Your company’s brand is an experience, not just a series of pretty sales pieces.
Many AEC firms still cling to the notion that their brand is simply a logo, website, the business cards and brochures. Coincidentally, these are also the majority of the firms that have an extremely short backlog and trouble establishing a presence in the marketplace. Some companies, however, realize that their brand is at work in every single point of contact the public has with their company. They realize that a brand is more like an ongoing opinion, held solely by the customer and only navigated by the company though touchpoints, strategy and the aforementioned marketing tools.
A well-executed brand will ensure a positive experience of these critical interactions:
- How do they find out about your firm?
- What are their first impressions when visiting your website?
- How do you plan to engage prospects at your website, trade show booth, etc. and convince them to get in touch with you?
- What will convince them that you are experts in your field?
- When they become customers, what type of experience will they have?
- What experience do you provide when they encounter problems with your product?
Paying attention to these moments in courting a new customer become even more critical when you only have a 5-6 month backlog. As competitors start lowering their prices, your once “valuable” service can quickly lose its perceived value. Even the strongest customer relationships can dissolve when budgets are tight. If your brand is overlooked, and the above interactions are not tended to, you are left to compete mainly on price. This causes even the largest and most established companies to focus on undercutting each other into bankruptcy.
Quality of work can become homogeneous to the typical customer, so your real leverage is through the experience, which does not have to cost an exorbitant amount of money. As technology makes your company more accessible through websites, third-party articles, blogs and reviews, the customer experience is increasingly being molded by social media. What fuels social media? Customer interactions. What fuels customer interactions? Your brand.
You see, it’s far more than a logo and some flashy business cards.