Founder of Archiboo, Amanda Baillieu, adds commentary on the video of the recent Archiboo talk by James Scroggs on “What Does Your Brand Say About You.”
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James Scroggs – What Does Your Brand Say About You?
Your practice has taken off. Three years ago there was just two of you working at the kitchen table. Now, you’re almost up to fifteen people with a list of completed projects and satisfied clients. The problem is, no one knows who you are. So far, you’ve not had the money to invest in PR or marketing and while your web site is just about up to date, neither your or your partner can define what sets you apart from the competition. In a panic, you commission a branding consultant who immediately advises a new logo, a new web site and a name change.
“But this is exactly what you shouldn’t do,” says James Scroggs, former head of marketing at MTV who now advises a range of companies from start-ups to blue chips. “Truly amazing brands start with a process of really clear soul searching and understanding the DNA at the heart of their business,” he says.
If you can get this right all the rest, like the web site and the logo, should follow.
Traditionally architects shy away from marketing, relying instead on reputation or coverage in magazines. This is nice to have, but it’s not marketing anymore than a practice Twitter account that’s used to push out an endless stream of good news. Brands shouldn’t shout about how good they are. It needs to be a two-way conversation.
James set out a number of principles for any organisation thinking about their brand as part of a wider marketing strategy. First, think about where your product or business sits in terms of the wider culture. Where do you add value and where do you exceed expectations?
As an architect you may be a brilliant designer, but if you’re unable to retain clients due to an inability to bring projects in on time, to stay within the budget, or to get along with clients, marketing efforts will be in vain. If, on the other hand, your strength is one or of these or something else that has a tangible value, you need to be able articulate it and use it to create a distinctive point of view that sets you apart.
Second, think about your behaviour. Everything you do — from the email messages you send to the way you conduct client meetings — communicates the value and character of your brand and fundamentally changes how customers perceive the value of what you do.
Finally don’t become fixated on legacy: where the business is going is as important as what’s gone before. And remember in an increasingly complex market place only brands with a strong message and strategy will find success.
James Scroggs gave an Archiboo talk at the Sir John Soane’s Museum. Details here.