Content strategy guides the architecture firm’s efforts to draw people together.

Diving deeper into evolving market segments.


Populous is a leading architecture firm with a stronghold in sports architecture on a global scale. The habits of professional sports market clients were changing: they were becoming more digitally savvy and educated about the design and build process – doing a lot of research well before speaking to an architect. In addition, new market segments were emerging for Populous that required a thorough understanding of audience intentions and desired messaging.

NATIVE applied the same rigor to both current and emerging markets to strengthen Populous’ leading position and enhance their standing.


Defined Content Segmentation

By asking pressing questions and actively listening, the NATIVE team fully engulfed itself in the Populous story.

Early steps included:

  • Brand definition exercises to understand how personality and position relates to content messaging
  • Persona profiles and journeys to understand how to speak to the various Populous audience segments before, during and post-build
  • Workflow and in-house capabilities to ease roadblocks and maximize existing talent
  • Determining growth opportunity and revenue contribution of each market segment to align marketing with business investments
  • Understanding triggers for engagement

Strengthened Brand & Informed Budget

With insights gleaned from Populous clients, staff and leadership, we advised on an updated brand tone and how to apply it on multiple channels. The updated tone helped strengthen Populous’ focus on people over projects: less about buildings, and more about the experience and feelings they create.

Next, NATIVE defined an investment and budgeting strategy for each segment intended to prevent over- or under-investment in any one market or format. Based on the budget, the NATIVE team defined the following for each segment:

  • Competitive content audit to see what works and doesn’t work for others
  • Keyword analysis to identify client demand, market advantages and opportunities within striking distance
  • Website analytics review to understand pathways, seasonality, desired topics and actionable end-points

* Yes, we blurred our findings, but you get the gist hopefully

Practical Practices

Our team was now armed with enough insights to make content recommendations and start the editorial planning process, resulting in practical tools for Populous:

  • Content themes: themes that currently work or that should be successful based on our findings. All content planned ladders up to these themes, which are a balance of what the brand wants, Google wants, and what the audience craves.
  • Sustainability in content creation: allow architects to be architects rather than content creators. We looked at ways to repurpose long-form content and work within the Populous in-house capabilities and assigned budget.
  • Technical website improvements: ensure sure all content is optimized for organic findability and social sharing.
  • Lead generation: generating qualified leads is key. We outlined a strategy to capture and nurture leads by maintaining touchpoints with prospects and nurture ongoing relationships.

Finally, all learnings were applied to a quarterly editorial content calendar and an engagement plan with prioritized goals to measure successes. To provide ongoing quality assurance on content creation, we included a simple but powerful 6-question checklist for the staff to self-grade their work.


Populous now has a proactive plan for investing in, creating, and deploying their content. Each piece is now more client-centric and addresses specific market needs. The Populous marketing team has a better idea of why certain content succeeds, why others may fall flat, and an approach to evaluate opportunities. The practical brand tone guidelines were a big hit, allowing each staff member to have more clarity on the brand voice used in all formats.

In an industry built on relationships and handshakes, Populous is ahead of the pack, realizing that more and more, the sale can be invisibly predetermined before they’re even involved.

Populous draws people together with their work. So do we.

“Populous went from a basic editorial calendar to a robust, detailed plan thanks to NATIVE. The team evaluated every facet of our positioning to fortify our content. We’re now even more confident in how we reach customers online.”

Gina Stingley
Director of Marketing, Populous

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