Perryn Olson’s The Brand Constructors blog, built on the Louisiana-based company’s tagline: “North America’s ONLY Construction Marketing Specialists” lives up to its billing as a practical, construction-oriented marketing information blog. I’ve cited references from his blog and newsletter several times, and have met him at several Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) conventions, as well.
Consider, for example, the recent posting: Proposals: Using YourBrand or the Client’s Brand — a common and important challenge for anyone working in the RFP world. Do you seek to mimic/mirror the client’s image (to build rapport) or to tell your own story.
His advice: Tell your story from the client’s perspective, but in your brand image.
After working on hundreds of proposals and talking to dozens of construction buyers, our team follows this guideline – your proposal submittal needs your company’s branding to be most effective!
This answer might surprise you if you read my blog posted two weeks ago about the “Worst SOQ Ever”. In that posting, I discussed why an SOQ [and proposal submittal] should be client-focused. So, let me clarify this seemingly conflicting info. The look-and-feel of your proposal submittal should represent your brand and reflect your company’s differentiation, while the verbiage needs to be about and focused on the prospective client. In particular, you want to focus on the big picture of how you’re going to help make their project a success, not just on the nuts-and-bolts of the project. You want to help them fully understand how and why your team is the best possible choice to get them to the final product most efficiently and cost-effectively, and how easy it is to work with your company.
It’s good advice.
So why not brand your proposal exclusively to the client? Because you will not stand out from your competitors, you will miss the opportunity to capitalize on your brand advantage, and, most importantly, you will confuse the client. If they get 10-15 proposals that all look alike them, they will have an even more difficult time selecting the best team for the project. However, you can help achieve marketing’s goals and find a balance between spotlighting your branding while still being prospect-centric by incorporating the prospective’s clients logo, architectural renderings of the completed building, and other elements about the client along with your overall look-and-feel. (Be sure to double-check the client’s logo usage requirements, or possibly even ask their permission by requesting a high-resolution logo.) Also, by branding each and every proposal fully to the prospective client, your job of fulfilling submittal requests becomes and extremely hard one to tackle. You need to have a well-designed, well-thought-out template ready to go so you’re not starting from scratch each time you have less than two weeks to complete a proposal submittal.
This is a worthy entry in the competition, and one you should bookmark if you have any interest in expanding your construction-related marketing and skills.