Effective Online Branding - Photography, Storytelling, Reviews & Community

Consistency is key when it comes to building your brand on platforms like Houzz

When Josh Berghuis started his company, he had one mission: to be the go-to modern contemporary builder in his area. “There are a lot of great builders and a lot of competition where we are,” says Berghuis, owner of Berghuis Construction in Walker, Michigan. “We had to find a way to distinguish ourselves with our branding in order to show that we were unique and a little bit edgy.”

Berghuis has since built a name for himself and his company in his area as a custom home builder whose specialty is unique, modern projects. “When people see contemporary houses in our area, they ask if we’ve done them,” he says. “It starts with branding. We always go back to our goal of being the go-to modern contemporary builder for our area, and we make sure all of our branding represents that well. We always keep that mission in mind, and that makes our branding consistent.”

Here are four areas in which you should stay consistent in your branding.

1. Photography

The images you showcase in your projects are the best representation of the work you can do. Consistency in your photos can help homeowners associate certain styles or looks with your company.

“Photographs are the most important thing for our branding because that’s what people see first, even before they read any text,” says Cass McNinch of Aberdeen Building Group in Houston. “I have one photographer, and I use her every time so the images we get are consistent.”

Once you receive the images from the shoot, choose the ones that are the most representative of your brand.

“Once I get the photographs, I won’t put every one online, just the ones that I think showcase our work the best,” McNinch says. “It’s not necessarily always about having the same style of work, because the work we do for our clients is fairly broad, but I want all of the photographs we post to have a consistent style in terms of good composition and lighting.”

2. Storytelling

How you describe yourself and your company on your website and Houzz profile is a great opportunity to define your brand for potential clients. The words you use and the story you tell contribute to a homeowner’s overall perception of your business.

Berghuis’ mission to stand out as a unique, modern builder led him to create a website that deviated from the websites of other traditional builders. “We don’t have a typical website with the typical pages you might see,” says Berghuis, whose site has dynamic moving parts and a stark, modern feel to it. Their “Meet the Team” page includes images of one person in snow gear and another wearing a sombrero. “We love what we do, are passionate about our projects and have fun building these projects. The ‘Meet the Team’ page embodies this and how we enjoy life and have fun doing what we do. Everything is done with purpose. We want to think outside the box and do something different so people view us differently,” he says.

3. Reviews

Reviews are the No. 1 thing homeowners look at when deciding whether to hire a professional. The more reviews you have, the more potential customers can read and learn about the way you work with clients and complete projects. They’re an essential part of your brand.

“I always mention reviews to my clients when I’m wrapping up a project, and then I will send a personalized follow-up note through Houzz explaining to them how important reviews are and that they really help my business,” says Tamara Akers of LTB Designs in Crofton, Maryland. “When I get a review, I always acknowledge them for taking the time to write a review. That’s just part of me being courteous.”

Houzz allows you to respond to your reviews by adding a short thank-you message and clicking “Like.”

4. Community

The way you work with homeowners online is indicative of the way you interact with potential clients offline. Spending time answering questions and sharing your expertise in online forums and discussions shows homeowners you’re a business that likes to help, both online and in person.

“We’ve found that answering a few quick questions shows that we’re generous with our knowledge and willing to help people in general,” says Jenny Sneller of Sneller Custom Homes in Spring, Texas. “It’s not always easy to see the immediate business benefit when we’re helping people out of our area, but we really are just in it to help people. That’s part of our brand, and now people know us as a business that genuinely wants to help.”

In addition, any comments you leave on online discussions or photos on Houzz appear on your Houzz profile, so prospective clients visiting your profile get a sense of what it’s like to work with you.

Tell us: Do you have any other tips you use for consistent branding? Share them with us in the Comments.

This story was written by the Houzz Industry Marketing team.