Blogs and websites are changing the dynamics between designers and their clients, but how? On November 20, ASID EVP/CEO Randy Fiser hosted a panel discussion at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., to discuss how more informed consumers are shifting the dynamics and what new business models designers can implement to capitalize on this change.
Panelists Amanda Dameron, editor in chief at Dwell Media, and Kelly Porter, a designer and blogger addressed questions such as: What new business models are designers using to shift their design work online?
When asked how someone should approach blogging and transitioning into an online client service model, Dameron and Porter agreed that the essential first step is to find your voice and then put it to work positioning yourself as a thought leader in your niche. Second, be patient and cultivate your online persona just as you would any other brand. Both cautioned that just like any business, it could take months or even years to see a return on your initial investment: the payback is proportional to the care and attention invested throughout that time.
Fiser engaged Dameron and Porter in a thought-provoking discussion about the ways designers and consumers currently use the internet. “Many established designers use their blog to provide thought leadership, while others are taking it a step further and designing for clients via the internet,” explains Porter. “Several of my current clients came to me through my website; I’ve never met them in person.”
Using data from consumer research that Dwell conducts each year, Dameron painted a picture of a client who comes to a designer knowing exactly what they want in their space. “They even come with pictures of rooms and furnishings torn from shelter publications and printed from the web,” she explains. “The value of a designer today is that they create an aesthetic that matches each client but do it in a way that ensures the room functions to meet the occupant’s specific needs.”
Melinda Skea is ASID director of communications.