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Business philosophy is a branch of philosophy that provides assessment of a business as a form of implementation of the activity’s subject in accordance with its interests and needs. Companies, corporations, or any other organizations are similar to living organisms that is, like a living creature, they are born, develop, mature, experience difficulties, and achieve success. The whole system of business philosophy has a lot of different subsystems. Among these subsystems are product design and environmental philosophy. It is necessary for everyone to understand the importance of product design and environmental philosophy issues to the whole system of business philosophy.
The world of business is filled with fascinating stories about particular businessmen who build successful companies from scratch. But, perhaps, the most inspiring ones are about people who succeeded due to applying new strategies in the field. One of such representatives is Yvon Chouinard. His brand Patagonia is known to everyone who actively participates in sports. In his book Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman, Yvon Chouinard, a professional climber, tells about the unique history of the largest sports equipment company.
The book is divided into chapters that reveal important components of the topic. The first part of the book, “Product Design Philosophy”, defines the importance for the company to deliver high-quality products. The core statement of the company is to “make the best product” (Chouinard, 2006, p. 64). Quality is the key to a successful business. Compliance, integrity and customer satisfaction will never go unnoticed, and will return as generous financial rewards. The desire to make goods of the best quality was the original reason for the company to enter the business. Any company is determined by the goods it produces. There could be no business without material goods. Production of high-quality items helps businesses to be successful and achieve all their goals. The main feature of Patagonia delivering the best products is their versatility, wear resistance properties, andmaximal simplicity. Measuring quality is not limited to quantitative assessment as it also includes rating of the product’s specifications and features. It also implies a qualitative assessment. In assessing the quality of consumer goods or services six factors are taken into account: the action (actuation), reliability/durability (lifetime), compliance, serviceability, manifestation (appearance), and perceived quality. The indicator of the designer’s success in creating a product is an increased attractiveness of the item and great customer satisfaction due to additional or improved product’s features, brand individuality and differentiation of the product (Morris, 2009). All these result in a surcharge for the price of a product and increase the market share.
Moreover, appearance is very important to the brand of any category. Product design is one of the most important elements of a brand. The main function of the package (in addition to its direct purpose – storage of the product) is establishes communication with the target audience. It conveys the idea of “brand packaging”, broadcasts characteristics and benefits of the product (Lord, 2012). It affects the person as a psychological anchor – if the reaction to the first purchase was positive, people will deliberately choose a familiar brand by the color, design, shape and size of the package. Often, good packaging can sell a product with little or no additional promotional efforts. After all, the consumer’s decision to purchase a particular product is mainly driven by the packaging design, whose main task is to “sell” the product. Therefore, clarity of the product’s appearance is crucial to the success of the brand.
The philosophy of a product design has a lot of examples in daily life. Once, I also experienced how packaging and product design can influence my choice. I was in the shop looking for a table lamp. There was a great choice of lamps at different prices. It was the design of one lamp that made me buy it. But, frankly speaking, it was possible to buy a much cheaper lamp with the same characteristics. But the rose edging of the lamp had succeeded in its mission – it attracted me as a customer and made me purchase this product.
Personally, I absolutely agree with the fact that developing a successful product design should be one of the main aims of the company. Improving the design of products determines survival and success of the enterprise in the market, the pace of technological progress and innovation, increases productivity, and saves resources used in the enterprise. The design of products is a strategically important characteristic of a company. The design of branded products, the level of prices and the volume of supply determine the level of demand, the company’s reputation, its market share, etc.
Another question discussed in the book is environmental philosophy. Yvon Chouinard shows the maximum care for nature in his business. Today, there are many forms in which the environmental movement is represented. It is possible to say that “the environment becomes a philosophy” (Dwyer, 2010, p. 44), but it occurs only while combining environmental care with the formation of the new consciousness of an individual and business.
The philosophy of business is important to the environmental problem not only because the relationship between people and nature have always been the subject of philosophical attention. It can be said that the environment is something transitional between exact science and philosophy, the way methodology is the transition form from the exact science to the theoretical one. Personally, I think that business philosophy, as well as environmental care, is aimed at establishing a holistic view of the complex structure of the subject-object relationship in contrast to the prevailing desire in modern science to solely rely on objective knowledge. To harmonize the relationship between human activity and nature, technology can and should be aesthetic. As it was noted by Fort (2001), harmony is the goodness and beauty, and as long as between man and nature there is technology, the latter should be good and beauty. Taking aesthetic aspects into consideration is important for the integrity of a person and nature.
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