Designing For Brand Loyalty

Bad design can be as memorable as good design. Brands have to decide how they want to be remembered.
— Ken Peters

No matter if you’re a solopreneur with an Etsy shop, or frenetic blur of a small-to-mid-size business owner, with employees, a vehicle fleet, and tools to manage, there’s no doubt that on some level you care for your brand.

Every business owner has goals for their brand, and those goals shift and bob and weave as older goals are met, new challenges present themselves, and new opportunities become ripe for the taking. Through it all, the adept business owner understands that the shifting tides are always an opportunity to put your brand forward in new and different light. @@Attention to your business’s public image isn’t just a must! It’s a much needed, well-honed behavior!@@

The key to that public image isn’t necessarily creativity or theatrics, but a consistently crafted visual aesthetic. Here’s a little axiom on me!

@@The more loyalty you show to the care and operation of your business, the more recognizable and valuable your brand becomes.@@

Excellent design is eye-catching! Excellent design used correctly and consistently by a business is loyalty-inducing! After all, design isn’t just about achieving an end, it’s about creating an experience and supporting an identity - in this case, the identity of your clientele, who you want to happily associate themselves with your business.

Design shows up to get the job done, too! Imagine a person walking down the street quietly thinking about their need to find a new stylist. Then they see a sign for your salon, the same sign they’ve passively noticed a few times before. Now seems like a great moment for them to pull out their smartphone and look you up. What happens next is up to you. They can find a generic Google entry for their business that reiterates much of what they already know (your name, your location), or they can find a gorgeous website, branded to match your signage, to reaffirm your identity. Your web content could include customer reviews, artful photographs of the work your stylists do, and a tool to make an appointment. Today, that person is more likely to make an appointment with you right there on their smartphone, with your physical signage in their line of sight and your website on their smartphone in their hand. Design makes that moment happen.

Now I know what you’re thinking! “Isn’t that a story about how design wins over a new client and not a story about how design builds brand loyalty?” Yes! And NO!

What just happened was a modern branded experience. A client identifies a brand in the physical world and then visits its digital counterpart and finds a brand experience that complements the real world. The client finds convenience in the online appointment system and then arrives to a brand interior and has an amazing, positive-review-worthy, experience. These things compound. Positive brand experience after positive brand experience becomes a part of the client’s lifestyle and their sense of loyalty to your brand and your business grows.

@@Design builds brands loyalty by creating visual context around the positive experiences you create for your clients!@@

This is a lesson I don’t recommend forgetting. Earlier I mentioned shifting goals and new opportunities to present a branded face to the world. This will happen, it’s inevitable. Consistency - holding tight to some elements, while adding, and honoring others, will allow your reach to expand as each new design iteration appeals to new clients. Design, like everything else, evolves - sometimes lethargically slow, sometimes violently fast. What’s important is that you stay on your game and put quality brand managers and designers on speed dial - better yet, put them on retention!

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