Kitchen & Bath Design News

JAN 2018

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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Designers looking to grow their brand, their reach, their credibility and their client base should consider how they can make themselves more 'media friendly.' BY JANICE COSTA Media Matters t's been said that there's no such thing as bad publicity. While some might argue the point, there's plenty of truth in the idea that being seen and known gives people and companies an edge, particularly in a competitive field such as kitchen and bath design. Since clients aren't just paying for products, but rather for a designer's unique creative talents, vision, design know-how and problem-solving skills, building and promoting that brand – and gaining name recognition in as many venues as possible – can mean the difference between being one in a crowd or a standout superstar. But in a world where social media is saturated with photos and two-second attention spans are becoming the norm, how can a designer truly stand out? And with so many media ave- nues available today, where should designers focus their efforts? LOCAL VS. NATIONAL While media attention can be a huge benefit in growing a brand and a business, it's important to understand that not all media is created equal – and targeting the right media to reach your goals is key. Consider what your goals are: Are you looking to build your personal brand, your design brand, or both? Are you looking for credibility or more customers? Is your goal to get your company national or international media acclaim, or would you rather focus on local media that will bring you front and center in the community where your prospects live? "If you're a local designer and that's what you want to be, that's great. But if you want to be on the national scene, your brand needs to reflect that. It's really good to get on the dance floor that is most relevant for you," says Veronika Miller, CEO and founder of Modenus Media LLC and the creative mind behind BlogTour, which brings together media, manufacturers and designers. She continues, "There are people [whose work was fea- tured on] HGTV who never got any projects out of that. The same is true for many nationally published designers; they do it for brand recognition, but don't get any jobs out of it." For that reason, she feels goal setting early on is important. "If you want to be a speaker on design, someone who con- tributes to publications, then I'd really drive that professional exposure thing to the max and get out in front of media across the country. But if that isn't your goal, then I'd look to more traditional local media." YOUR DESIGN BRAND If your goal is to build your design brand, you'll want to use every tool in your arsenal, according to designer Peter Salerno of Peter Salerno Inc. in Wyckoff, NJ, who has earned enormous national and international media acclaim over the course of his career. He notes, "I use all media to share our artistry with the world through my blog, website, Facebook, Pinterest, Houzz, HGTV, NKBA, magazines, etc." He continues, "People ask me, 'What is your best media outlet for exposure?' My answer is: all of them! Put your projects everywhere! You need to give your prospective clients many avenues to find you; they all work. Photograph your best projects, share them with editors and websites, and get them on the internet. If you build it, they will come!" Design contests are another way to garner media attention, according to Cammi Werling of Cammi Werling Designs in Jupiter, FL, who saw this firsthand when she was named one of the winners of KBDN's Design Awards in 2017. Design con- test winners are generally broadcast to multiple media outlets, and some even end up as magazine covers (Werling's design is on the cover of this month's issue of KBDN!). Collaborative partnerships can also earn media attention. Werling, who works with local builders, has had her work published thanks to builders who have submitted whole-home photos to various media outlets. For designers looking to raise their profile with the media, a good website is essential, and a strong social media pres- ence is also important. Indeed, according to Kit Selzer, senior remodeling & projects editor for the Des Moines, IA-based Better Homes & Gardens, "We regularly visit designers' websites to view portfolios and blogs. We also make the rounds on Pinterest and Instagram." Showhouses can also be another avenue to capture media attention, according to Ingrid Abramovitch, features director for Hearst Design Group (including Elle Décor, House Beautiful I Color makes a kitchen design stand out, as seen in this award-winning kitchen designed by Cammi Werling. Photo: Ron Rosenzweig 82 Kitchen & Bath Design News • January 2018 PUBLICITY

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