What every retailer and designer must do in 2024: Brand building | Cheryl Kees Clendenon

Cheryl Kees Clendenon

As we find ourselves sliding hard into 2024, our firm is undergoing some exciting changes, both in our team dynamics and overall vision. This made it the ideal time to reevaluate and refresh our branding to better connect with our clients and customers and revaluate how we are showing up in our various profit centers.  It might be a good idea for you to consider, too!

Focusing on your business brand isn’t just about logos, colors or catchy taglines — it’s about building a comprehensive, client-centric strategy that evolves with the market and stands the test of time. In today’s ever-changing market landscape and elevated customer and client expectations, evaluating your branding on a regular basis is key to staying relevant. Whether you are content with your current branding or not, the following four marketing moves are important considerations for 2024.

Conduct a brand assessment

A brand audit is a strategic process stemming from a clear understanding of what your business is all about, who your customers and clients are, and how you fit into the competitive landscape. The insights you gain from the brand audit will serve as a foundation upon which you can build a refreshed brand that reaches the right audience or perhaps simply tweaks an element or two.

  1. Evaluate honestly: Are you connecting with the right audience for where you are today? Is your target audience the same? Or do you want to expand who you are reaching?
  2. Take stock of all the existing brand elements, from visual components like logos and color schemes to messaging, website and social media presence, and evaluate how these elements align with your current business objectives.
  3. Collect feedback from clients, customers and team members to understand how your brand is currently perceived. Are you projecting the values, quality and mission that you intend? Are there gaps between customer expectations and their actual experience with your brand?

Develop a strong “Brand Promise”

Don’t have a brand promise? You need one.

Beyond delivering an impressive final creative product or epic shopping experience lies another critical component: your brand promise. This isn’t simply a catchy slogan or a byline; it’s an articulation of the experience clients should expect from the moment they engage with your brand. This commitment extends to both the clients and your team. Your team’s ability to internalize and express this promise is essential for maintaining brand integrity. This long-form mission statement embodies all the core values your brand represents.

  1. Think about what you really want people to know about you and what the soul of your business is all about. Then say that. Keep it simple and direct.
  2. Cull through client or customer reviews. What comes up a lot in comments?
  3. Spend the time working on conveying authenticity in your verbiage and not simply using tired and overused phrases. Consider working with a professional copywriter once you have distilled the essence of what your brand represents.

Create a compelling brand video

A skillfully produced brand video is a game-changer for interior designers and can be a competitive advantage for retailers, too. It not only narrates your brand’s story compellingly but also fosters a deeper connection with your target audience. The visual element adds a layer of sophistication and professionalism that clients and customers immediately recognize. In my view, a brand video is indispensable—it’s the fastest way to engage your ideal clients, elevate your brand’s perceived value, and solidify your credibility.

  1. Look for a videographer who tells stories. A documentary style shoot can evoke a more emotional connection.
  2. Have clients, contractors, even subs talk about your relationship and the value they feel your company represents. Of course, you and key team members will speak as well but these third party endorsements are powerful.
  3. Think about combining “B roll” footage that shows a job site, the retail shop, you doing what you typically do in a day, working in your resource room or at a favorite vendor, still photos of finished projects, completed client projects or anything that helps convey the essence of the brand deliverables.

Set up a team branding photo shoot

Having a library of professionally shot branding photos ensures you have a consistent look and feel across all platforms and various social touchpoints. Consistency boosts recognition and trust. The best part? It is a great team-building, fun event!

  1. Find a photographer that shoots in the style you are seeking. Be sure their website portfolio jives with your style and ask questions of how they conduct branding shoots and what it entails.
  2. Don’t do just a simple portrait but have fun with a shoot. Bring props that represent your design aesthetic or create a backdrop that tells a bit of story too. Or you can take it outside and find local iconic landmarks to incorporate into your messaging.
  3. Plan for a wardrobe change. Make sure the team collaborates in either style or colors to make the end results more dramatic. Try and get individual shots if you have a team as well as group shots. Have fun!

Consumer behavior continues to evolve rapidly. People aren’t just buying products or services anymore; they’re buying into the ethos of brands that resonate with how they feel about themselves.  This makes it critical to have a brand that clearly communicates your values, is compelling and memorable enough to cut through noisy clutter and will turn customers and clients into your personal brand ambassadors.

See also:

  1. How to improve your listening skills | Cheryl Kees Clendenon

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