7 steps to a stronger brand
There’s nothing worse than investing large amounts of time, money and energy into marketing your business only to attract the wrong kinds of clients, all because of ill-considered branding.
It doesn't matter how you look at it the quality of your brand will always determine the quality of your clients. When your brand is focused and clear your marketing initiatives will be too.
Here are 7 steps to creating a more cohesive and well-articulated brand that attracts high paying, high value clients for less cost.
Step 1. Research the competition
The best place to start is finding out who your ideal clients are already hiring, this is your competition. When you know who they are half the battle is won because all you need to do is closely study everything they do and say.
The first step is to carry out a detailed review of who your competitors are by answering these questions:
How do they present themselves both in how they look and how they speak?
Where do they market themselves both online and offline?
Who are their clients?
What services do they offer and what fees do they charge?
All of this comes with a word of warning, back engineering your competitors strategies without truly understanding them can stop you in your tracks, so it’s important to only replicate what you completely understand.
Step 2. Render competition irrelevant
Being seen as the preeminent architect is done by radically differentiating your firm from your competition by having a unique value proposition.
The key to breaking through the noise is to use the results gained from researching the competition to find opportunities to stand out in the minds of high quality clients.
Fine tuning your branding for greater differentiation is not just about carefully crafting what you say and how you say in your value proposition. It's also about combining this with how you present your firm visually, allowing you to reposition your firm and command the prices you deserve.
Step 3. Define your brand strategy
Your brand strategy is a long-term plan to achieve specific goals, this plan effects all aspects of your business and connects directly to your clients needs and emotions as well as the competitive environment.
It should be described just like a story with a beginning, middle and an end following a hero's journey with your client taking centre stage. Ultimately it's your vision, your heart and your soul, one amazing story told over time over multiple touch points and pain points.
Answering these questions in as much detail as possible will give you a framework for that story:
What does your brand stand for?
What is your brands personality if it was a person?
What is the story behind why your firm was created?
Who are your ideal clients and why should they trust you?
Who is your competition?
What is your brands objective?
What does long-term success look like?
A lot of this will rely on your intuition and the insights gained from steps 1 and 2 will guide your direction.
When you fully understand your brand strategy your marketing ROI will not only increase, but you'll also be able to attract high paying clients with a lot more certainty.
Step 4. Create a clear brand positioning statement
It's easy to confuse this with a company slogan which is something very different. A brand positioning statement is used within your firm as a guide for all marketing and business decisions that effect how your clients see your brand. They're one or two sentences that communicate your brand's definition, promise and belief. Simply put it's a distillation of your brand strategy.
Every great brand positioning statement answers these 3 questions:
Who is your high paying target client?
What category are you competing within?
What is your single most compelling benefit to your clients?
Once you've written and refined this statement it will be much easier to define your brands unique value to your clients.
5. Develop your brand authenticity
We all love a great story and stories are one of the best ways to gaining a clients trust, showing honest transparency and authenticity.
Your story makes stronger connections, breaks through the noise and creates differentiation that stands out in the mind of your clients. It becomes the vehicle to gaining trust when applied to all your marketing and flows directly from your brand strategy.
6. Live up to your brand promise
Your brand promise is the essence of your brand, it's the foundation of your reputation and the expectation that you live to every time someone experiences your brand.
When you consistently follow through on your promises you create a tribe of loyal and happy clients who become advocates for your business, helping it grow and thrive.
The best way of ensuring you live up to your brand promise is to always be referring to your positioning statement, reminding yourself of what you stand for and why.
7. Be consistent
Being consistent in your communication is critical, most especially in how you apply your visual identity. This includes how you use and apply your logo, your fonts, your photography and your colours.
The easiest way to ensure consistency is to create a brand book. This documents everything about your firms brand including your brand positioning statement, your brand story and how to apply your visual identity. This document guarantees everyone involved in your marketing is on the same page.
Consistently applying your brand promise and visual identity to every touch-point strengthens your brand, builds trust and adds to your authentic voice.
Only with strategic stand-out branding can you get the leverage needed to attract high paying clients.
Is it time for a rebrand?
The answer to this isn’t always obvious, so we’ve put together a list of symptoms that are common to architectural firms who need a rebrand. Go through this simple checklist now and check off all of those that apply, then on the next page discover the answer.