It’s hard to believe the mistakes architects make promoting themselves! Our ideas of marketing are at least strange. However, our brains are programmed this way. They center the education we get in school on the approval of all other architects. Sadly, this profoundly impacts our marketing, the messages we send, and the results we get.
Let’s look at these mistakes one by one.
1. The Architects promote themselves to other architects
Yes, it is a little bit illogical, but we do this. All the time. One might assume that we get our gigs from our competitors. Sometimes this is true. But we might get new projects from other architects only if we are some sort of experts in a specific field.
Nevertheless, we are competing with each other. We are not a syndicate. We indeed crave our peers’ acceptance as we praise a more professional opinion than the public. True.
But we get our jobs from private persons, corporations, or public institutions. Common sense would tell us we had to promote ourselves to them, not to our colleagues.
2. The Architects Speak Architecturese
No one says they bought themselves a new single-family residential. No one retreats to her unit into a residential multi-family building. People buy and build homes and houses. They rent apartments.
The developers build flats. They might call them condominiums or suites. Buyers want exclusivity.
For us, the small house or the high-rise apartment buildings are all the same. Residential. Yes, people understand what we are saying, but they crave a comfortable home. Home sweet home. Nobody feels comfortable listening to us being technical about what feels warm to them.
Even commercial. An office building, a supermarket, or a mall are NOT the same. Not for the investor. This is a form of disrespect.
3. We Think Our Portfolios Speak For Ourselves
An image is worth 1000 words. No one counted the words. But this might be true.
When an architect looks at a picture representing some piece of architecture, the words he hears are from a graduate mind from an architectural school.
When we love a building for its amazing architecture, a prospective client might just see the lack of care for the budget.
The clients rarely want to be the guinea pig of the restless architects. The adventurous type can now invest in the space industry. It is riskier and more rewarding.
A safe approach should emphasize how the Avant-Garde architecture maximizes ROI. This is economics, the language that investors understand.
4. The Architects are not real people
Most architectural firms’ websites show nothing about architects. Not about the owners, not about the employees…
You are not supposed to post pictures with your kids and family. But a few shots on a construction site would help. People do business with other people.
Other firms exaggerate the opposite. They display office parties or too much of the owner’s public activity.
In either case, nobody cares about prospective clients. Architects are important as they can tell how they can solve problems.
5. The Architects Don’t Care
Oh! The architects might be annoyingly engaged in environmental care. They also build the future, shape the forms, and design communities.
The websites take pride in supporting causes. It seems like good advertising. Is it?
Where is the message that praises the feasibility of the projects? Where are the teachings that emphasize both the sustainability and economic efficiency of the buildings we design?
The architects don’t care about the economy. That is the drive that lets people build.
6. The Architects Defy The Investors
Project managers run more and more projects. They are the nasty guys that press everybody to keep them on time and budget.
I wonder what the names of the officials watching the architects who built the Greek temples, the Roman aqueducts, or the ancient theaters were.
They knew how to design, build, how to supervise the workers, and how to handle the money. They knew everything!
But just a few decades ago, somebody had the genius idea to hire an Excell master to lead the show.
While we have become just a commodity in the building industry, the Excell guy knows how to hire the right architect. The architects should be watched to keep it on the ground.
The architects don’t know economics and refuse to understand it. We don’t want to see the bigger picture, where the money builds up structures to make more money.
We laugh at speculative projects as they are ugly. But it’s us, the ones who let the Excell guys do our job. We are too proud to get dirty and properly handle the construction funds.
7. The Architects Solve No Problems
Well, I know that design solves problems. But who doesn’t? Nobody else.
Yes, most people think we just deal with aesthetics. We liked being assimilated with the artists for centuries. It might be obvious, but it isn’t.
Have you ever seen a case study showing how the architect solved the sunlight problems on a site? What about how he or she dealt with the problems of a narrow site?
The prospective clients might value the hard work we do to deal with apparently unsolvable situations.
We assume people know what we do. They don’t. It is our job to tell them.
Architects Do A Terrible Work Marketing Themselves
All products and all services just have to solve problems and needs that people have. But there is no business another way.
All salesmen are hard-trained to emphasize the benefits of buying whatever they have to sell. But we assume the consumers will see for themselves.
It is utterly important not only to supply the product or the service but also to place it on the market, price it, and promote it. Those are the 4 Ps of marketing.
The only effective strategy is to tell what are the benefits of using your services and the problems your service will solve for them.
But architects, despite doing a great job designing awesome buildings, fail to fairly promote themselves. That is why I created this website, to tell everyone that marketing works, even for architects and architecture firms.
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