Your brand is more than just your logo. Your brand is your story in the minds of those interacting with your firm. It’s about emotions and feelings. It’s the way people see, feel, touch and experience our firms. This week at EntreArchitect podcast, Declan Keefe of Placetailor joins us once again to discuss How to Build a Brand that Resonates with Your Most Valuable Clients.
What is branding?
Branding is the story that the people who hear about your firm would tell somebody. Branding can be associated with the story that you tell as a firm, but you want it distill it down to what the client is left with. That’s the essence of what the brand really is. You know your brand, your company and what you want your organization to be, but good branding is a matter of what the client believes and what they’re left with.
Moving past the colors and fonts on your website, branding expands to how your client feels when they see one of your projects, when they finish having a meeting with you, when they get through looking at your website. That feeling is what they’re going to share with others around them. Our memory works best when we’re remembering how we felt about something.
How does your story evolve depending on your target market?
To your client, your story has to share that you’re not only competent and able to do the work, but also that you’d be great to work with for a multitude of reasons. You want to welcome people into a process that’s often scary to a homeowner.
Why isn’t there a finished portfolio on your home page?
People are coming to our website for a potential project, and while they may want to be inspired by our finished work, another project we’ve done was built specifically for that specific client. It may not necessarily be what the next client would want. What the client wants is a company that is going to work with them to create what they really want as the client. Placetailor chooses to create a unique, safe space to welcome people into. A place that is fun and friendly. You can be a company that has the goods and services, but isn’t enjoyable to work with.
How do people get in touch with you?
Placetailor has a short web form with name, email address and a few boxes to check regarding why they’re there. This way, Declan can have a one-on-one interaction with them based on their needs. To maximize time, he uses a general canned response and customizes it to the specific person. The goal is to humanize and create a very welcoming experience.
What’s the vision behind your “What We Do” page?
The idea was to separate architecture, construction and real estate development from each other as full services on their own as well as combined all together. They wanted to explain, in the most simple way, what they were offering and why.
What are you doing outside of your website to build the brand Placetailor?
The brand is about walking the walk. Living up to the claims you make is important to growing your brand. Placetailor is trying to get across that they’re open, honest and friendly people to work with, so it’s important to carry that over in every area. Placetailor connects to the community by hosting events where they invite people into half-finished projects with local artists or nonprofits to support the local community. When we get to overlap the things we care about as a company, we can concentrate our brand as an experience that someone will share when they get home.
What is the one thing that small firm architects can do today to build a better business tomorrow?
“Take a step back and think about where it is you want to be going and the journey you want to take to get there. If you’re here to pull in a paycheck, this isn’t the industry to be in. If you’re here to enjoy the process, then take time to plan the process. It’s not just about making beautiful buildings, because that’s not what makes a successful business model. It only works if we can step back, look at it, talk to your team and mentors, and then jump back in and tackle it when you know where you’re going and why. There’s so many things this world needs, and if you’re not operating in a ‘why’ then you’ve missed the boat. ” – Declan Keefe
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