Interior Designer Project
I just finished a major project for Steve Alt Design Group, an interior design firm that hadn't touched their brand or marketing effort in years. My role was to refocus the company on their core goals, evolve the brand, lay the fresh marketing foundation, and begin the new business development effort.
The Perfect Customer
I challenge all of my clients to focus on their ideal customer.
What are you really good at doing?
This is what comes naturally to your firm. Don't simply concentrate on what you enjoy doing, but rather what your most successful projects look like. I encourage an honest examination: what did the bulk of those successful projects deliver, and who are those clients? Your customers are voting with their dollars on what your greatest value is to them.
What is Success?
Every company has their own definition of a successful project, but here are some common benchmarks:
- Generates positive net profit
- Injects enough cash flow to sustain the business
- Fits well with the current workload and other commitments
- Is compatible with the firm's skill set and delivery resources
- Corresponds with timing constraints
- Provides personal satisfaction
- And...whatever your unique success qualifiers may be...
Steve Alt Design Group had been pulled in many directions, from interior design to staging to estate management. When we looked at the common denominator of these activities, it boiled down to "Fresh. Timeless. Design." SADG's client's wanted fresh, timeless design in their lives and needed these elements to travel with them as their environment progressed.
Most of their clients started with an interior design project, often a remodel. The typical client's home is generally 2,000 - 10,000 square feet, clearly upscale. These homes needed upgrading and SADG handled the project.
When the time came for those clients to sell, they asked SADG to stage the home for a speedy sale at the highest price. They wanted their home to stand out, to feel fresh and timeless, to demonstrate the superior design.
Throughout this overall process, these same clients wanted to ensure their portfolio of homes remained fresh and timeless. Who better to trust in their homes than SADG? Estate maintenance and upgrades naturally surfaced as an ongoing service. SADG's maintenance and repair side of the business has become a consistent and recurring revenue generator.
We focused Steve Alt Design Group on delivering "Fresh. Timeless. Design" to enhance their clients' lives. These clients have a defined net worth/income range, live in a specific collection of communities, and can be readily identified.
Nuts and Bolts
Next we proceeded to the challenging work of implementing all our desired changes. This effort can feel overwhelming, especially before the goals are clearly defined and the clarity of vision is in place. My goal was to deliver the vision.
Since the brand identity hadn't been touched in years, it desperately needed to evolve to match how the brand had grown. We developed a branding guideline with customer profiles and the brand's gender BEFORE delving into graphic design. It amazes me how many companies begin drawing pretty pictures before clearly defining their goal.
The new logo symbol signifies how SADG helps their clients by creating a comprehensive support system. The bottom section is the foundation, representing SADG's core - interior design. This foundation creates a lifestyle that reflects the client's unique personality and needs. The left symbol signifies estate management and maintenance, keeping the client's properties running smoothly. The right symbol signifies the staging side of the business, helping client's successfully sell their homes and move forward with their lives. Taken as a whole, the new logo symbol conveys how SADG helps their family of clients.
The charcoal grey background is no accident. This color implies that SADG is a positive but neutral palette for their clients. Charcoal is a strong foundation color to build from, but the client becomes the influencing factor rather than SADG imposing their own purpose. Think of it as an excellent base canvas.
The previous website was like many sites, it needed of help. We created a digital brochure which set the tone for the brand. While there were a variety of mechanical requirements, our top priority was to convey "Fresh. Timeless. Design."
Key elements of my checklist for a site like this include:
- Must reflect the brand
- Potential customers can tell within 3 - 6 seconds if this site interests them
- Multiple calls to action
- Responsive to all devices (mobile, tablet, & desktop)
- Search Engine Optimized (SEO)
- Geo tagged for the location
- Connected to all relevant social media
- Built on a simple content management system like WordPress
- Incorporates a blog
- Automatically feeds content to social media, but also keeps all content native on the site
We met these criteria and even included an impressive "before and after" photo splitter in the staging section. Check it out. The first three images show the stylish results, and the fourth image lets you slide back and forth between "before" and "after" to see the dramatic improvement.
For Steve Alt Design Group, business cards are still an important leave-behind piece. SADG's client acquisition efforts include hands-on business development (Biz Dev) in conjunction with their online marketing. Their Biz Dev is a very tactile experience and requires an impressive piece that looks and feels great, but does not bust the budget. I have extensive experience working within these constraints and have developed excellent resources and solutions.
Like it or not, social media is here to stay. The strategy we built around social media included a mechanism to keep all the rich content on our actual website while also pushing it out to social media. This is a very effective and powerful process which is mostly automated, making it easy to manage. SADG still posts random concise content directly on social media, but the rich content originates with our blog. The intelligent software solutions I have created to automatically push blog content onto most of the social media platforms provides a valuable instrument to drive up SEO results.