As architects and designers, we often find ourselves occupied with work, 24×7 throughout the year. If someone asks when we can take a holiday, most of the time we laugh it off saying “there’s nothing such as a holiday in an architect’s life”. Especially, when we are just starting our design firm, there’s much more work to do than just working on the project. It’s no new that some of the first projects we may or may not get commissioned for are going to be for people we know, friends or relatives, and so on. But while it may seem wise to take it up for commercial purposes it would be wiser to use such projects strategically to gain more clients and establish the firm’s presence.
Here are some key points to keep in mind while marketing your design firm:
1. Sell your Idea- Tell your Story
One of the most important things we learn in design schools is to conceptualize the idea and find ways to make our imagination a reality. While we learn to come up with new ideas and possibilities, we also learn to express them in a way that we can engage our audience in the process and make them understand our design or the story behind the design with clarity.
Learn to sell your ideas to the clients in a manner that it resonates with them, or inspires them and lets your work appeal to them.
2. Be Bold and Innovative
Being creative and innovative go hand in hand and if you are confident enough to defend your design and ideas, then you are sure to gain your client’s trust. One of the best things about being in a design school is that you aren’t afraid of rejection or reworking on the ideas. Don’t be scared to innovate or experiment.
Take the risk to create something that appeals to the users or even the visitors and leaves an imprint on their minds long after they leave.
3. Communicate and Pitch your Project well
Be as clear as you can while communicating your ideas. Right before presenting to your client, make sure you have everything you need to discuss. Don’t make it a long boring presentation with facts or information that isn’t necessary for them, rather try to present it as though you are narrating a story.
Architects are called storytellers for a reason- use that as an advantage. Stories are a great way to make your audience remember you.
4. Be Approachable yet Firm with your Decisions
Be a good listener and make your client’s needs the topmost priority. At the end of the day, our duty as architects and designers is to provide a service and give back to the community at large. Try to balance between your decisions about the design and the interests of your clients. Most of all, be approachable so that it is easy for your clients to tell you if something is bothering them or suggest something else. Remember, we as designers have the power to create various possibilities and find different solutions for the same problem, but what is important is what suits our clients the most.
5. Take advantage of Digital Mediums
Social media marketing is a quick way to develop an online presence for your firm. Especially platforms like Instagram and Pinterest help to give a quick overview of the essence of your firm and your profile. But make sure the content you share through posts and stories is interesting enough to make your audience interact with them and leave them waiting for more of your work. Be consistent in posting but don’t overdo it to an extent that your posts begin to get ignored.
6. Focus on the Visual Appeal
One of the key factors in marketing for your firm is to create a brand image that appeals to the clients. Having a certain sense of uniformity in the color palette, content and your work gives an authentic touch to your brand image and increases the brand value. Make sure you choose a color palette that resonates with the kind of work you do.
If you are struggling with the color of your photos, consider taking a tutorial on photo background color alterations. This can help you achieve consistency and a cohesive look across all your marketing materials. Remember that visual appeal plays a significant role in attracting and retaining clients, so don’t underestimate the power of a well-crafted brand image.
7. Keep up with Technology
There has been a constant change in the kind of tools used for the creation of architectural works, right from the times when drawings were drafted on paper to digitizing them on CAD and now as we step into the future, the advancements in science and technology with inventions like Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality have even made it possible for us to actually walk through the design before it is constructed.
These new technologies are developed to make the process of construction and designing more efficient and give previously unimaginable results. These effectively help in reducing the time and cost of construction, something that is a significant part of the project. This helps to gain the trust of one’s clients as they can understand the design much better. Architectural drawings can surely be used to explain the overall design but the introduction of VR and AR to present the designs will prove to be worthwhile in the long run.
8. Be a little Mysterious- make them Come to you
While it is easy to assume that to get more projects, you need to put all the work out there to show to the public and community at large, it could be a good idea to give your audience just a glimpse of your overall design principles or the process you follow, intrigue them with your ideas and leave a little to their imagination. It could be a good exercise to see who aligns with your ideologies and carve out your niche. It can help to establish trust and strengthen your relationship with your clients.
9. Interaction is Key
Be it visiting a college for a jury, giving a guest lecture or a talk show, attending events related to architecture and design, wherever you go, make your mark and introduce yourself and your work to everyone you meet. Interact and strike up conversations, not just about your work, but more about the ideas that you find interesting. Also, keep in mind that architecture is a collaborative practice, so don’t limit yourself to just other architects or designers, speak to people outside the fraternity like traders, suppliers, or other experts and consultants as well.
10. The Basics
It is no surprise that most of the well-established architectural firms have a strong profile and a great website where most of their works have been displayed. Just the way a portfolio is essential while applying for your job, a website is a great way to showcase your work and let people know about your design firm. Also, adding information related to case studies or research work for your project gives the viewers a deeper understanding of your project. Moreover, if the website has a blog or a newsletter subscription, it can help to make sure that you have a regular reader base who is attuned to your style of thinking and receive updates about your work.
These are some of the methods that can be used to market your design firm. While you may opt for some of these, do understand that it may not yield great results right away. The key is to be consistent and sincere. Remember, creating your presence in the market is as important as coming up with an idea for the project.
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