Building success for architects as thought leaders

Published: June 29, 2017

“Are architects missing a trick by not doing more to offer new insights and fresh perspectives on the pressing issues affecting them, their customers and their staff?”

Earlier this year, leading names in architecture including Lord Rogers and David Chipperfield wrote an open letter to the Guardian. The letter highlighted the potential damage to their industry if EU staff currently working in the UK could not stay post-Brexit.

The letter was an excellent example of an industry speaking up on an issue of real importance not just to its future, but to the future of the UK more broadly.

Architects are in a strong position to do this; their work stands around us on every street and, as the financial crisis a few years ago showed, its fortunes are closely intertwined with those of the wider economy.

But are architects missing a trick by not doing more to offer new insights and fresh perspectives on the pressing issues affecting them, their customers and their staff?

Beyond Brexit, architects are knowledgeable about a vast range of issues. Building design, the urban realm, the role of green spaces, how our interaction with spaces affect our health and wellbeing, the future of the workplace – the list goes on.

But when these issues appear in the public arena, in the media or at a policy level, I would argue that architecture firms could do more to take a thought leadership position and contribute new evidence and insights that develop understanding still further.

Done well, new insights on pressing issues can do more than enhance reputation. They can lead to new conversations and commercial opportunities. And it needn’t be the preserve of the biggest architecture firms either, who you would expect to have the resources to do this sort of work (and some of them do). Thought leadership can help challengers to the big firms – who can’t rely on award wins or a well-known figurehead to drive brand awareness – to stand out from the crowd.

What might this look like in practice? Take the future of the workplace – no doubt an important and interesting issue to any architecture practice with business clients. Could a fresh perspective come from exploring the psychological impact of light or space on office behaviour and productivity?

Architects may look at financial and professional services for inspiration. Grant Thornton’s work on the issue of Women in Business is not done to support a particular service line, but because the issue is hugely important – and interesting – for their clients. It uses thought leadership to push the debate on and engagement with the content is extensive.

It is a bold step for firms to take. But considering how much architects have to contribute to some of our most pressing societal issues, maybe now is the time for firms to think differently about how they communicate. Thought leadership provides the foundation for real reputational and commercial success.

Tom Yazdi
Senior Consultant

Leave a Reply

Name *

Mail (not published) *


* Required field

Case Study: Grant Thornton International

“Building Thought Leadership”

International accounting and advisory company, Grant Thornton, differentiates itself as an organisation that works with dynamic...

Read more

Newswire: Linstock gets first prize!

“Linstock and UK Community Foundations won Not for Profit Campaign of the Year 2013 Award at Golden Hedgehogs!”

We’re proud to announce that Linstock Communications and our client UK Community Foundations have been awarded the Golden...

Read more

Case Study: TheCityUK

Managing the reputation of one of the UK's largest industry sectors

TheCityUK is the membership body for the UK’s financial and related professional services industry. Its membership includes...

Read more

Blog: Typologies: Melancholic May Versus Choleric Boris

“With typologies becoming increasingly popular in business literature, let's investigate why and whether such conceptual frameworks can always be trusted.”

Apply the four temperaments typology to big names in Brexit and you might go with Phlegmatic Phil, Melancholic May and Choleric...

Read more

Blog: PR Professionals Must Maintain A Leading Role

“We need to modernise and adapt to new digital trends, including measuring impact in real-time, but PR must stay true to its roots.”

Buzzword bingo was in full effect at the PRCA’s annual conference at BAFTA this year. Transparency, collaboration and...

Read more

Case Study: British Gas

“Energy efficiency in social housing: making the green deal work”

British Gas is the UK’s leading energy and home services provider. Local authority and housing association decision makers...

Read more