How to utilize a downturn to spark creativity and innovation?

Pause. Reflect. Analyze.

How to utilize a downturn to spark creativity and innovation?

Many business owners focus on clients, trying to find new business or just trying to keep up with the present, which leaves little time to really look and review where they are (other than financially). This time of year, especially after the changes, pauses, and upheaval that the Pandemic brought on, can be a good opportunity to do that and plan for the future. When was the last time you visited your business plan or goals for both you personally as well as the company?

Time for More Questions and Introspection:

What is working well? Make sure you are in sync with your brand vision.  Continually ask yourself and your team are we supporting our core values. Also, think about efficiency, what items are clients asking for that from time and financial standpoint make sense.

What isn’t working?  Make sure your structure both physical space, employees and others involved in your business. We realized we didn’t need the large office space and overhead as most can work remotely, so we adapted and moved to Hayvn a great co-working space which has so many more benefits and costs are better.

How is your team?  Is everyone that is supposed to be, as author Jim Collins says, on the “right” bus.  It is time to query and get feedback. People like to be valued, acknowledged and asked for their opinions.

Try something new.  Ask your team if there is something they need or want to learn.  Consider a class online.  There are no more excuses as you can do it from your home anytime, day or night.    Business of Home, a design industry trade source, has ongoing seminars on everything from pricing and legal to licensing to product design, etc.

Explore doing new things or doing others differently. Experiment. Take your passions and see if they can be other business avenues. For example, designer Donna Benedetto used to do a lot of decorative painting prior to interior design. She’s tapped back into her creative side and developed an art business to compliment her interior design practice. Fuel your passion.

Designers are creative types who use problem solving to find new opportunities. Check out Robert Passal, designer, retailer and now product designer.  He was looking for wallpaper for his clients and couldn’t find what he wanted. Now he has boutique self-produced line.

Lastly, there is the head/gut connection.  If things don’t feel right, there is typically a reason.

Take the time for yourself and notice.

Here is to 2021: The Year of Possibilities.

If you are looking to craft your story and need help. Reach out.

To learn more, contact or (203) 966 8203

How to utilize a downturn to spark creativity and innovation?2021-01-04T21:04:49-05:00

Creating Your Persona

Creating Your Persona

A Picture Says a Thousand Words… Today that Saying is Very True.

Visual storytelling has become the norm in how we market our businesses. Everything about your brand is packaged in a specific way to tell your story.

Everything starts with your name. Is it you or what you offer? Can your potential customer identify or relate to it? Does it focus on being remembered or clearly state what your business is? Whether it’s your name or related to your business both have validity in the marketplace. The most important thing to remember is you are in business for the long haul, so think about a name that is adaptable to expansion and will stand the test of time. Images& Details, Inc. allows for versatility and can be a company or an individual behind it. Eleish Van Breems utilizes the partners last names which gave them the ability to grow their business in many directions from antiques, a design studio and home store without needing to rebrand.

Then comes your logo, the first visual touch point others will receive and the first point of remembrance. This is your visual footprint that will be repeated on almost all creatives going forward from business cards, websites and social media to events and sponsorship materials. The best ones can be recognized  and last in people’s memories for years to come. Ford, for example, is over a hundred years strong. Our I&D logo is still pertinent 34 years later. Just a small tweak on font as needed because of technology.

A tag line is a phrase that catches attention, sticks in one’s mind, it can uniquely describe what your business does or or what you want people to take from your brand. DEANE, INC. – Rooms Everlasting  does that as they are more than a kitchen company, they sell cabinetry and a lifestyle.

Assets that tell your story. No matter if you’re a product driven company or a service business, you need to make these as relatable, usable, post-able and aesthetically beautiful as you can. They need to communicate your core values and business goals. Videos, photography, illustrations are multi-dimensional ways to get the word out. Today it is key to invest in professional photography, graphics and videography. It needs to peak curiosity and tell a story to convey your message, which allows media sources to utilize it and consumers to share it. Hire the best when you can.

