosophy that it promotes is a mindset that anyone can benefit from. Without diving too deep into Design Thinking, (which would require a lot more time and text), a brief summary of it as a business concept is creatively understanding a problem and searching for answers through trial and error. In essence, Design Thinking promotes the “right” way to get to a solution. And of course, since it is the right way, that means it is not the easiest way. Design Thinking requires discipline, creativity, focus, and above all, a truly open mind.


Many times in the business world, we skip steps or try to force a pre-conceived idea or assumption onto a problem. We think we know what the problem is, and the pain points of our target audience. But in actuality, we usually don’t. This is because it takes time, effort, and the ability to be a good listener to actually get inside the minds of the consumer and discover their true intentions, fears, and problem areas.


Design Thinking formalizes a process, forcing us to take the time to interview and really understand the people we are working to serve. There are 5 phases of the Design Thinking process:
5 Phases of Design Thinking

The 5 phases of Design Thinking

No matter what type of business you have, whether you are B2B or B2C, service-oriented or product-oriented, at the end of the day you serve a customer. Design Thinking requires us to dig into the minds of our customers. Conduct empathy interviews with them, asking open-ending, probing questions that move past the superficial and unearth sub-conscious motivations and pain points. The benefit of this empathy is that we are able to assign a human story to our business or product, no matter what it is. The key to empathy is to listen and ask the right questions. This is a tried and true rule that will make any business better, yet far too often we skip it and assume we know the answers already.


The second phase of Design Thinking is DEFINE. This phase relates to taking what we’ve learned from our empathy interviews and putting it all together, understanding what it means and identifying the patterns behind it.


Most companies skip these first two steps. They jump right to the IDEATE phase, brainstorming their ideas to the problem they have identified already without doing their homework to make sure they are solving the correct issue. This is trying to force a square peg into a round hole.


There’s a reason Design Thinking has become so en vogue lately. It’s because at the end of the day, in order to be successful your business must be able to connect to people in an emotional way that rings true to their priorities. There’s no short cuts to getting to that place. And when you do it the right way, you set yourself up for long term success.


Interested in learning more about the popular concept of Design Thinking for your business? Contact us today at hello@protocolred.com today.

The #1 Reason You Should Fire Your Marketing Agency

Is Your Businesses’ ROI Suffering Because Of This? 

For businesses of all sizes, digital marketing has become a necessity, not a luxury. Digital, or online, marketing delivers an invaluable benefit that traditional advertising can not: accurate analysis of ROI. Online metrics and tracking mechanisms provide real-time data on every single post, click, and share.
Digital marketing is continually evolving and adapting. Agencies that do not keep pace with these changes get left behind. Above all else, in this analytics-driven digital age, there is one egregious sin that can and should not be forgiven:
Not conducting A/B split tests!
 Many agencies take what worked for them with past clients and do the same thing with your business. They believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to digital marketing. As you know, this is not the case. What works for one company or industry will not necessarily work for another. The only way to maximize results for your business is to conduct A/B (split) tests with your actual customers.

A/B testing is a standard tool for success in today’s digital age. It allows you, the client, to find out for yourself what works best for your customers and your goals. It takes the guessing out of the equation, and allows you to make decisions based on hard fact and proven results.


An A/B split campaign funnels your customers to two different testing options and compares the results. The A version is an original, controlled option; while the B version is the variation option.

Example: You have been hearing more and more about parallax scrolling, but you’re unsure if your industry will respond well to this type of web effect. Maybe you have an older customer base who may get confused or turned off by it.
Instead of playing the guessing game, you can simply run an A/B test. The A version is your original website, and the B version is your website designed with a parallax scrolling effect. You set the goals you want to measure and begin conducting your tests in your Google analytics account.
You can check in at any time and see real-time results. After an appropriate amount of time (which may vary but is normally no longer than a few weeks) you can compare the results to see which version performed better.



A/B testing is an invaluable method that has no downside. It is beneficial to any type of business, no matter the industry, size, location, or audience. Testing is not so much a procedure as it is a mindset. If you’re spending money on PPC Adwords, testing is the only way you can hone in on the most effective keywords and maximize your budget. Not sure whether to send your email blasts at 9am or 10am or 3pm? Test it. Wondering if your customers prefer your old website design instead of the new, slicker design? Conduct an A/B test!

 The sad truth is that all of this data is available, yet most agencies today are not utilizing it. Your business is not seeing the ROI it should because it is flying in the dark.

That’s why Protocol Red employs split testing in everything we do. We work hand-in-hand with the client to identify the objectives and goals we want to accomplish, and we set about conducting non-stop testing to continually hone in on what resonates the most with your customer base.

Wondering if it’s time to give your agency the pink slip? Contact us at hello@protocolred.com for a free consultation to see how we can help your business increase brand awareness and revenue.