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:
- Conference Hall
- Mixed Use
- Master planning
- Research and Development
- Product Design
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.
- Thames estuary airport design
- RIBA Norman Foster travelling scholarship
- Charity – Computer Aid International
- Honorary Doctorate University of Madrid
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?