Whether you realize it or not, architecture and branding are a perfect match. Like architecture, branding relies on visuals to tell stories. It requires originality, innovation, and differentiation. And design - the process of planning for the construction of a certain something - is at the heart of both.
That said, you already have what it takes to brand your architecture firm successfully.
The only help you need is to get started. You can use the following tips and tricks as guidelines for your thoughts and ideas. They can also serve you as a to-do list if you thrive on preparation. In one way or another, these industry staples should help you give structure to your brand.
Here’s how to develop a brand as an architect, in no definitive order:
Like always in life, you must ask yourself - who am I?
In terms of branding, this question has a particular goal. The answer should help you determine the type of architecture you excel at and whether you can sell that to a broader audience. In other words, your brand must be a lucky marriage between your offer and current demand.
There’s one more requirement, though - your answer must be original.
But let’s focus on your brand identity for a second.
What is your core focus? Are you in residential or commercial architecture? What is your style? Do you practice at a particular architecture school, or are you a freestyler? Consider your specialty, but also think about your personal taste and that special something that is only yours.
While thinking about who you are, do some market research. Spend a few weeks on Instagram, following the architecture firms you admire and architecture brands with large followings. See what they are doing and try to establish what they are missing. This market gap is entirely yours to fill in.
You’ve hopefully arrived at some promising answers, so now you have to find out how viable they are as practical solutions. For instance, your soul-searching and Instagram analysis might have led you to start thinking in maximalist terms, but is maximalism a good idea from the business perspective?
Defining your goals will tell you if your branding ideas are possible or not.
Goals must always be practical. There’s nothing wrong with pipe dreams, but you have to make them achievable. Otherwise, they are only a waste of your time and money. So, when you think of goals, you must consider the material aspect and ask yourself - is this profitable in the long term?
In relation to that, answer the following questions:
Remember, good goals are S.M.A.R.T. goals - specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.
You’ll be developing your brand online, as all modern-day companies do. An online branding strategy includes websites, social media, content, imagery, and captions. These elements must feel engaging to your audience, which means that they have to provoke some sort of interaction.
But to elicit a response, you must send out a message first.
So, what is your brand message?
Let’s answer this with another question - what is your proposition? What are you trying to sell? How is this different from what your competitors are doing? All these questions should help you develop a unique value proposition, which will be your brand’s central differentiator and selling point.
Brand messaging is the way your brand communicates this value to the audience.
Sending the right message also means finding your voice.
Since that is something we all do daily, it might be helpful to think about how you write captions for your Instagram posts. Is your voice formal or informal? Are you poetic or factual? Just don’t forget that your brand voice must express your personality and speak to your audience.
As an architect, you’ll probably find it less challenging to express yourself visually. Use this skill to your advantage and develop a visual language that will become your brand identity. For architecture firms, the brand image is much more than a logo and a color palette. It’s an extension of who you are.
We bet you already have a logo in mind, or maybe it’s already on paper.
There’s nothing we can teach you about the power of shapes and colors, so we’ll focus on something else - 3D renders. Whether or not you know how to render your models on your own, this can set you apart from the competition. Powerful renders are a fantastic competitor's edge.
If you’re developing a brand on a limited budget, we suggest you invest the biggest chunk in this. There’s nothing a great render can’t do. It’s a versatile visualization tool that’s both a branding device you can post on your website and social media and a way to attract followers and clients.
Let this lead your branding strategy, and you won’t make a mistake.
When we talk about consistency in branding, we emphasize the importance of two things - the first is leaving a consistent impression, and the second is making a consistent development. Both are needed for achieving your strategic goals. However, they both require time and commitment.
The impression you leave on potential followers and clients must be consistent because you want them to associate a certain type of imagery and architecture with your brand. Let’s put it in these terms - when you think of fast food, the first thing that pops in your mind is McDonald’s.
You can achieve this with carefully crafted and consistent visuals and messaging.
Finally, consistent development means perfecting your brand all the time.
In order to brand and market your architecture firm, you must establish an online presence. In this context, consistency means that you need to be always present and responsive to your audience. Create a posting schedule for your content and share new projects at least once a month.
So that’s about it. Branding in architecture follows more or less the same creative process that you are already familiar with. It might be challenging at first, but we convince you that nobody can develop your brand better than you. After all, you are the soul and identity of your architecture firm.
Now you only have to translate that to your brand image and give it a voice.