Ericka is the founder of Saurit Creative, a boutique brand marketing agency dedicated to supporting and elevating brands within the home industry. With a global perspective and a wealth of experience in both interior design and brand marketing leadership, Ericka has played a pivotal role in digital product development and brand strategy at Airbnb in San Francisco, writing the Design for Hosting guidelines and creating content to educate hosts on exactly how to uplevel their listings using interior design as a sales tool. Ericka’s unique blend of skills in interior design and marketing drives her passion for transforming businesses into standout brands.
Get inspired as Ericka shares her practical and original approaches to marketing and branding—with frameworks to help you craft unforgettable brand narratives and to learn the fundamentals of marketing so that you can build genuine, unbreakable trust with your audience online.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought about a seismic shift in our relationship with our living spaces. Suddenly, our homes transformed into multifunctional hubs where we work, eat, learn, and unwind. This newfound focus on the quality of our living spaces triggered a surge in demand for interior designers across the spectrum, from e-designers to vacation rental specialists and even artisans. The home design industry was booming, and designers were busier than ever.
Should they continue to say yes to every opportunity, or should they take a step back and reevaluate their approach?
Ericka understands that in times of potential slowdown or normalization, it’s essential for designers to be discerning about the clients and projects they accept. Rather than panicking and slashing marketing budgets, Ericka advocates for a more strategic approach: to view downtime as an opportunity for introspection and improvement.
Instead of minimizing their marketing efforts, believing they need to save money and protect their businesses, do this instead:
· Use this period of relative calm to rethink their brand and messaging.
Understanding what your brand truly represents and crafting the right message for your clients is vital. This involves a deep dive into your brand identity, ensuring it aligns with your vision for your business.
“Rather than fearing the changing tides, successful designers embrace the opportunity to redefine their brand and marketing strategy during slowdowns. In the world of design, adaptation is the key to lasting success.”
A fundamental principle holds true: before you can effectively create a website, marketing collateral, or dive into the realm of social media, you must have a solid and clear brand message.
Ericka understands that a strong brand message lays the foundation for a successful marketing strategy. It’s not just about how you visually present your brand; it’s about the story you want to tell, the values you want to convey, and the ideology you represent.
Ericka’s approach is clear:
· Get your brand message straight. Once that foundation is solid, you can visualize your brand and determine which marketing channels and assets to prioritize.
“Your marketing budget first must be spent on getting that story straight.”
A muddled or unclear brand message can create challenges when building a website. A website isn’t just a place to showcase your work; it’s also a platform to tell your story and connect with your audience. It’s where you aim to resonate with your visitors and, yes, even convert them into clients.
Ericka’s first point is simple yet crucial: not having photography is a missed opportunity. Photography is a cornerstone of effective branding for any designer or design professional. It’s the visual language that speaks volumes about your work, your style, and your brand’s personality.
But having photography alone isn’t enough. It’s about ensuring that your images align with your brand message. If your approach to interior design has evolved or shifted, your existing photography may no longer represent your current values and identity. In such cases, Ericka suggests refreshing your image library to better align with your brand’s current direction.
“Photography isn’t just about pretty pictures; it’s about visual storytelling. Without compelling photography that aligns with your brand, conveying your message becomes a much more challenging task. So, invest in photography—it’s one of the first and most important investments you can make in your business.”
Ericka is all about mindset. For a successful partnership with marketing professionals, designers must be willing to step out of their comfort zones and trust in the expertise of their chosen partners. Trust is the linchpin here. Ericka believes that trust is why there are various professionals to work with, allowing designers to find the right fit for their needs.
One tip to consider is to be open to their suggestions to unlock the full potential of the partnership. This openness mirrors the relationship designers have with their clients, where clients trust the designer’s expertise in interior design.
Once designers have embraced the mindset necessary for collaboration, they become more willing to invest in various aspects of their business. These investments extend beyond marketing professionals to encompass other areas where professional help is required.
Ericka’s final piece of advice is a reminder that while professionals can create marketing materials and strategies, the designer must create the core brand message and authenticity. Designers should not simply hand over their brand identity but should actively participate in the process, understanding the reasons behind the strategies and messaging created for them.
Good luck, and let me know how these tips help you to grow your community!
Until next time, take one new action that lifts up your brand!
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