The Mark of Distinction

Home values are the highest they have been in years. Many homeowners are taking advantage of that additional home equity and low interest rates to take out loans to finance home remodeling projects. With the holidays and winter just months away, and fall design season in full swing, remodelers of all kinds can expect clients to come calling. Will they call on you?

Interior design activity picked up in the second quarter, but designers still lag behind contractors, remodelers, and kitchen and bath specialists in the amount of business they are attracting. Cost can be a factor, certainly, as can be the size or type of project. Still, all things being more or less equal, many homeowners are opting to work directly with tradespeople rather than through a designer. This suggests to me that they do not perceive a sufficient added value that the designer would bring to the project to warrant the additional cost. After all, there’s lot of free or low-cost interior design help out there. That puts the onus on you, the designer, to demonstrate that value.

If you haven’t done so lately, I urge you to take some time to review your website, social media pages, and promotional materials through the cold, hard, skeptical eye of the consumer. How are you distinguishing yourself and your services from the competition, both those outside the profession and other designers targeting the same market as your ideal client? What makes your offering unique? Do the images you are using demonstrate what sets you apart, or are they similar to those of lots of other designers (to the uneducated eye of the consumer)?

Think of the perfume counter in a large department store. There are literally hundreds of brands for the consumer to choose from, each promising to make the purchaser more alluring. Yet, each strives in its way to appear in some way unique, touting its mark of distinction, be it a celebrity endorsement, appeal to a certain lifestyle or fashion sense or lifestage, distinctive bottle or branding, or guaranteed results to attract the object of one’s affections. In the end, they are all selling the same thing, but not in the same way.

So what is your firm’s mark of distinction? It should be obvious and front and center in all your business communications. Otherwise, yours is little more than a generic brand.

If you are having trouble identifying or articulating your mark of distinction, then please contact me. I will work with you to review your marketing materials and create a unique, distinct brand presence to set you apart from the competition.

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