The difficulty in branding a business stems largely from the fact that there is no real way to measure the effect that a campaign will have on the public at large. While modern means of tracking marketing efforts and conducting surveys have certainly shed light on this issue over the last several years and made it far easier for companies to strategize and tweak their branding efforts, still there are so many factors that can play into the formation of an individual consumer opinion that it is practically impossible to ensure that the intended effect is accomplished. And yet, there is much that you can do to push public opinion in your favor when it comes to branding. Here are just a few suggestions for the interior design business looking to create a positive brand image.
- Consider perceived benefits. Why do people choose one brand over another, all things being equal? In some cases it has to do with a trusted recommendation, proximity, or cost, but in nearly every case there is an element of perception involved. For some reason, consumers view one brand as better than another. It is your job not only to raise awareness of your business, but to ensure that the information being circulated about your company is flattering. This will require you to release the data you want to get around, keep tabs on how it spreads, and do your best to curb opposing views when possible.
- Listen to consumers. This may not sound like a particularly novel idea, so it is rather surprising just how many companies skimp on customer service. The average, satisfied customer might recommend your company if asked, but those who are given extra attention will rave about you to anyone who will listen. On the other hand, those who receive terrible service won’t hesitate to lambast you, often in public forums.
- Join the community. Participating in or planning community events is a great way to raise awareness of your brand and create a positive image. As an interior designer you no doubt operate mainly within a particular community, so being seen publicly supporting worthy causes and giving back can only help to endear you to the local populace while helping to spread your name.
- Go green. With all the hubbub surrounding eco-friendly pursuits these days, many businesses are looking for ways to greenify. As an interior designer you have a unique opportunity to help homeowners create living spaces that are less harmful to the Earth and to the health of their families, and doing so has the added benefit of giving you bragging rights that can help to elevate your brand.
- Focus on your first impression. Glossy photos of colorful rooms complete with modern furnishings and ritzy décor (hanging lamps, wall fountains, etc.) won’t do you much good if nobody ever sees them, so the majority of your early efforts at branding should go into your website. When you have a portal that you feel adequately reflects the goals and ideals of your business, as well as the products and services you offer, and you’ve done the legwork to optimize, you can move on to other efforts. But do not underestimate the impact of a first impression!