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Why Planning and Development Consultancies should review brand appeal

Planning and Development Consultancies provide essential services within their industry. However, many of them aren’t realigning their brands towards the emerging Millennial and Gen Z audiences – both customer and talent – who gravitate towards dynamic, forward-facing businesses.

Plus, this group is now entering the workforce and looking to take up jobs with brands that share their own values. So, consultancy brands also need to meet these professionals’ expectations if they want to attract new talent into their business.

This article will explain how planning and development consultancies can realign their brands and future-proof their success.

 

Why is effective branding essential?

To attract customers and talent, Planning and Development Consultancies need to be professional, trustworthy and authoritative. In many cases, this has led businesses to market their services using conservative and corporate branding.

However, with 22,525 UK students graduating with a degree related to architecture, building and planning in 2022, the demographic of the industry is getting younger. Having been born after 1982 and before 2010, the emerging audience is a brand and tech-savvy group with specific needs and expectations that businesses should align with.

Specifically, research has shown that customers from Gen Z and millennial groups want company brands to be:

Authentic: younger audiences are used to having a wide choice of businesses to buy products or services from. They are more likely to choose one that builds a real connection and relationship with them.

Genuine values: whether it’s standing against racism, promoting fair trade practices or demonstrating eco-friendly action, the new audiences want to work or buy from businesses that truly care about the issues they do.

Open honesty: talking transparently about everything, even about challenges or mistakes, will endear younger audiences to your business by showing them your real, human-side.

Consistent communication: for new audiences, having a connection with a brand is a top decision-making factor. Having a distinct, unique and consistent brand tone of voice at every customer touchpoint will help your business build trust and loyalty with them.

Digital-first: according to Statista, by 2024 the smartphone user penetration rate is expected to reach 88.1% of the total UK population. This means your website needs to work seamlessly on digital devices and provide a user-centric experience for the audience.

To communicate effectively with people aged 18 to 40, Planning and Development Consultancy brands need to shift away from a corporate tone of voice, to something that’s more authentic and tells the brand story. This will help attract these groups to the business as professional talent or customers.

 

What makes a brand effective?

To effectively connect with the modern market, you need to create a brand that showcases a progressive business. This means integrating the following characteristics into your brand identity and marketing activities.

Being energetic and educational.

It’s important to demonstrate that your brand is passionate, engaged and authoritative within the planning and development industry. Sharing your expertise in a dynamic and personable way will show your brand is happy to share knowledge and guidance with the audience.

Authentically adding value rather than coldly and blatantly selling your services is a big plus in the eyes of all potential customers.

Distinct and clear values.

Having real brand values and demonstrating them will help you build trust and connections with millennial or Gen Z customers. Think about relevant challenges within the industry that are particularly affecting new audiences and share your views on them.

Transparency, versatility, and positivity are just a few values you might want to consider presenting as part of your business values and vision.

Modernity and visual appeal.

With lots of competitor brands out there, businesses need to stand out and be distinctive to capture the attention of new audiences. Presenting a brand with a clear personality that is captivating, engaging and intriguing will help draw in new sales opportunities and talent to the business.

Modern brand colour palettes, supporting identity graphics, cleverly written copy and photography styling are just a few ways you can enhance your business brand to engage new audiences.

Unique personality.

To stand out to customers from any generation, you need to understand and communicate your business’s purpose and unique value proposition. Rather than just focusing on the features of your services, think about your customers’ needs and how your team can help solve them.

This will bring your brand and marketing communications to life and show new audiences how working with you will truly benefit them.

 

What does an effective PDC brand look like?

Effective planning and development consultancy brands are modern, dynamic and market aligned. Below are a few examples of PDC businesses that have transformed their brands to align with the new market, redefining the characteristics of their business with intuitive, user-focused brands and websites.

 

Bold and individual.

Though Lichfields’ USP is its expertise and experience, its energetic designs, direct messaging and dynamic graphics demonstrate its modern approach alongside its heritage of more than 60 years in planning and development.

The website clearly demonstrates that the brand is in touch with industry topics and market trends, emphasising the values and importance the business puts on thought leadership.

The branding is consistently echoed through the website design with crisp and distinct supporting graphics that strengthen the audience’s familiarity with the brand. The brand tone of voice is professional and helpful, guiding the audience through a clear and well structured website that is uniquely their own style – this projects a brand that has a story of its own, and one that the audience wants to engage with and be a part of.

 

Modern and chic.

Rather than communicating with reams of corporate tone of voice copy, CO-RE lets its imagery and contemporary brand do the talking. With its unique logo, concise written content and high-quality visual renders of its projects, the brand differentiates itself from other traditional competitors – attracting modern minds.

The website puts the audience experience at the centre, providing them with information in a visually exciting and engaging way. In turn, increasing the likelihood of greater conversions for the business. Adopting this hyper-modern approach, the brand stands out from its competitors and captures the attention of potential new business and talent.

 

Transparent and trustworthy.

With its big, bold and conversational messaging, audiences visiting the website of Rolfe Judd get an immediate understanding of the consultancy’s values, expertise and personality.

The brand’s tone of voice uses terms like ‘striving’ and ‘responsible’, giving the audience a clear perception that they are a personable and honest business – demonstrating the human side of the brand. Creating a genuine brand connection with the audience forms trust and loyalty – which are key factors for Millennial and Gen Z audience types.

 

Realign your brand to the modern market.

To create an effective brand for your Planning and Development Consultancy, you first need to look inwards and ask the essential questions about your brand identity and consider how it relates to customers from all generations.

A good example of a planning consultancy realigning its brand with the modern market is the rebrand we did for the team at Planning Insight, see what we did by clicking here

Our team of brand experts has also put together a free document that asks the ‘5 Essential Branding Questions for Planning & Development Consultancies’ – get your copy by clicking here.

If your Planning and Development Consultancy recognises that your business brand has fallen behind and you want to evolve and better align with the modern market. Get in touch with our branding team by calling us on 01926 754038 or, email us your brief at hello@designmc.org

 

LET’S TALK

Looking to realign, refresh or redevelop your brand or business marketing strategy? Send us an email at hello@designmc.org or, give us a call direct on 01926 754038 for an informal chat.

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