Welcome back to our monthly column, Design Business Blueprint, where we delve into the intricacies of running a thriving interior design business. If you’re following along, you’ve already read last month’s edition, all about the importance of networking. In this November edition, we’re turning our attention to branding and why making a lasting impression is vital for you interior design business. Your brand is the first touchpoint potential clients encounter, and it’s the key to setting you apart in a saturated and competitive industry. Join us as we explore the importance of branding and learn how to create and maintain a consistent, attention-grabbing brand that speaks about your design firm’s aesthetics, professionalism, and reliability.
The power of branding for interior designers
Your brand is more than just a logo or a name (though, that is an important part of it); it’s your identity. Your brand showcases the combination of your design philosophy, your values, and your unique style, at every turn. So why is branding so crucial?
Aesthetic: Your brand acts as a canvas to showcase your design firm’s aesthetic. Whether your style is contemporary, minimalist, or eclectic, your brand should reflect this. It’s a sneak peek into your design sensibilities. Think of it as a window display for your work.
Professionalism: A well-crafted brand exudes professionalism. It signals to potential clients that you are a serious and reliable business. For an industry that often blurs the lines between personal passion and professional service, a strong brand can help differentiate you. Consistency: A consistent brand look and message is like a North Star for your clients. It assures them that your services are reliable and that they can expect that same level of quality every time. This trustworthiness can lead to lasting client relationships.
The attention span challenge
In today’s fast-paced digital age, capturing and retaining the attention of potential clients can be an enormous task. We all know how a simple scroll through social media can make or break a first impression. This is where having a strong and consistent brand comes into play.
Recognition at a Glance: Your branding needs to be instantly recognizable. In the blink of an eye, potential clients should be able to associate your brand with you and your firm. This is achieved by maintaining a consistent visual and written identity.The Power of First Impressions: Studies show that a first impression is formed within the first seven seconds. Your branding must be on point from the get-go, at every turn, no matter where it is showcased; your website, your social media channels, your email signature, your business card, your ads…anywhere! Giving a strong first impression that immediately indicates who you are and what you are about can mean the difference between a potential client lingering on your page or swiftly moving on to the next. Memorability: To gain that all-important top-of-mind position, your brand needs to be memorable. Consistency in your branding helps etch your firm’s name in the minds of your audience.
Crafting an effective brand
Let’s now explore what it takes to craft and maintain an effective brand for your interior design business. Here are some practical tips to consider:
Define Your Brand Identity: Start by identifying your design firm’s unique characteristics. This can be done in a freeform brainstorming session where you write down every word that comes to mind that you feel defines you, your look, your style, your brand. More questions to consider: What’s your design philosophy? What sets you apart from the competition? Once you have a page full of words and ideas, take some time to review what you’ve written and you’ll start to see recurring themes. Boil this down to the top 3-5 themes and use this as a foundation as you develop your brand. Look back at these themes often and make sure everything you’re doing represents these themes.
Visual Branding: This includes your logo, color scheme, typography, and imagery. Think carefully about what colors best represent the brand you are formulating. Typography is important too; what fonts speak to your aesthetic and are also reader friendly. Ensure that all these elements are consistent across all your online and offline platforms, from your website to social media profiles and even business cards and advertisements you may place.
Written Identity: Your tone of voice and the language you use in your marketing materials are just as important as your visuals. Consistency in messaging and language is crucial. Define your brand’s personality—whether it’s casual and approachable, or sophisticated and tailored—and stick with it. Compose a written style guide for your firm and identify all of this, and include clear do’s and don’ts, along with examples. You’ll want to reference this guide anytime you’re crafting a social media caption or submitting a quote to be included in the press so your voice is always consistent. This is also a helpful tool to share with your team as you grow and expand your business.
Professional Assistance: Invest in your business by working with a professional agency to help with your branding. Their expertise can be invaluable in crafting a brand that truly resonates with your target audience. While this isn’t always the least expensive route to take, it can oftentimes yield incredible results and will make the investment worth your while.
Regular Audits: Things change. People change. Periodically review your branding. Does it still accurately represent your firm’s current identity and goals? If not, it might be time for a refresh.
Brand refresh case study
To illustrate the power of an interior designer’s branding (or rebranding for that matter), let’s take a look at how our firm, YKD Associates, assisted interior designer Lindsey Putzier’s highly successful rebrand.
The Original Brand: Lindsey’s firm, originally dubbed “Eclectic Interiors,” had a brand that attracted a broad range of clients, including DIY enthusiasts, by way of her website and social media presence. While this might sound good on the surface, Lindsey found that she was receiving an overwhelming number of inquiries from people who weren’t necessarily interested in hiring her for design services. While the attention she was receiving from DIY’ers was flattering, running a successful business requires paying clients. This dilution of her audience affected the quality of potential leads.
Rebranding with YKD Associates: Realizing the need for a brand designed to more acutely target quality leads, Lindsey worked with YKD Associates to undergo a complete rebranding. Together, we created a new brand identity that spoke directly to her ideal clients and emphasized her expertise and unique style. The result? A new name, “Lindsey Putzier Design Studio,” a new logo, a more sophisticated color palette, and a brand voice that spoke directly to potential clients.
Remarkable Uptick in Quality Clients: This strategic rebranding effort led to an uptick in the number of inquiries from quality potential clients who resonated with Lindsey’s new brand. “YKD Associates helped me to refine all of my marketing material to reflect exactly who I am and what my company stands for. After the rebrand, I have seen a 6-fold increase in the number of quality client inquiries,” Lindsey shared. The clarity and consistency in her newly up-leveled brand helped her attract the right kind of clientele.
Lindsey’s story demonstrates the transformative potential of a well-crafted interior design brand. More than making your design firm look good, the right branding will attract the right clients who appreciate your expertise and style. Your brand is your business’s first impression, and it should reflect your aesthetics, professionalism, and consistency. And with ever-shortening attention spans, striking branding is your secret weapon to stand out and be remembered. Craft a brand that authentically represents your interior design firm, and you’ll find your ideal clients knocking at your door. Stay tuned for next month’s **Design Business Blueprint**, where we’ll explore more strategic ways for you to fortify and grow your interior design business. Until then, happy designing!
About Design Business Blueprint
Design Business Blueprint is a Design News Now exclusive monthly column written by Yudi Kaufman of YKD Associates. Yudi is a multifaceted business strategist, entrepreneur, and creative, who brings years of experience navigating the home furnishings and interior design industry from the inside out. He has a background in interior design, furniture design, sustainability, e-commerce, business management, human resources, accounting, marketing, and public speaking. Yudi holds a Master’s degree in Sustainable Interior Environments from New York’s FIT – Fashion Institute of Technology. A true left-and-right-brainer! Check back each month for more business tips and follow @ykdassociates on Instagram.