Most of you know, but I have a business coaching program, appropriately named "Strategies to Grow Your Interior Design Business." It is a 6-week program where I take my students on a journey of launching - and growing - their interior design business and we tackle everything from how to brand your business to how to charge and how to create processes and systems that will last.
More specifically, in lesson 1, I take them through a brand development journey where we essentially build their brand playbook, starting with answering the question "why branding matters for interior designers" and ending with activating your brand across relevant platforms.
The students LOVE this class. Why? Because it's practical and tactical and I outline the step-by-step process of how to build your brand. No fluff here! My business coaching program is fundamentally about growth. Not perfection. Not boiling the ocean. Not complicated. It's simple, straightforward steps that will bring you from A to B. Or from D to F.
And today I pulled out some of those steps to share them with you, my faithful and loyal readers, entrepreneurs, friends and family. Mom, don't worry, you can stop reading now unless you plan to start a business whilst retired.
Here are 5 steps that will help you build your brand and that will help you grow and develop your brand playbook.
Step 1: Define your 3 (or 5) brand words.
Words matter immensely and coming up with your 3 - or 5 - brand words will first help YOU understand your brand so that your TARGET MARKET can understand your brand. Here are some thought-starters:
When you define these words, you are then able to articulate the essence of what a client will expect when they will work with you. My brand is centered around approachable luxury - I feel that represents me (I'll sport a Target dress with Golden Goose sneakers all day long) and my work (there is NOTHING wrong with pairing Ann Sacks tile with West Elm sconces). Approachable luxury are words but they have significant meaning to me and my brand and thus, my clients. Do this exercise and you will start to unfold your brand, one word at a time.
Step 2: Create your mission (tagline) and expand further to create your "about me." I use Instagram profiles as the basis to my teaching here, answering the Who, What, Target, Where, What Else. Why? Because your IG profile should answer those questions and then you can edit and use it across all of your digital platforms, including your website.
Then take it one step further and build out your "about me", using the words you've defined for your brand. Your about me is so important because ultimately, people hire people, not a business or a brand. SO, make sure a potential customers knows YOU and knows WHO they are hiring. Not just WHAT they are hiring you to do. Here is an example of my About Me as featured on The Haven List.
Step 3: Create Your Logo. A logo matters significantly in brand building and it's important to spend some time thinking about what this tiny but mighty visual will do - or not do - for you and your brand. In today's digital world, a logo is everywhere. It's on your emails, your website, your Facebook profile and the list goes on. For me, when I hired a branding company to help me with this, I knew I wanted a script font because I knew my brand and business would be personal. Here are some interior designer logos that I believe are done well - simple, classic and to the point.
And guys, don't get overwhelmed here or think you need to spend thousands of dollars hiring a branding company. Start where you are with what you have. And what do you have? Oh, Picmonkey, Canva, Logomaker.com and Fiverr, to name a few. Those are 4 resources that you can start with it (just choose 1) to help you create your logo. You can opt for the free versions or spend a bit of money to get the paid version but either way, just get your logo done :)
Step 4: Create a library of professional photos. Oh boy. I could spend days on this topic, I'm that passionate about it! As an interior designer, hiring an interiors photographer was fundamentally what changed my brand and business and helped me get clients I want.
In any business, photography is important and now more than ever, we have an opportunity to differentiate ourselves through photography. Professional photography helps you build your portfolio, it attracts your ideal client and it maximizes your marketing. IT IS WORTH THE INVESTMENT. Repeat after me: IT IS WORTH THE INVESTMENT.
Step 5: Define your color palette. In my notes app, I have a one pager of my brand DNA, including my brand colors and respective hex codes that I use across all of my digital platforms. Colors are important so don't forget this step! Think of the emotion you want to create for your brand. Be flexible and adapt as needed. Meditate on what inspires you and draw from there.
Here are some color palettes I love:
And in my program I always teach my students to work smarter, not harder so when in doubt, go to Pinterest and type in "hex code color palette" and I promise you will either be able to define your colors or it will certainly HELP you get closer to defining them.
Okay, there you have it. You see? I broke this down for my students as part of lesson 1 (and this was only part of the lesson - there is so much more!) and since, each of them have made progress. Some built a full brand playbook and expanded well beyond these 5 steps and some just started with a logo and colors. WIN WIN WIN. Seriously, it's all about getting started and making progress so don't be scared or feel overwhelmed! Just start. Take the next step. Do 1 of these 5 steps and you will be better than you were yesterday. Do all 5 and celebrate. But do something and GROW!
And note! There is so much more to branding - defining your target market, your core values, your competition and the list goes on. But again, this is about bite-sized growth that leads to big wins for small business, interior designers and entrepreneurs.
I hope this helped you today and if you are interested in my business coaching program where we talk about this and SO MUCH MORE, let me know!
And as always, don't forget about my resources for interior designers and entrepreneurs. From my Pinterest Guide to my Marketing Checklist for Project Reveals, there are loads of great resources for you!
P.S. Don't forget to subscribe to my email list to receive more free educational guides, like my 6 educational resources for interior designers!