What real value do your clients actually see in you? Why do they select you? What draws them to you vs. another firm? Why do you stand out from the crowd?
One of the easiest, yet hardest, ways to win AEC work is to differentiate your firm. That's done through the value (both actual and perceived) that your firm delivers and it's wrapped in your firm's brand. When you have solid value differentiators in place and those are consistently communicated through your brand, it's much easier to win. The difficulty lies in accurately defining your firm's value differentiators.
The legendary comedian, Carl Reiner, said it best, recently, on a late night talk show, "What ground do I stand on that no one else stands on?" Reiner was trying to determine, as a young writer, what he should write about. The outcome of that question to himself – the iconic Dick Van Dyke Show. Can you ask your firm that same question and come up with a solid, value-differentiated answer?
Understand value and brand this way . . .
BIG NOTE HERE: Your brand doesn't lie in the hands of the marketing department. Your brand lies in the hands of your project delivery teams and management.
It has nothing to do with the logo. It has everything to do with the experience of driving their cars – the reliability, the comfort, the prestige.
It has nothing to do with the logo. It has everything to do with the experience of eating their burgers.
It has nothing to do with the logo. It has everything to do with the experience of staying at the hotel.
For these and all the other well-known brands, it's not about the logo you see; it's about the experience you have. That's your brand!
So, what real value / brand do your clients actually see?
Karen Kang, author of "Branding Pays" and personal branding expert, calls out four categories to consider in defining your brand - the value your clients, your network and the marketplace see.
How to Determine Your Firm's Value, Brand, and Differentiators
PS Your logo is not your brand. Your logo and graphic standards are a graphic representation of your firm's brand. Don't confuse the two!
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