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How to Identify Your Interior Design Firm's Values for Brand Strategy

behind interior design branding for interior designers marketing strategy Aug 27, 2021
What are Branding Strategy Values?

A Branding 101 Lesson for Interior Designers

In a recent blog article, I wrote about branding and its importance for an interior design business. I have also given you questions to brainstorm before you start developing your brand strategy. In this article, we are going to talk about the values your brand represents. This is the foundation of your branding strategy and will resonate throughout all parts of your branding.

Chase Bank – An Example of Branding Values

An easy example I can use to help you understand branding values is Chase Bank. You most likely have an opinion of Chase bank, whether good or bad, it does a fantastic branding job. The brand consists of a logo that appears on every surface, from the side of the building to the staff’s shirts. Even the walk-off mats and pens are branded.

Chase uses the color blue to simulate trust and honesty. They want their customers to feel their money is safe. And, their staff can be trusted. They also want your interactions to be positive. The employees are always well dressed, the branch is clean, and the service is straightforward. When you approach a Chase employee, their greeting is similar to “Welcome to Chase, How can I Help?” When you leave, the staff member will ask if you need further help.

Related Article: "What is Branding and Why is it Essential to Your Design Business"

Because there is such an emphasis on customer service and they want to create loyalty, they have invested a lot of money in technology. Rather than filling out deposit slips at the ATM, you feed the checks directly into the machine. Online banking is a big push, and their system is always being updated to better serve customers. The longer you are with Chase, the less likely you will move to another financial institution. The marketing department wants to build loyalty by making it hard to set up your accounts and bill paying elsewhere.

This is a prime example of establishing values and ensuring those values are intertwined throughout the customer experience. Yes, you may find it a pain when the online banking interface changes. However, once you use it for a bit, you recognize that it isn’t so bad.

Determining the Branding Values for your Interior Design Firm

Previously I worked at a commercial architecture and engineering firm that placed a significant value on safety. It was a core value that was interwoven throughout the firm. A special team was created to manage all safety. Each employee was trained and certified to Osha standards on safety and internal safety courses that were refreshed each year. This equaled roughly 15 hours per year per employee. That is a big investment.

Employees were given safety gear, including a hard hat, safety glasses, and a reflective vest. There were strict rules about wearing these items on job sites. An ergonomic expert was on staff to help you with your furniture and equipment use. Every month, a safety newsletter was sent to all employees with new safety tips that included job-related safety and personal safety, such as outdoor grilling safety. A running tally of safety prevention and safety issues were shared weekly. The point is, they took safety to a whole other level. Management made sure it was part of every aspect of the job.

I share this as an example of how this firm’s values weren’t just words on a piece of paper. This firm made sure it was implemented through every department and job to ensure safety was the utmost priority.

When you are selecting your values, you should understand how those values will resonate throughout your studio. Maybe a core value might be dependability. When someone does business with your firm, they know they can depend on your team.

Related Article: "10 Must-Ask Questions to Develop a Brand Strategy for your Interior Design Business"

The question you should ask yourself is how do we show dependability at every client touchpoint. Dependability can resonate in communication follow through. A customer calls with a question, and someone returns the call with either the answer or status within 30 minutes. The client will start to see your firm as dependable and know that you will keep them in the loop.

Another way to show dependability is through meeting notes and status updates are sent within one day of a meeting. Even making sure every employee shows up on time to client meetings will show dependability. Implementing a project management process and system that ensures things don’t fall through the cracks helps reinforce dependability.

What is a Value Proposition?

You may see the term value proposition in marketing books and articles. A value proposition is a decisive statement that states the value in which your customers receive from your services and or products. It is used to create messaging, communication, and marketing efforts. However, don’t get hung up on writing this statement at this point in your branding journey.

The downfall of creating a value proposition is that in some situations, you are so close to the business that you may see the value as one thing while your customer sees a different thing. Therefore, research may be needed to define your actual value. With that said, what your clients think today doesn’t mean you can’t adjust what you are doing to create additional value or change customer perspective.

My advice to an interior design firm would be to identify three values important to your clients that you want your communication, marketing, and employee training to revolve around. This is the starting point. If you want a value proposition, it can be as easy as “Our firm is dedicated to offering (value 1), (value 2), and (value 3).” It does not need to be complicated. The important part is how you implement the values throughout your organization.

Want to get started on branding? Check out our newly launched course "Build Your Brand Identity Beyond Logos: How Interior Designers Can Use Branding to Build a Successful Design Business". This is a 1.5 IDCEC credited course and is $49!

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