Establishing, conveying, and maintaining a powerful brand is a critical component of an AEC firm’s marketing strategy.
“One of the top goals of branding has always been to distinguish a firm from the crowded sea of similar, qualified competitors,” writes Tim Asimos, VP and director of digital innovation at circle S studio, in a LinkedIn Influencer post.
He suggests five strategies to make a greater impact with your firm’s branding efforts.
1. Focus on the why, not the what.
“In their branding and marketing, many A/E/C firms focus their attention on the tangible attributes of their firms – the who, what, when, where and how,” Asimos writes. “But when everyone can boast the same service offerings, markets and accolades, you’re left with a crowded sea of ‘me toos.’”
The goal, he says, should be to move past the tangible attributes of your firm and tap into the emotional triggers of your target customers by conveying intangible attributes that can’t be easily imitated by competitors.
2. Discover your differentiators.
Asimov argues that every strong brand stands for at least one differentiating attribute in the marketplace.
“Your firm already has a position in the minds of your clients and prospects based on thoughts and feelings derived from their knowledge of and experiences with your firm,” he writes. “So it’s essential to understand how the market already views your firm and uncover what actual differentiators you possess.”
He advocates conducting interviews with key members of your management team, employees, partners, clients and prospects to start to answer the “Why our firm?” question.
3. Craft compelling key messages.
The next step is to craft compelling key messages that pinpoint your unique position in the marketplace, reaching your target audience at both a rational and emotional level.
“If you have identified unique differentiators, it’s important to communicate these throughout your proposals, website and all other marketing materials,” Asimos writes. “And if you want to stand out, take a different approach, tell a different story and find distinctive ways to get your message across.”
4. Establish a distinctive visual identity.
Your visual identity – logo, color palette, styles, photography, fonts, textures and other brand elements – should work in unison to support your messaging and help you to stand out from your competition.
5. Be consistent.
Strive to provide a consistent user experience with your firm, whether someone is visiting your office, exploring your website, reading your email or scanning your LinkedIn page.
Asimov suggests performing a communications audit at least once a year to take an inventory of your current marketing and communications efforts and identify inconsistencies and areas that need improvement.
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