Winning the Architect Audience: 4 Ideas for Brand Building

  • Categories:

    Marketing Insights, Strategy

  • Date:

    June 8, 2021

Winning the Architect Audience: 4 Ideas for Brand Building

Marketing Insights

Recently, I had the honor of speaking alongside Wray Ward Vice President and Director of Insights Leslie Gillock at the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Smarter Together Series. AIA is the nation’s leading organization for architectural thought leadership, and its four-day Smarter Together webinar series brought key players in the construction industry together to share multidisciplinary expertise.

Leslie and I hosted a discussion on building and remodeling brand relationships with architects. During this session, we explored strategies for constructing effective brand platforms designed to engage and resonate with architects in today’s market.

In case you missed the event, here are some insights, takeaways and opportunities your brand should consider using to build invaluable relationships with architects.

1. Brands represent more than just a logo.

    No matter the industry, a company’s brand is more than the letter or mark that defines it on paper. A brand can be compared to a living organism that exists in the minds of an audience that perceives it. Like any living organism, it can change and evolve over time.

    “A brand is the intangible sum of a product’s attributes, its name, its price, its history, its reputation and the ways it’s advertised.”

    - David Ogilvy, Founder, Ogilvy

      People interact with brands on an emotional level, and that is why building your brand strategically is so important.

      2. Architects are not immune to brands.

        While it isn’t easy for brands to build a meaningful connection with architects, the profession is not invincible to the power of branding. In fact, architects lean on brands to assist in decision-making on the job. Because architects work in a high-risk industry and must possess broad foundational knowledge in different categories, brands serve as shortcuts to help ensure success. When architects are pressed for time (as they often are), and with their reputation on the line with every project, brands are familiar friends that reduce liability and provide comfort. On the other hand, unfamiliar products are strangers and more likely to come with risks and uncertainty.

        In our survey of 50 architects last month, 56% of architects agreed that brand is very important or extremely important when choosing a new product. In fact, no matter their response, we also asked them why they answered the way they did. Although a response was not required, 88% elaborated.

        “Typically I have some trust in an established brand, and I would be skeptical about a new brand.”

        - Survey Respondent

          Clearly, there are factors at play that can sway these pros’ perceptions of the products they consider reliable. How can you build a strong, respected and reliable brand that architects will want to choose?

          3. Successful brands begin with a strong foundation.

            Start by asking questions. Leslie suggests marketers immerse themselves in information to discover the insights that will inform their strategy. The most resilient brands are built on a strong foundation that aligns with what the brand’s target audiences are looking for. Investing in informational groundwork is vital for strategy construction and, ultimately, campaigns that not only stand out but also uniquely stand for the audience they serve.

            This kind of insight intake can take many forms. Research institutions and professional organizations such as AIA or Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies can be great sources of information, as can stakeholder interviews, internal audits, surveys and original research. When thinking of your brand’s place in the market, remember to consider the 5C’s:

            1. Climate

            2. Category

            3. Competition

            4. Company

            5. Customers/audiences

            The next foundational step includes mapping your target audiences’ path to purchase journey. At Wray Ward, when we define architect engagement throughout the purchase journey, we consider what an architect is doing, thinking and feeling during each stage of their decision-making process. This helps to identify any information and engagement needs as well as roadblocks along different stages of the journey.

            4. When insights and strategy come together, brand magic ensues.

              Once you have used relevant research to find your brand’s footing in the market and developed audience purchase journeys to understand how customers are interacting with your product, you can use this groundwork to guide communications planning and campaign development.

              At this point, step back and assess what you have learned: You should have the insights and strategy to move forward with developing your brand’s positioning, pillars and character. Armed with rich information and insights, you’ll be well on your way to developing creative assets, identifying priorities, developing creative assets and achieving prioritized objectives.

              Remember that architects are innately innovative people — they are project visionaries who are interested in finding products that will solve problems in new ways.

              Your brand can be that inspiration. All it takes is a little groundwork.

              Miss the live event? Want to learn more about how your brand can build a lasting relationship with architects? Email me.

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