Branding the profession
By Eleanor Trenfeld
© Tom Lee
In March, I set up a landscape practice, ETLA (Eleanor Trenfield Landscape Architects), and I have been overwhelmed by the support and opportunities that have come my way so far. But whilst I would consider myself skilled at what I do, the business-development side of my new role has been more of a learning curve. So, I decided to appoint a business development consultant, to review my plan for how to increase my profile and support me in turning all these leads and opportunities into appointments. She was a warm, talkative and clearly a skilled person in her field, reinforcing this with the phrase ‘I am shit hot at what I do’. Her lack of modesty came as a surprise.
It made me think that perhaps our modesty within the landscape profession is doing us a disservice given the loud and media-savvy world we are operating in. We need to be selling ourselves and the brand of landscape architecture more.
She was very clear about what a professional needs to do to raise their profile in their respective industry. A professional needs to put him / herself out there, write and publish, be active on LinkedIn or relevant industry platforms, speak at events, and attend networking events, all of which are obvious but we are all busy, and all too easily use this as an excuse. As landscape architects we should all be doing more writing, speaking and networking, we need to ‘lean in’ and we need to encourage an environment in which opinion and debate are welcomed.
The Landscape Institute news, blogs and Journal provide a platform that I encourage all members to use more. Let’s all lean in and promote the landscape profession, and get involved with the Landscape Institute within councils, technical committees, branches etc. Please, start writing and speaking at events, and let the world see that we are ‘shit hot’. We need to build a stronger brand to strengthen our standing in the industry and recruit the next generation. And the Landscape Institute needs to support us in doing this, by developing a stronger identity for the profession.
Eleanor Trenfeld is honorary editor of Landscape and director of ETLA.