How a Position Statement Helps Your Architecture Practice Stand Out
Having a sharply defined position for your architectural practice goes a long way in setting your firm apart from others, particularly because so few firms have a position statement that identifies who they are, what they do, for whom, and to what benefit.
The majority–I’m talking 95%–of the architectural websites I visit list a minimum of six market segments. It’s not at all unusual to see sites with 10-12 tabs of market segments, followed by a tab called “miscellaneous” or “other.”
The message being sent: “We can do everything for everyone, really, we can.”
Doing everything for everyone seems like a great marketing strategy: we don’t turn anyone away. And it goes along with the architect’s mentality that design is design. It doesn’t matter what the facility type is; we can figure out what’s needed and come up with a solution.
The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t particularly instill confidence in potential clients. Let’s face it. Because of the complexity of technology and dearth of information, buildings, equipment and systems are becoming more and more specialized. As information and technology continue to expand at the fastest pace the human race has experienced, staying at the forefront of any field is becoming exponentially more difficult.
Think about your own firm. Ten or 15 years ago, was it as difficult to design a hospital operating room as it is today with the integrated diagnostic equipment and digital technology in use today? Or lets look at lighting. The fixtures, lamps and controls are infinitely more complex than they were before the influence of computerized control systems and manufacturing advances that have led to myriad equipment and source options. One architect I interviewed recently for an LD+A article (Lighting Design + Application) said he uses a Lighting Designer because it’s practically a full time job to stay in front of the development in the field of lighting design pertaining to possibilities, sources, codes, sustainability and energy.
My point is that being a generalist isn’t a position. It’s a fear of making a commitment to a specific strategic direction for your firm. The principal architect who told me three years ago that he wanted his firm to be the last of the great generalists has been out of work since then and can’t find a job.