Outlets to target for your messaging. Think of the best method to tell your story. Where will you have the most impact? Print, Digital, Podcast. Start with one then layer onto the approach if you are gaining traction. Look at what you are doing that is unique to your company and see if there is a good story. In the case of Eleish Van Breems and Avante Garden they collaborated on a lighting collection. Great photography and a good story angle are recipe for success and interest both internally and externally.

Get the word out about you. If you are the brand put a face to it and if you are a larger company make sure people can relate to it. Speaking opportunities both in person and now with webinars, Zoom, etc. all give you exposure, build credibility and position you as a thought leader. Your and/or teams headshots, and profiles convey a message about you and your brand.

Everything you say and do is part of your communication strategy.

If you are looking to craft your story and need help. Reach out.

To learn more, contact or (203) 966 8203

Creating Your Persona2020-10-07T10:14:19-04:00

Navigating The Media

Navigating The Media

Learn how to reach new target audiences by diversifying your exposure.

There are many and varied opportunities in today’s ever-changing world to build brand awareness. Today the landscape is everchanging and now dominantly a digital environment which for some can be a hurtle. How information is consumed is unique and layered to each individual as it depends on your interests, abilities, and industry focus. In the past, companies relied on traditional media like print publications, radio, and TV. Now there are more than just media outlets to garner exposure, from podcasts, Youtube, and blogs to influencers and self-published magazines or books. Even traditional media sources are shifting as consumers and companies are wanting to blend in with the new sources.

The key is first to familiarize yourself with the basic knowledge of the tools or platforms people are using then determine what is right for your company and target audience. Golden Rule:  Know your customer.  Know what they consume.  Is it Bloomberg News, Apple TV, the New York Times online or is it Instagram, YouTube, or an NPR podcast?

Here are a few examples of tools and outlets we’ve utilized for clients and for the agency.

Video: We created a series called ID Inspires which has enabled us to connect and celebrate a variety of different people who Inspire Us.  We allow them to tell their story via a 1-minute video which dominantly lives on our Instagram and Facebook page, but we also promote through Linkedin, Youtube, our blog, and twitter. But this has also turned into a tool for these brands that they might not have thought of, for instance, check out the one that Eric Gajou of La Tuile La Loup. After our post gained 375 views he reposted on his paged and received 15.2K views, cross-promoting is a great way to promote and build new audiences.

Instastories: As most retail locations found out, communicating services and products was difficult at the height of COVID when everyone was on lockdown; now it is still a struggle due to safety. Eleish Van Breems was able to overcome this with the help of a media source that was also shifting to utilize videos and social platforms more. In collaboration with Editor in Chief Steele Marcoux, Veranda used their Instagram audience and credibility to produce live Instastory retail shopping tours that support small businesses.

Podcast: Tish Mills Kirk wanted to communicate her strengths and specific areas of expertise as an Interior Designer.  The Chairish Podcast hosted by noted editor Michael Boodro and Ballard Designs How to Decorate Podcast to enable her a forum to share stories and illustrate how she solved problems for clients.  A great medium to be able to communicate your message as well as create content and a sense of community.

Zoom Webinars: Wakefield Design Center shifted its annual To The Trade Only Day with New England Home to a digital trade day on Zoom. With the help of the NEHome team and the Zoom platform, Wakefield was able to communicate to over 100 people in less than an hour. The panel discussions were recorded and then promoted through social channels to a larger audience.

Brand Publications: Vendor your work with might have publications that you can get exposure for yourself. Schumacher’s Bulletin looks like a glossy design magazine and comes out twice a year. Cambria and Lee also publish projects and profiles as booklets and ezines.  Review who you do business with and see if there are ways to cross-promote and leverage your exposure.

Creating new communities is essential to attracting new clients.

If you are looking to grow your business and need help in creating a message or defining target markets, call us.

To learn more, contact or (203) 966 8203

Navigating The Media2020-08-20T11:14:00-04:00

Creating the Customer Experience

Creating the Customer Experience…

Customer experience and brand reputation are more important than ever before.

