I recently asked our three partners to answer three questions I had been thinking about lately with respect to clients in our industry. Here is what they had to say:
Q1. What are the biggest changes you have seen in how our AEC clients have marketed themselves from ten years ago until now?
MARK: That’s just the thing: they haven’t changed much at all. I think there is certainly a more prevalent use of storytelling and strategic branding as the baby boomers retire and more firms are faced with how to transition to the next generation of partners. The list of last names on the door isn’t working to attract the best applicants from a diminishing talent pool either. This is motivating, otherwise conservative and marketing-averse, AEC leadership to experiment in online marketing and even social media.
BEN: The obvious one is the use of online marketing and social media—correctly or otherwise—is now possible. It provides huge potential to expand brand identity and business beyond local, geographic boundaries and is complex and daunting for many.
Q2. What do our clients say is the biggest benefit from something like Creative Mornings (a popular event we support at Industrial Brand)?
MARK: I have spoken to Darryl Condon and Michael Green about this very subject and they both say it is the dire need for the role and value of design in modern society that makes events like these crucial. They are so concerned that architecture is becoming misunderstood, democratized, devalued, and increasingly commoditized that they are both serving as executives on the AIBC to help the situation. I’ve heard Condon say repeatedly that it is events like CMVan that bring creative and design professionals out from their silos and into the same room with movers and shakers (as much as the public at large) for the very important conversation about what design can do to improve the human environment.
MATT: It offers a mixed crowd and fresh perspective, in a casual environment. Sometimes that is all anyone is looking for.
BEN: I don’t care what industry you are in, it’s good to step outside of your usual networking haunts.
Q 3. What marketing expertise do our clients seem to need the most of (from us) in the next 6-12 months?
BEN: Online marketing strategy and help with content. It’s almost always an issue as everyone is so busy and yet they know they have to carve out the time for it.
MATT: Guidance with regards to the transition from traditional branding and marketing that relied heavily on notoriety and referrals. Combine that with the vastly inefficient RFP competitions.
MARK: Compelling storytelling that reveals the inner values and brand positioning of a firm, combined with innovative sales tactics and backed by gorgeous marketing. Especially online, mobile and video. We can help architects not only position themselves as experts, but create a compelling reason for the best, young talent in the industry to want to work for them. That’s money.