One of the most challenging parts of being in business for yourself is standing out from the crowd. In order to attract clients and forge a personal connection, you need to develop an individual brand that’s all your own. If you can connect with clients on a personal level, you can win their trust and ultimately their business.
This is a secret that many well-established interior designers already know. They’ve separated themselves from the pack by infusing their business with a unique personality, known as a brand. Having a personality makes it easier to draw prospective clients to you. Prospects will feel like they know you on a personal level. They know what to expect from you, and that inspires confidence, and confidence inspires commerce.
But building a brand isn’t easy. How do you distill your personality and convert it into a brand? If you’re struggling with that answer, this post is for you. Let’s discuss what you need to know to create a brand from scratch for your interior design business.
What is a Brand?
Let’s start off with the hardest part first: Defining the term “brand.”
Brand has become somewhat of a buzzword. The term is bandied about so often that its meaning is muddled. Perhaps you are confused about what it means to build your interior design brand. Here’s the quickest way to define brand:
Your brand is your business’ unique personality. It’s an extension of who you are as an interior designer, including your vision and aesthetic.
Your brand is also defined by the subjective opinions of others. Your clients (past, current, and prospective) all play an active role in defining who you are as a business. The way they feel about you, and the words you use to describe your business to others, all go into defining your brand.
As you can see, your brand is a combination of your personality and the way that others perceive your personality. While you can’t control another person’s perception, you can influence it, and that’s the scope of this post.
When you take charge of your branding, you can create a more intentional, cohesive, and clear business personality. This leads to better positioning on the marketplace among your competitors. You’ll also be able to attract high-quality leads because you’ve clearly defined your business.
What are the Different Types of Branding?
Branding can be broken into two different types: Visual Branding and Experience Branding. Let’s take a closer look at each.
What is Visual Branding?
Visual branding is everything that visually communicates your business’ personality. Visual branding includes how you present your business, such as:
- Color palette
- Font choice
- Logo design
- Website design
- Business card design
- Stationery design
- Newsletter design
- Advertisement layout
- Social media imagery
- Imagery in general
- Video cinematography
- Office furnishings and decor
- Office furniture arrangement
- Your personal presentation (clothing, hair, appearance)
- Your staff’s personal presentation
As you can see, visual branding refers to many different physical and visual elements that make up your business’ individual personality.
What is Experience Branding?
Experience branding is how clients “feel” about your brand. Do you know what your clients think about your business?
You directly influence how people experience your business by the way you choose to communicate. From marketing messages to client support during a project, how you reach out will leave a profound impression. It’ll give them insight into who you are as a business, whether that’s caring, casual, professional, homespun, quirky, or serious.
It’s important to know what words your clients use to describe your brand. This helps you understand how people perceive your brand messaging, so that you can either tweak it or double down.It's key to define your own brand purposefully and intentionally. Otherwise, your clients will. Click To Tweet
Tips for Building Your Brand
Now let’s focus on the steps that you need to build your brand.
Define Your Target Client
The very first step in creating your brand is to define your target client. Once you know who you’re targeting, you can then create a compatible personality for your business.
For example, if you’d like to appeal to a younger demographic, it makes sense to present your interior design business in a way that entices a younger audience. You’ll use hip language, more contemporary designs in your marketing, and make it a point to stay on top of the latest trends in interior design.
Your target client is not only who you’d like to work with, but also who you work best with. When you finally discover who this person is, it may surprise you. But it’s a lot easier to work with a client who’s compatible with your business than it is to force an unnatural relationship with the wrong type of client who doesn’t “get” your brand and may ruin your reputation in the process.
Define Your Specialty
The next step in building your brand is to define your specialty. Do you have a niche? If you do, you can define your brand as the go-to local expert in your desired field. That will certainly set you apart and give you a good starting point for cultivating a brand personality.
If you haven’t already, learn more about the benefits of choosing a niche for your interior design business here.
Define Your Unique Value Proposition
What makes you different from every other interior designer? Why should a prospective customer choose you in a head-to-head matchup against your strongest competitor?
Your answer can be anything from “years of experience” to the “suite of services” that you offer, but do have an answer. The unique value that you bring your clients will most definitely influence how they perceive you overall.
Define Your Visual Identity
As we mentioned before, a big part of your brand is visual perception. It’s key that you create a cohesive, consistent design that your clients will come to associate with your business.
When creating a visual identity for your brand, consider adopting a signature color palette and font type. You’ll use the same visual identity throughout all of your printed and online media, including on your website, social media, checks, packaging, brochures, business cards, signage, and mood boards.
Define Your Overall Vision
What sentiment would you like to convey to your clients and why? Your own self-perception can affect how clients perceive your brand. Of course, in order to affect your clients, you must be intentional with your brand messaging. Make sure that you clearly define who you are and what you wish to accomplish with your business. It should be obvious (if not subtle) in every single interaction that you have with clients.
Understand That Brand-Building Takes Time
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same is true for your brand. Over the years of growing your business, you’ll also cultivate your own unique brand. Be flexible and adapt as your business needs, and client needs, change.
Building your brand helps you differentiate yourself from all of your competition. Remember that branding doesn’t just boil down to visuals, it’s also the way your clients (past, current, and prospective) perceive your business. Use the above tips to control the way your clients experience working with you and your team.
Before you go, check out these related posts:
- How to Create a Business Plan for Your Interior Design Business
- Setting Up Your Interior Design Office
- How to Grow a Design Business That Truly Reflects YOU