Friday, November 30, 2007

27. Brand Your Self

Branding is one of the most important aspects of becoming a famous architect. A good branding strategy gives you a leg up on the Hobsian Battlefield.

What exactly is branding you ask?

It is your promise to your potential clients and others what to expect from you. It is based on how you perceive your self, really who you are, and want to be.

The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a "name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.

The objectives that a good brand will achieve include:

* Delivers your design philosophy clearly
* Confirms your credibility
* Connects your target prospects emotionally
* Motivates potential clients & the public
* Creates a loyal following

The foundation of your brand is your mystique: Your architectural style or philosophy, the types of projects that you go after or attract, your persona, your presentation & publicity style, your clothes, signature, your glasses, your personal idiosyncrasies, everything. It extends to every aspect of you.

Defining your brand is like a journey of self-discovery. It can be difficult, time-consuming and uncomfortable. It requires, at the very least, that you answer the questions below:

Are you the innovative maverick in your industry? Or the experienced, reliable one?Are you the high-cost, high-quality option, or the low-cost, high-value option? You can't be both, and you can't be all things to all people. Some will call you a genius others will hate you. Get used to it! Who you are should be based to some extent on who your target clients want and need you to be.

Your brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages.

Star Architects are every bit as much a brand as Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop. Lets take a look at the grand daddy of them all: Le Corbusier. Here are some of the things that were consistent about him that created the Corbu Brand.

Clothing: The glasses, & the bow tie

Persona: intellectual, artistic, scientific

Logo Identity: signature, modular

Graphic Identity: cubist vocabulary

Philosophy & Architectural identity: machines, concrete, radical

Publicity Style: writing manifestos & books, lectures, power networking

To be a celebrity architect you must be a brand.

Start by identifying the qualities or characteristics that make you distinctive from your competitors -- or your colleagues. What would your colleagues or your clients say is your greatest and clearest strength? Your most noteworthy (as in, worthy of note) personal trait? NOT LE CORBUSIER'S

Ask yourself: What do I do that adds remarkable, measurable, distinguished, distinctive value?. Ask yourself: What do I do that I am most proud of? What have I accomplished that I can unabashedly brag about? If you're going to be a brand, you've got to become relentlessly focused on what you do that adds value, that you're proud of, and most important, that you can shamelessly take credit for.

8. Develop a Mystique
9. Fight! Its a Hobbesian war
10. Pay attention to your glasses


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