The Fundamentals of Brand Loyalty for Growing Interior Design Firms
Have you ever paused and asked yourself why you choose one brand over another? Most of us don’t. Behind each purchase decision is a subconscious thought process helping us decide whether or not to purchase from that brand.
Kate Spade is a brand I’ve been loyal to for years. My 9-year-old daughter tries to suggest other purse brands when we’re out shopping and I always respond with the same thing, “Is it Kate Spade? Read the tag, honey.” This is a perfect example of brand loyalty.
Brand loyalty is when a consumer has a positive experience and/or association with a brand and feels devoted to its product or service and continues to make repeat purchases.
For interior designers, brand loyalty shows up when clients book repeat projects with your firm and refer you to friends and family. With brand loyalty, you are the first person they’ll think of and likely the only option they’ll consider.
So how does one create brand loyalty? What are the branding essentials one must have in place?
This article will help you better understand the many layers of branding for interior designers, the importance of brand messaging, the elements of a strong brand design, website must-haves, components of a streamlined client experience, and more.
By strategically weaving these elements together, you’ll begin to create brand loyalty for your firm. But first, let’s make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to a few terms that are commonly misunderstood. Here are a few simple definitions to help you understand each:
- Brand: A brand is considered an intangible marketing or business concept that helps people identify a company, product, or individual. (Investopedia) Your brand is determined by your audience’s gut feeling about your product, service, or company, ie what they say, think, and feel about your business.
- Branding: Branding as a verb is everything you do to help shape your ideal client’s perception of your product, service, or company.
- Brand Strategy: Your brand strategy is a long-term, strategic plan that identifies your brand values, company vision, unique market position, ideal client profile, and more.
- Brand Messaging: Your brand message is the words you use to communicate to your ideal client. Can also be referred to as brand tone or voice.
- Brand Design: Your brand design is the visual elements of your brand, such as your logos, colors, and font choices. Can also be referred to as brand identity.
I thought it also might be helpful to outline three of the most common professionals and their role in supporting you with your branding:
- Business Coach: Helps you get clear on your business goals and helps you create a plan of action to achieve them. They can also provide coaching around identifying your target audience and key services.
- Brand Strategist + Copywriter: Helps you develop your brand strategy and then writes website copy that will attract and convert your ideal clients. They can also help you with marketing content creation such as newsletters, lead magnets, and blog posts.
- Brand + Website Designer: Creates a branded visual identity that supports your business goals and brand strategy. This can include your logos, brand colors, typography, website, print design collateral, and more.
Not all professionals offer the above services as I’ve laid them out so it’s important to do your research before hiring. I’m a Brand + Website Designer myself. There are some website designers who won’t do brand design and some brand designers who won’t do websites. The same goes for the Brand Strategist + Copywriter role.
One of the best decisions I made in 2021 was hiring Ochre&Beige for my brand strategy and website copy.
Why is brand strategy important to brand loyalty?
Prior to hiring Ochre&Beige, I was crystal clear on my business goals and my ideal client. I knew exactly what I wanted in my business and who I wanted to work with. The problem was I didn’t know how to communicate that with my messaging and that was hurting my brand loyalty.
After working with them, I was delivered a guide that clearly outlined my:
- Brand goals
- Target audience + client profiles
- Competitor analysis
- Strengths + weaknesses
- Differentiating factor
- Brand values + how to integrate them into my marketing
- Mission statement
A brand strategist has the unique ability to take what’s swirling around in your head and outline it into a strategic plan that supports the business you want.
This helps you with clarity and consistency when it comes to increasing your brand loyalty.
Not everyone has to hire a brand strategist to build brand loyalty. But it is vital to be able to clearly articulate the brand strategy essentials mentioned above.
Website copy comes after brand strategy.
I worked with Ochre&Beige on my website copy immediately after my brand strategy was delivered. We outlined the pages of my website and created a strategic site structure. They then got to work writing the copy for each page of my website. Each one strategically aligned with my brand strategy that was already established.
A common misconception about hiring a copywriter is they won’t be able to capture your voice or tone. But once your brand strategy is complete, they’ll have everything they need to write your website copy in your brand voice. Plus, there are always opportunities for refinements of the website copy, too.
As a website designer, I require all of my clients to submit their website copy prior to their project start date. I also recommend they hire a copywriter rather than doing it themselves for the best results. Most copywriters will also write and optimize your website copy for SEO, too.
A strong brand design is a visual representation of your brand values, differentiating factor, and mission statement.
Your brand design should also be created with your ideal client in mind. And your website design should be doing the same while also supporting your business goals.
Design follows strategy and copy. Always and forever.
Clarity on these brand essentials must come before your website creation. Otherwise, your website will fall flat, attract the wrong audience and, in some cases, do more harm than good.
My 30-day brand and website design process allow you to get branded and launched in no time. But prior to working together, I ask for the items covered above.
Brand design includes:
- Primary Logo
- Secondary Logo
- Alternate Brand Mark
- Color Palette Selection
- Typography Selection
Once well-established, you’ll use your new brand identity elements throughout your client experience both online and off for a seamless, cohesive brand experience.
Your brand design is also typically step one in the website design process. My process includes this in Week 01 when I’m also designing your homepage.
A streamlined, user-friendly website that speaks directly to your ideal client is a vital step in building brand loyalty.
With your website being most people’s first interaction with your brand, you want it to be a positive experience. Here you’ll weave your new website copy into a design that’s been uniquely created for you and your brand.
A strong website design that promotes brand loyalty includes:
- Concise copy
- Professional photography
- Cohesive brand design
- Clear calls to action
The above essentials will effortlessly guide your ideal clients through your website and encourage them to take action.
Aside from your website looking beautiful, it needs to be extremely easy to navigate. Website visitors should never feel lost or confused as to how to take that first step to working with you.
A website is usually the first step in your client experience, and it should be effortless.
Your client experience or client journey is referring to the steps one takes to become a client with you. It also includes all the steps thereafter. From their first interaction to their last. It’s important to outline this process so you can streamline and improve it.
With my client experience, I started with a Google Doc and outlined every step of my process. From inquiry to onboarding to project management to project close and beyond.
A well-refined client experience promotes efficiency in your business, saving you time and money.
It will also allow you to build more brand loyalty and set you apart from your competitors.
Additional elements to consider for a fully polished brand experience could include your print collateral, business cards, notecards, letterhead, client gifts, welcome packets, presentations, social media, and more.
Aside from delivering an impeccable end result, you’ll want to keep all of these fundamentals in mind to increase brand loyalty for your firm.
If you need support with your brand and website design, I’d love to support you! Click here to get in touch.
Questions on any of the content mentioned above? Pop them in the comments section below and we can dive deeper into the conversation.
Hi, I'm Katie! I'm a seasoned brand + website designer who specializes in timeless branding and fuss-free WordPress websites for interior designers. Here I share simple tips + inside peeks for interior design firms elevating their digital presence.
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