podcast logo

Search for other episodes

Episode 037: Effective Marketing & Branding for Busy Firms and Leaders

Today’s episode of the AEC Leadership Today podcast features Bryon McCartney. Bryon is the Chief Creative Strategist at Archmark and we talk about effective marketing and branding today, how it’s changing, and what that means moving forward. 


Effective Marketing & Branding for Busy Firms and Leaders

Whether we are looking to grow or to maintain our position as a go-to firm, effective marketing and branding is essential. This is even more of the case today with both the pandemic and the fundamental changes being made to how we find and execute our work. Seeking clarity in our brand and consistency in our messaging is also the key to success as both local and remote competition continues to increase. 

In this episode, we talk “101” marketing and branding basics, and we also dig into several specific strategies and tactics we can begin to invest-in today to get us to where we want – and need – to be in order to succeed in the marketplace with the type of work and the types of clients we want. 


“Marketing is more focused on having direct conversations with people who might actually be interested in hiring you… Branding is an umbrella over all that helps your ideal client come to you.”

—Bryon McCartney


In this episode, we discuss:

  • Bryon’s background and his work in an around design, advertising, marketing, and branding with both large and small-scale businesses, and how he got more engrained in AEC. 
  • The differences and relationships between marketing, branding, advertising, public relations, business development, and sales – elements we so often confuse and conflate. 
  • The four key phases of the “marketing and sales” funnel – awareness, interest, decision, and action – and where the key elements fit. 
  • The biggest hurdles and misunderstandings to building an attractive brand in the AEC industry. The first thing we need to understand is that our brand is not something we “own” – it’s the perception that others have about us – and we can only seek to help influence that perception through our “branding’ activities. It’s not just about our name and logo, and it’s critical we understand how we are seen and experienced throughout our organizations and in the marketplace.
  • The four P’s of branding – purpose, promise, position, and personality – and the key questions they seek to answer, and how we can fill the gaps and capitalize the opportunities. The key is knowing who we want to be and where we stand. 
  • The historical barrier and stigma against marketing and branding in the AEC industry and how that stigma has affected marketing, branding, advertising, and promotion. Marketing is not about extracting something, it’s about solving problems and showing others a path to do so. 
  • Getting to the bottom of ‘content marketing’ versus ‘thought leadership’ and the different goals and strategies of each. Once we understand our brand, our marketing and messaging needs to be appropriately aligned with others’ wants and needs to be effective. 
  • How to establish an ideal content marketing strategy, and how we can effectively do so when we’re very busy. 
  • The most effective channels and platforms today and the nuances and differences between them, and why LinkedIn may be one of the best social platforms to invest in.
  • The importance of consistency in marketing. In a time where everyone is overrun with images and information, consistency in marketing is the linchpin separating a successful campaign versus an ineffective one. 
  • How COVID-19 has affected the AEC industry, how marketing and branding is fundamentally different now, and how it is important for firms to reconfigure their efforts to adapt to this new online and expertise-based reality. 

“In terms of differentiating our firms… don’t say you’re an expert; demonstrate your expertise.”

—Bryon McCartney


I am thankful to have had Bryon on the podcast to discuss his expertise in branding, marketing, and more, and how we can better leverage them for greater success today and moving forward.

About Bryon McCartney

Bryon has more than 30-years of experience in branding and marketing and has led online strategic initiatives for major clients, including Clavin Klein, General Motors, Lipton Foods, and many others.

Bryon has had a lifelong love of architecture and design and for the past several years the Archmark team has focused on helping clients in the architecture, engineering, and construction industries. In fact, the Archmark team has set a goal to bring value to 100,000 architects by 2030 by helping firms improve how they use branding, marketing, website design, and lead generation to build productive and profitable relationships with prospects, partners, and promoters. 

Archmark has gained attention for its study of 450+ AEC firm websites to better understand the challenges and opportunities that architects have to stand out and differentiate themselves. Bryon is a featured author, podcast guest, and speaker for AIA, ASLA, Entrearchitect, Inside the Firm, and SMPS.


Thanks for listening to the AEC Leadership Today Podcast!

I sincerely hope you enjoyed today’s episode. Be sure to check out Bryon McCartney’s contact information and the Archmark website links in the resources section below for more information. If you like what you heard, leave a review on iTunes and share the podcast with your friends and colleagues. Look forward to seeing you in the next episode!  


Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Are you interested in being a guest?

How to help out

Please leave a review on iTunes, Spotify and Stitcher. They really help, so thank you.

Are you feeling overwhelmed, or are you burning out?

quiz are you overwhelmed 001

There is a big difference and each requires a different approach. Take this FREE quiz to find out where you stand and learn exactly how you (and your team!) can get back on track.

about pete smiling

About the Host

Peter C. Atherton, P.E. is an AEC industry insider having spent more than 20 years as a successful professional civil engineer, principal, major owner, and member of the board of directors for high-achieving firms.  Pete is now the President and Founder of ActionsProve, LLC, author of Reversing Burnout. How to Immediately Engage Top Talent and Grow! A Blueprint for Professionals and Business Owners, and the creator of the I.M.P.A.C.T. process. Pete works with AEC firms and leaders to grow and advance their success through modern and new era focused strategic planning and implementation, executive coaching, leadership and management development, performance-based employee engagement, and corporate impact design.

Episode 037: Effective Marketing & Branding for Busy Firms and Leaders