Why Do We Really Need A Strategy?

If you’re like many other firms, you’ve had one of the following things happen:
  • A website redesign with several false starts (or maybe even never gotten off the ground)
  • A brochure or mailing campaign that everybody grumbled about under their breath after it went out
  • New stationery or logo roll out that half the people refused to use
For many, the website one in particular may hit home.  Everybody has an idea about what the new site should look like (I mean, we do all use the web so we know what people look for, right?).  Every project has to be represented.  Every industry has to be mentioned.  Often, before you know it, the site has taken on a life of its own and becomes everybody’s project.  Unfortunately, the next steps are often either huge project delays or a website that nobody is quite happy with.  I actually just spoke to a highly acclaimed design firm last week that was even fired while still working on the early stages of the homepage!
So what went wrong?  Regardless of the communications vehicle, firms need a cohesive brand and marketing strategy.  Now more than ever, especially with individuals acting as company brand stewards through social media, EVERYBODY in the firm needs to understand the communications strategy if they are…communicating.
Applied to the website analogy, a clear brand platform and marketing strategy will do the following things:
  • Provide a point of reference to justify decision making – “Is this in line with the brand?”
  • Clarify what industries and projects are the most important to present to the public – “Is this project related to the type of work we are pursuing?”
  • Put decisions in the perspective of the target audience, not the employees – “Who do we want to receive our communications and what do they need to hear?”
  • Make content coming from numerous sources more consistent – “What language, tone and writing style do we follow?”
While many of these things may seem intangible or immeasurable, the true measure of success is in time and money saved.  A strong marketing strategy minimizes internal revisions, decreases marketing project timelines and cuts back unbillable hours from managers and principals that likely have billable work to do.

Chris Denby is the founder of Markitecture, a DC area marketing and brand strategy consultancy that provides A/E/C firms with unique strategies to address changing marketing needs and industry trends.  He is an experienced architect and marketer who is passionate about helping firms increase effectiveness, create focus, and achieve goals with or without dedicated marketing resources. He’s also @markitectureDC on Twitter.
This article was originally published on Chris’s Markitecture Blog at http://www.markitectureconsulting.com/blog/.

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