HummingbirdHill Homes had been around long enough to build an impressive portfolio, not to mention making some positive noise on HGTV as well as in Canadian House and Home magazine. However, like many entrepreneurs, Aaron Miller was so busy building his business that he was falling behind building any brand awareness. There were great stories to be told, hidden away, a broken website that wasn’t up to date, and uncertainty around the name of the company going forward.
Aaron Miller, CEO of HummingbirdHill Homes, was one of my followers on Fussy Gardener and that’s how he came to contact Riordon Design about a taking his brand and communications to a new level. We were able to take him through our Brand Experience Review which identified where the communications weren’t aligned with his core competencies and helped define his competitive advantage. Much of what was being communicated needed to be reorganized and ordered. Hierarchy of messaging is critical to making sure that your audience isn’t missing what they’re looking for from you. Once what was missing was identified we were able to carefully construct those pieces, add to and edit where needed. During that process we determined that his existing name had enough cache and uniqueness to carry him into a successful future. The areas we recommended improving were focused primarily on the brand identity, developing a defining tagline and other key messages, and ultimately a new website.
The website was a key communications tool for HummingbirdHill Homes. In Aaron’s words, “I’ve lost control of my website to my SEO guru and programmer.” Some of the links were broken; the profile on lead stories such as HGTV and Canadian House and Home were missing and the site wasn’t responsive. We were able to build a new site with ease of access in a WordPress format. The simultaneous design of a brochure fuelled the framework of content for the website as well.
While every business is concerned with economies, two things you can’t afford to skimp on is committing to collecting testimonials from your happy clients and excellent photographic representation of your work. This is an investment in your business, not just an expenditure.
We encourage our clients to make a practice at the end of each project to solicit two or three sentences expressing their client’s pleasure with the outcome of the work. Fortunately HummingbirdHill had a collection of accolades from very satisfied clients. Our task was to edit and organize the key points they were making in a way that aligned with their brand promise and key distinctive’s. There’s nothing better than someone else blowing your horn.
I recently met with a seasoned architect who found work slowing down. He had a couple of key clients that had floated his boat for many years, but things were changing. He had never really invested in keeping a professional record of his accomplishments or really prioritized marketing his firm. The well was dry. It’s very difficult to create something out of nothing. Even if your goal is to redefine your business, starting from scratch.
There’s a short window of time to capture these images, when the project is fresh and looks its best, before habitation, or before it’s out of date. Make it part of your practice to hire an experienced, best-in-class photographer to ensure your work shines. Building a portfolio of professional images is critical to growing your business particularly in the architecture, build/develop and interior design categories.
Our culture is trained to respond to images that excite and inspire. The web is such a visual conduit, a compelling instant gratification arena vying for attention, which means the best secret to setting yourself apart as a “must-have” is through compelling imagery that represents your work at its best. Something we find our clients using more often is short film format or a video to tell their story. Very engaging and impacting. Good writing is also essential, but keep it brief and let the imagery sell the outcome.