Marketing for Architects

Marketing for Architects
Lucy works exclusively with for architects

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Learning from the masters

Which architects are the masters of marketing?

In terms of marketing, Norman Foster is a master.  Sir Norman has never been shy of self promoting and publicising himself and his work through books, exhibitions and other PR activities. 
When I lectured the Part 3 professional practice course at the Bartlett in July, I needed a case study to illustrate the different elements that make up a typical business plan.The majority of young architects have never seen a business plan, indeed more than 60% of UK architectural practices don't have a business plan.   For confidentiality reasons, I obviously could not use any of my clients' business plans so I started to imagine what would Norman Foster's business plan might look like ...

What might Norman Foster's marketing plan have looked like for 2012? 

In terms of marketing objectives, Norman Foster and Partners clearly aims not to be a niche player or specialise in one industry.  The website targets 20 industry sectors:
  1. Bridge
  2. Communication
  3. Conference Hall
  4. Culture
  5. Exhibition
  6. Government
  7. Headquarters
  8. Health
  9. Education
  10. Housing
  11. Industrial
  12. Leisure
  13. Sport
  14. Office
  15. Mixed Use
  16. Master planning
  17. Research and Development
  18. Product Design
  19. Retail
  20. Transport

In terms of service segmentation, Norman Foster and Partners offers a full range of services 'from the scale of an airport to the detail of a door handle' and to operate in 145 countries across 5 continents.

Researching the marketing activities and media coverage of Norman Foster and Partners, revealed a fascinating mix of actions which have promoted the practice and raised Sir Norman's profile even higher in the public realm in 2012.
  1. Thames estuary airport design
  2. Competitions
  3. Awards
  4. RIBA Norman Foster travelling scholarship
  5. Charity – Computer Aid International
  6. Honorary Doctorate University of Madrid
  7. MIPIM
  8. Exhibitions
  9. Publications

The Thames Estuary has been an amazing piece of marketing and PR - the speculative investment of designing a new airport has led to a high profile public debate and extensive coverage in the press and interaction with highest level of government and private sector opinion leaders.

The RIBA Travelling Scholarship is about raising  Norman Foster's individual standing within the profession and the practice being able to have access to the most talented students.

The charitable projects generate positive perceptions about the practice and also extend the awareness of the practice into new markets.  The fact that the charity works with computers underlines the technology base of the practice's work.

What is impressive is the coherence of the marketing actions - they all share and add to the brand values of Norman Foster and Partners.

How can you learn from this master?

1 comment:

  1. More PR for Foster and Partners

    'New London Architecture Seminar on Airports'

    'Friday 14th Dec: Flights of fancy? Architects initiate new thinking on airports and infrastructure'

    'With speakers from: Farrells, Foster + Partners, Gensler & Weston Williamson'

    'The debate around expanding London’s airport capacity was brought into sharp focus last year through independent proposals by Foster + Partners for the Thames Hub. Since then, the development of other ideas for the expansion and rebuilding of airports by leading architects such as Gensler, Weston Williamson and Farrells has highlighted the important role that responsible and entrepreneurial proposals have to play in furthering the airport debate as well as in achieving solutions.'

    'With the official review into London's airport capacity having launched in November, NLA has invited a series of these architects to set out their proposals and ideas for meeting London’s airport capacity needs'