Working visibility

Jun 08, 2009

Working visibility is all about the public— and hopefully that includes some potential clients— seeing your firm at work and more importantly, recognizing it’s YOUR firm! To the extent they see you “doing” they will be more likely to hire you when they have a need for what you do. It’s funny because very few A/E/P or environmental firms have any idea of what the term “working visibility” means, and even fewer use it to their advantage. Yet the market leaders in almost every other industry use working visibility as one of their primary marketing strategies. Here are some things to look at if you want to be one of the rare firms in our business who seeks to maximize working visibility: Vehicles should be recognizable. This takes a specific kind of vehicle (see the new Nissan Cube). Prius’s, New Beetles, Mini Coopers— in a recognizable color or colors— something that identifies your company. Think Checker Cab. They used Checker cars, originally. You knew it was them when you saw one. How can you use this tactic as a design or environmental firm? Just get every car to be something that is unique and make sure they are all painted in a unique color scheme. People will start seeing them “everywhere.” Equipment such as trailers or boats or drilling rigs, or even laptop cases, should also contribute to working visibility. Don’t paint your big stuff all white, or use all black laptop cases though! Pick a bold color that shows clearly your company is your company, not some other firm. Building signage. Make sure every office you have employs the biggest sign allowed by law. People will start knowing your name even if they don’t know anything about what you do. That’s fine— that’s a great first step in achieving more working visibility. Project signage. Put up big signs everywhere you can. See Miyamoto International, a seismic and structural engineering firm based in Sacramento— for some “how-to” on project signage. They do it every time they can. The effect is awesome. It looks like they have every project in their home office city of Sacramento. Attire. Have a “look” that is yours. IBM did this in the ‘60s, with dark suits and white shirts and clean-shaven faces. What is the look you want? Century 21 had the bad gold jackets. Pick out some kind of unique clothing item that can be worn by all and insist your people wear it, both in- and outside of the office, to improve your working visibility. Plans and drawing techniques. To the extent your clients will allow it, your output should have “a look” that immediately identifies it as your work. EDSA in Ft. Lauderdale, for example, is a planning and landscape architecture firm that has an immediately recognizable output to those in the know. Isn’t it time you increased your working visibility? Working invisibly behind the scenes is no way to market yourself! Originally published 6/8/2009

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.