Understanding Brand Marketing and How it Can Accelerate your Interior Design Business
Have you ever told someone you were an interior designer, and then they respond with, “oh, you can help me decorate my living room.”
Unfortunately, and completely irritatingly enough, some people think an interior designer is someone who only decorates. If you have gone through design school and passed the NCDIQ, then you know being an interior designer is so much more. Brand marketing struggles with the same identity issues.
In marketing, the story isn’t much different. I spent 20 years in marketing before going to interior design school, and to this day, my family still doesn’t know what I did for those 20 years. They just think I advertised products and worked on websites. (Eye-roll) Sadly, they now think I am a decorator. (Another eye-roll)
I recognize my cute parents are super proud of me, so they mean no disrespect at all. Somewhere along with the ways, I probably should have described my jobs and business a bit better than I did. Luckily, my parents aren’t my customers, or at least they don’t pay for my design ideas.
If you are building an interior design business, marketing can feel overwhelming, especially if you don’t have a marketing background. Much like my parents, you may not realize all the aspects of marketing. It is easy to think all marketing is the same. However, just as you had to learn more about your interior design and the industry after design school, you must also learn more about the business aspect of growing a design business. Marketing is a critical element and can help you grow the business or even a career.
What is Brand Marketing for an Interior Design Firm?
When talking about marketing, there are different types of marketing. Many you might have heard thrown around. For instance, there is social media marketing. This is using social media outlets to drive customers to your business. That one is pretty self-explanatory. Product marketing is specific to marketing and selling products – both tangible and intangible. In the simplest terms, it looks at how to position a product in the marketplace, how it is used explicitly by the target market, and how it will solve its problem. Product marketing is specific to a product.
Marketing communications is more about customer communications, internal communications, tradeshows, and possibly public relations. Branding is yet another aspect of marketing that can impact all of these marketing types.
Brand marketing is a critical component to growing an interior design business long term. Your brand is how customers, vendors, and employees see and feel about your firm. Building a solid brand will have a positive impact on your growth trajectory.
You can think of brand marketing as the overarching theme of your business efforts. It is the image that your audience thinks of when they hear your firm’s name, sees the logo or notices similar colors or designs. This theme is used throughout all aspects of business, just not marketing alone, and it is used to influence your audience.
How Branding Marketing Affects Your Interior Design Business
One way we share our brand is through visual representation with logos, colors, and messaging. That logo and your branding colors should be used on everything from your signage to letterhead to proposals to packaging. There should never be a piece of paper or package or communication of any sort that doesn’t have your logo on it.
Using the logo and colors will not drive business specifically, but it will connect all the dots. As your potential client repeatedly sees that logo and those colors, your business will come to mind. That feeling that arises is what will impact your prospect from contacting you. That is why branding is so important. It isn’t just the logo or colors; it is the emotion behind it.
Think about how you describe your company. If someone asks you what your company does and you respond with “we are an interior design firm,” you are missing out on a significant opportunity. The way you talk about your company, whether vocal or written, should be consistent throughout everything.
Crafting Branding Messaging Statements – Short, Medium, and Long of it
Begin by crafting a short, medium, and long branding statement. The short brand statement would be approximately 1 to 2 sentences and clearly defines who you are and what problem you serve. Instead of responding with the introductory statement above, try something like, “we are an interior design firm specializing in redesigning doctor’s offices for improved patient care.” It clearly states you are an interior design firm, but it also states your industry specialty and the problem you solve for your customers.
Your medium branding statement should be around 75 to 100 words and go into more detail and provide one or two accomplishments. This statement goes into a little more detail than the short version, clearly shows you solve a problem, and gives more credibility. This medium statement can be used for social media account, short write-ups in magazines, or online resource listings. You would also use this statement on an RFP that includes several firms.
The long branding statement is your “About Us” page on your website. It goes into much more detail about who the firm is, what industry/ies you serve, how many employees, your accomplishments, and what your mission is as a firm. This is three to five paragraphs and may even include a little background on how the firm started.
All three statements should entice someone to want to know more and to understand your brand. They need to be written concisely and grammatically correct. Make sure you add keywords that you would also use in social media posts or blog posts.
These same principles apply to a personal brand. If you are a firm of one, then you may be thinking more personal brand. You can create the same 3 statements to support your career goals.
Related Article: Everything an Interior Designer Needs to Build a Personal Brand
Branding is defining who you are as a company or person as equity rather than specific features. It is more intangible than just features.
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