How to develop a brand for your design business

Branding is a must for every furniture maker. Get it right and you enhance your designs with a unique sense of style that connects you with loyal customers. Get it wrong and you miss reaching potential customers or struggle to retain your existing audience.

To get expert insight into the power of branding for designers, we spoke to the amazing team at Studio-So, the award-winning interior and branding design studio that styled the exhibition space for last year’s Professional Course Graduate Show.

Here’s what they had to say:

What is your definition of a “brand”?

A brand really is the human element of your business. It defines who you are. Your brand is why you do what you do, and how you like to do it.

Why is a brand important for design businesses?

A strong brand ensures you stand out and it communicates with your audience when you are not present. A brand has the power to attract or repel, so it’s important to understand its impact. Once established, your brand will stay with you throughout the lifetime of your business. Spending time to get it right is a must!

Where should you begin when it comes to developing a brand?

Start with your ‘Why’ – Why the company exists and why it was founded in the first place. Your story is the thing that makes you different and the reason your audience will buy from you. Finding your ‘Why’ comes from looking back and figuring out why your business exists and what traits or passions led you to create it. Your ‘Why’ forms the foundations of your brand. 

Talk about your ‘What’ – It’s important to tell your customer what you do, but it’s best to do so in a way that is brief, simple, and straightforward.

Prove it with ‘How’ –  How your business delivers your product or service is key. Communicating this to your customer is proof of your ‘Why’ and ‘What’. It reinforces your story and builds trust.  

How can you establish a strong brand identity?

A brand identity has to work hard. It must sum up your ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ quickly and efficiently.

Think about your business as a person. We all value and understand that people are not one dimensional and brands are no different. Like people, brands have a visual presence, a personality, and an attitude.

Think of a face – it’s how we recognise one another, and each face is unique. Your logo is the face of your brand. Moving beyond the face, we can tell a lot about a person from their style, it goes a long way to give a sense of who they are. Your brand’s style and accessories are the fonts you use, colours you select, type of photography you feature and how they all work together. But while your dress sense may give a hint to your character, personality is what makes the difference. It’s what we love about people and what makes us all special. Your brand’s personality is a combination of your views, beliefs, and opinions. How you voice those opinions is a large part of how people perceive you – it can reveal your roots and aspirations, and it is key to connecting with people. Your brand’s tone of voice is the language you use and how you tell the story. 

All these elements must be considered to establish a strong brand identity.

What are some common branding mistakes to avoid? 

  • Inconsistency. Stay focussed and consistent.
  • Bigger isn’t always better. Be considered and thoughtful in your branding. 
  • Don’t rush. Take your time developing your brand. It should last a lifetime.

What are your top tips for designers looking to establish their brand?

  • Talk about ‘Why’, then ‘What’ and prove it by ‘How’
  • Be authentic – Don’t say it if you don’t believe it. 
  • Keep it simple but significant.

Finally, what are your favourite furniture brands?

It’s hard to pinpoint a single brand but a few that are at the top of the list just now would be Miniform, &tradition, and HAY design.

Thank you Studio-So for your contribution to this blog.

If you are interested in taking your design hobby to the next level, take a look at our Professional Furniture Making Course and one day you too can exhibit at our graduate show.

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