Four Ways to Transform your Architecture Brand
Brand Boost for Architects
Four Steps to Refresh Your Brand
How to Transform Your Architectural Firm’s Brand
Branding for architects represents some of the biggest challenges in marketing. But when you get the branding right for your architecture firm, you can drive lasting success and engage more of your ideal clients and team members.
While reviewing the branding and websites of more than 400 Florida AIA-member firms over the last few years, we have noticed that they quickly blur together. From our perspective, it’s painful to see that so many of them look the same.
It makes us wonder why architects are afraid of standing out. Certainly, they are designing buildings and spaces that make a difference and stand out. So, why is it that architects seem so inclined to be ordinary when it comes to their own branding?
Developing Your Architectural Brand
Branding for architects is much more than a logo and color palette.
It begins with a brand strategy. This stems from your core values (who you are and what you stand for) and a clear marketing plan that helps you focus on a specific type of clients (who you love to work with). When you identify their needs and qualities, you begin to understand how to position your brand to create the right perception of your architecture firm.
Four Ways You Can Transform Your Architectural Brand Right Now
Branding for architects doesn’t always require a complete marketing overhaul. The following are four easy ways you can transform your branding by improving your digital strategy. Put these ideas into your marketing plan to help attract more of the clients and projects that truly fit your brand.
1. Stick to a Distinct Visual Identity
You know the value and appeal of your work. How will you translate that into a winning branding strategy?
Your goal is to establish your visual identity. This comprises all graphical representations of your value proposition and your promise to your clients.
Your logo, typefaces, and signature style will contribute to your visual identity. Any especially appealing aspects of your work should contribute as well. You must establish a consistent, emotional connection with your target audience.
Your visual identity should align with the ideal customers in your marketing plan. From here you will develop all content for your branding initiative.
ACTION PLAN: Create brand guidelines and use them!
2. Design a Website Exclusively for Your Brand
Your prospects' first impression will come from your website, and that should be as elegant as your work itself. You can't afford to settle for anything less than professional.
Every action and every piece of content should reflect your brand and drive business value. That includes aesthetic appeal specific to your style and sensibility.
They must be able to easily browse your work as well. Make it easy and intuitive for them to find what they want to see. You can even include specialized features and functions that engage and delight your website visitors.
Keep in mind the ultimate purpose of your website: Attracting new business! Once you've captured their attention, you want to make it inviting for a site visitor to take one step closer to conversion. This can be done by offering a free consultation call or calendar invite to meet.
Really and truly, MAKE YOUR WEBSITE YOUR OWN! Go ahead and be inspired, but don't copy. Your prospects should be able to distinguish your site from all the others. What are your competitors doing on their sites? While it's OK to take inspiration from others, you want your website to have the unique look and sensibility of your architecture firm.
We've had clients say they like this architect's or that designer's site and want to do the same thing with their own site. You wouldn't design an office, home, hotel, hospital, school, etc. that looks like the work of another architect. Don't do it with your website.
And, just like a great building, it can’t just look good, it has to function well for the people who use it. Your site can be filled with beautiful project images and not provide the visitor what they want, or even be built to be found when someone searches Google for “architects in (your city).”
Avoid the trap of getting so caught up in how it looks that you miss the essentials of a high-performing website that can help you attract and convert more of the right leads.
ACTION PLAN: Take a critical look at your website and if you still have the site you had three years ago, it’s time to make some changes.
Download our free PDF guide: How to make Architect Websites that Don't Suck.
3. Focus on The Right Digital Channels
There are countless ways to engage potential customers online. You must determine which channels are the best fit for you.
Start by adopting SEO best practices for your website. Use aspects your ideal customers are most likely to search. This will increase exposure to the right types of audiences.
It's likely prospects will take a more refined approach. You can leverage social channels to begin direct communications with prospects. You can leverage existing connections for this purpose as well.
Encourage existing and former customers to share your posts. Loyalty and advocacy are the best marketing tools for small architecture firms. They can do this on social media and direct prospects to communication channels easily.
You may want to leverage social media for customer service and engagement, while using blog content and social media posts to share value-added information.
ACTION PLAN: Review each of your social media accounts. Does each one serve a clear purpose? Are you able to keep up with it? Most importantly, is it helping you engage and spark conversations with the right audience? Less is more when it comes to getting social. Focus on those platforms that your prospects are most likely to use.
4. Increase Engagement
You've already established a unique visual brand identity for your architecture firm. Now make sure you have a way to engage and inspire your best prospects.
Start with the added value approach. Show your prospects you want to help them and connect with them by providing valuable content and a brand experience when they land on your website.
Make it easy for people to get a sense of how you work and think. Share your insights and advice, give them a peek at what goes on in your firm, show them how things work.
Your brand is just as much about how your architecture firm works as it is about what you do for your clients.
ACTION PLAN: Consider how clients experience your brand and how you can make that experience more valuable from the start. Consider providing a checklist or guide to help them understand your process. Or start a monthly Q&A style blog where you answer the most common questions (and then share the links on your social media accounts).
Branding to Make Your Mark and Get Results for Your Firm
Getting your brand, target audience, marketing platforms, and content strategy figured out will help you avoid the mistakes many architects make, and will put you on track to acquiring more of the projects and clients you want and need for success.
If you're not ready to tackle brand strategy on your own, that's what our Archmark Business Blueprint is all about.
We start with a free 30-minute architecture marketing strategy call to help you:
Get clarity on why your current digital marketing efforts aren't working
(re)Define your competitive advantage
Discover insights into your ideal clients that you never would have thought of on your own
Cover photo credit: Samuel Zeller