27.1 PHOTOGRAPHY: driving the marketing strategy
The business of architecture has become more competitive today than ever. Gone are the days when a simple brochure and weekly golf game would be sufficient to obtain a sustainable flow of work. Today an architectural practice needs to be more sophisticated in creating a branding strategy that will form the basis for its marketing plan. A marketing plan can include the more traditional initiatives such as networking, being seen at events or being involved in community activities to interface with prospective business leaders. The website has become a basic tool that allows anyone to view the firm’s work and learn about its philosophy and services being offered. A blog and/ or newsletter are offshoots from a website that reach out to interact with and engage the community. To establish your firm as an expert and set it apart from the competition it is necessary to work at getting your message into the public domain in the form of public lectures, newspaper articles, media interviews and by having one’s work or op-eds published in newspapers, magazines or books. A marketing plan will include ‘spear-fishing’ and ‘net-fishing’ approaches comprising all these initiatives acting together to create a top of mind presence for your firm.
The hub of your marketing thrust will be the quality of the images you will be using to showcase your architecture and to differentiate your firm from your competition. Make no mistake a well-designed building that is poorly photographed will fall short of expectations and may be better not shown at all. A project normally requires a substantial investment of money and time and provides a significant earning of professional fees for an architectural firm. It therefore follows that architectural firms need to present their work as best as possible. This requires high quality architectural photography not mere snapshots of the building. Architectural photography can work for or against you – the “medium is the message” and “a picture is a thousand words”. A firm that is not willing to promote their work properly is better off relying on their networking rather than showing off a lackluster presentation of their work. Architectural photography can be used on your website, blog, newsletter, brochures, proposals, articles, lectures, publications with a promise of returns well worth the investment in the form of new commission. In the end it is a record of your legacy and your work.