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"An effective brand will thrive via web, print, agility and awareness." - Julian Gutierrez

ake a moment to contemplate this question by Adam Lerner: Does your firm use the same brand development services it sells?

Rubik's Cube is a 3-D combination puzzle invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Ernő Rubik. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubik's_Cube

Rubik's Cube is a 3-D combination puzzle invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Ernő Rubik. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubik's_Cube

If all firms did so, the design consulting industry would be populated with branded firms positioned around their own unique attributes. Instead, the current state is an industry with largely undifferentiated firms positioned around the same attribute: "innovation." Why is it that the very brand services we tell clients are indispensable receive little-to-no financial or human resources inside our own firms? Are we all the shoemaker's children?

Let's clear up the first lingering misconception: sales and marketing are not the same, and do not require a similar skill set.

 

 

 

 

Perhaps one reason why more resources are not committed to branding our firms is the lack of understanding for who marketers are, and what they do. So let's clear up the first lingering misconception: sales and marketing are not the same, and do not require a similar skill set. Both are essential to design firms, but they have distinctive roles. Sales is responsible for turning a warm lead (someone that has been qualified) into a client and managing the relationship to ensure future business. Marketing is responsible for activities involved in generating warm leads and communicating the firm's value proposition to the marketplace.

Marketers working for design firms should wear two hats: internal and external. The internal marketer is responsible for strategically positioning the design firm's own brand in the memory of the target market through marketing communications. The external marketer provides brand strategies to the firm's clients through market research. Currently such roles are often unfulfilled--or filled by industrial designers--a situation which could be markedly improved by hiring marketing specialists.

The focus of this article is on the shoemaker: marketing aimed at increasing the brand awareness of the design firm itself--not its clients.

 

You must resist the temptation to position your firm's brand as a collection of capabilities. Capabilities in industrial design, engineering, and research can be easily added and subtracted by competitors within a short period of time. This makes a capabilities-based brand strategy unsustainable, and potentially ineffective in differentiating any firm from its competition. Your firm's capabilities should support your brand, but not become it.

Read full article by Adam Lerner )

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