Shape and Influence Perceptions About Your AEC Firm
You’ve heard and maybe even said it before: “The job is wired.” What does that mean? Someone has “influenced” the client (developed a relationship or somehow convinced the client that they bring something extra to the team). Public relations (PR) is an often overlooked tactic that is successful in influencing a client or prospective client’s perception of your firm.
Often misunderstood, PR is an influential tool – a way of turning cold calls into warm prospects. While some people think of PR strictly as press releases and advertising, we suggest you turn that notion on its head. PR is “Perception = Reality.” When used as a support tactic, it will help you win work.
Here are four tips for shaping and influencing the perceptions of your firm.
ADVISE: Know and guide the perceptions. It is up to the principals and management to guide the perception of the firm. It is important to know what the existing perception is of your firm, as well as understanding what you want that perception to be, so that your firm can create a map (PR plan) to get to your desired destination.
ENGAGE: Promote your projects. Technical professionals know better than anyone what is unique and innovative about the projects you manage. How can your project be promoted to help differentiate your firm? How can you work with your marketing team to communicate this technical information in an effective manner?
LEAD: Prioritize your PR direction. Marketing/BD leaders will need to optimize the resources at your disposal. There are several different efforts within public relations that can capture your attention – what is most important for your firm and this year’s marketing plan?
EXECUTE: Do your research and then implement. Marketing coordinators comb through industry data to help determine the PR goals. You’ll research publications, associations, and awards, at a minimum. And once the plan is created, you will put it into action. Create a PR calendar to include the tactics that will work best to achieve your goals.