WEBINAR: How to Build a Design Brand Without a Marketing Budget


In August, Dering Hall’s Erin Gilbert sat down with interior designer and esteemed coach Capella Kincheloe. Capella started her interior design career at Michael Smith Inc. in Los Angeles, where she worked on multi-million dollar projects around the world.  She left to start her own company in  Atlanta, and discovered that while she had incredible experience in design and project management, she didn't have the basic tools to run and build a business.  She now spends her time teaching others what she learned. 

The five factors of building a successful design brand:

1. Visual Branding –    Visual branding is the look of your business including elements like fonts, colors, and your logo. Capella considers this  the least important part branding.  People today are exposed to so much visual stimulus that simply having an elegant logo or a beautiful website isn't enough to break through the clutter.  While visual branding is a good foundation to build from, it's not enough to create a compelling brand.  

2. Specialty – Identify your specialty as something that sets you apart from the competition.  In her example, Capella uses a designer who specializes in luxury pool houses. A unique specialty like that can be the foundation of your brand.     Having a specialty doesn't mean it is the only thing you do, but it can mean that you will be known for that skill and will rank higher in search engines with terms that include your specialty.   

3. Special Sauce – Identify what makes you different from other designers by asking people you know and using personality tests like the ones listed to discover your special sauce:

1.     https://www.howtofascinate.com/
2.     https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com/
3.     https://www.viacharacter.org/www/

4. Social Proof – What people say about your business can become part of your brand.  Social proof, or online testimonials, are powerful. According to Inc.com, over 91% of people say they read online reviews and 84%  say they trust reviews as much as a personal recommendation.   Nurture and facilitate social proof for your own business by asking for testimonials and offering easy ways for people to rate your services and offer feedback. 

5. Execution – Once you have the four elements above in place, it is time to execute.  

a. Homepage – Your homepage is usually the first place prospects interact with your brand. Make sure your homepage includes your visual branding, highlights your specialty, reinforces your special sauce and offers social proof.  

b. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – SEO is a powerful way for people to find you online.  To learn more about boosting your SEO, watch the Dering Hall SEO Webinar.

c. Drive Desire – Use your branding to make people want to hire you. Communicate your brand values clearly. 

d. Service – Incorporate your brand into the service you deliver clients.  If part of your branding, for example, is that you are reliable, make sure to get to every appointment on time or early.  

On September 17, 2018 Capella Kincheloe will be launching a special business course for interior designers.
 Click here for more information.

Erin Gilbert