Customer experience and brand reputation are more important than ever before. The present environment creates more available options for consumers, so what you as a business offer needs to be valuable and relatable. In industries like retail, restaurants, and real estate you need to be present both in person as well as online when it comes to experiences. Each has its own set of standards on what consumers want and now expect.

These are a few things to consider, especially in today’s pandemic market. Think like a consumer, how does this establishment or brand make you “feel”? Do you trust the business? Does it have your safety and well-being in mind? It starts at the core of your business beliefs; you need to build a human aspect to your brand that is both internal for employees and external for consumers. For example, Danny Meyer the restauranteur and founder of Shake Shack is not just ‘selling food’, he is selling comradery, community and creating a memory that is supported by the best quality food and service. When you think of your travel’s what typically comes to mind is a fond “memory”, like the little Café in Paris or the Lobster Roll on a picnic table in Maine.  A positive experience of a brand, in a place or space, tends to stay in one’s memory more.

In retail, typically the brands that focus on creating excellent customer experiences tend to be more successful and build a loyal following. In the past, Tiffany’s, Neiman Marcus, Mitchell’s of Westport achieved this as they were nimble, flexible, and listened to what customers wanted and expected. This helped the companies adapt to the consistently changing market. At this moment, health and safety are top priorities. If you have recently been to a Trader Joe’s, from the start they took their employees well-being as a first priority along with that of their consumers. Those who opened with curbside pick-up or expanded their e-commerce, both thought of the health first then access second. Zappos is known for its service and that’s because they trust and value their employees and empower them to handle customer service situations.

Building an emotional connection with clients is key to gaining loyalty. Whether that is having a background story people can relate to, supporting local communities and social changes, or in-person connections through employees. Online shopping and food services are more popular, but it is harder to make a personal connection, so you need to make the digital experience easy, aesthetically pleasing, and worth it. Use digital social tools such as Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook in a positive way, so you can build a following. Show you are available and accessible

Know your customer.  Listen to them.  Proceed with a purpose.

Limited brainstorming and creative strategy sessions available.

To learn more, contact or (203) 966 8203

Creating the Customer Experience2020-07-09T15:38:42-04:00

I&D Inspires

I&D Inspires…

Sometimes it takes exploring to find inspiration and motivation. We asked a few of our friends around the world and across the interior design and communications industries to share what inspires them.

Follow along on our youtube channel…

To learn more, contact or (203) 966 8203

I&D Inspires2020-07-07T14:53:02-04:00

Be Inspired…

Be Inspired…

Crafting new products, ideas, strategies, and businesses are positive outcomes of the pandemic.

Personally, I am lucky that ideas come naturally. In our office, it’s an idea a day…

If producing ideas is not a strength, then figure out how you can start to think more creatively. It is 50% intuition and the rest training. Right now, most of us will be looking at our businesses through a new lens. It is time to reprogram your mind to see new ways to operate and communicate.

I try to use all of my senses to clear the clutter. Here are a few ways that I try to stay inspired:

  • Now more than ever I do walk talks (safety in mind) with industry colleagues or other professionals. Not only do new ideas get generated, but you get a new point of view and a fresh perspective
  • Create flow by viewing new things, for example, take a virtual museum tour, watch a movie, or check out new travel destinations (this one also brings hope). Then see how it makes you feel. Take the positive and think about why it makes you feel that way.
  • Open your ears and listen. Whether it is music, books, or podcasts, the sense of listening helps provide an escape from visual stimulation that can be too distracting for some. Podcasts are a great source of learning from others’ experiences.
    • I was recently listening to the Jo Malone NPR podcast segment How I Built This by Guy Raz. She and her husband had no budget for PR before they opened in Bergdorf Goodman, so to make their brand known they walked around NY city for a month with empty shopping bags to build buzz. Free association, got me thinking…
  • Try boosting morale and positive thinking by doing something that excites you, something you really like.

Through channeling and creating new ideas, we found one we thought was the right fit for us. We’re starting a video series ID Inspires. Check it out and make sure to comment on our Instagram.

Limited brainstorming and creative strategy sessions available.

To learn more, contact or (203) 966 8203

Be Inspired…2020-06-02T14:28:56-04:00
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