Enemy Messaging: Appealing To Your Clients

March 17, 2024

Tyler Suomala

Founder of Growthitect

If your social media posts echo in an empty room, or the engagement with your emails is as low as the chances of finding a cab in the rain, it's time for your wake-up call.

I see you out there!

You're pumping out content, showcasing those stunning projects, and yet, the silence from potential clients is deafening. Your messaging isn’t working.

The culprit? It’s time to spice up your storytelling by introducing a cast of "enemies" into your narrative. Your story shouldn't just show off your work; it should spotlight the common challenges (e.g. “enemies”) you help your clients conquer.

Using enemies will make your services and stories incredibly relatable, increasing engagement with your messaging.

And when you identify the right enemies, good things happen:

  • Increased conversion rates: Making messages relatable and emotionally engaging turns prospects into clients faster. Seeing their challenges in your story convinces them you've got the solutions they need.

  • Enhanced brand loyalty: Sharing the fight against design challenges builds a bond. Clients who feel heard and helped are more likely to stick around and spread the good word.

  • Greater market differentiation: Standing out is easier with a unique story about overcoming design "enemies." This attracts clients seeking more than just the basics.

Here’s how to identify and implement client enemies in 3 simple steps:

01 // Identifying client enemies

These enemies aren’t your typical villains. They don’t lurk in shadows or plot world domination. Instead, they’re the everyday pains that plague your clients—the small closets, the drab, lifeless rooms, the eco-unfriendly materials.

Begin by making a list of potential enemies using a few sources:

  • Client conversations: Direct feedback from clients during discovery meetings provides invaluable insights into their specific dislikes, pain points, and frustrations.

  • Market research: Analyze trends, surveys, and reports within your target market to identify common issues faced by your clients. Public forums like Reddit or Quora can also offer great insight into common challenges.

  • Historical analysis: Review past projects to identify recurring issues or client feedback that pointed to specific problems that trigger their search for an architect.

It’s worth noting that the most important aspect of identifying enemies is to use the client’s words. If you hear a handful of clients say “bonkers lighting” or “sucky closets” then don’t change it to “weird lighting” and “bad closets” - that would defeat the purpose.

02 // Categorizing client enemies

Now that you have a list of potential enemies, we’re going to categorize them to help bring structure to your messaging. Here are the four categories that the enemies should cover (aim for 1-2 enemies per category):

  • Functional: These are the silent disruptors of daily life, like inadequate lighting and the dreaded lack of storage, that prevent clients from efficiently utilizing their space.

  • Aesthetic: It's the battle against spaces that fail to inspire or reflect the owner's identity. These are the enemies of expression, like cookie-cutter homes or 90’s cubicles.

  • Environmental: This is the poor insulation that freezes the family cold throughout winter or the questionable materials and finishes that constantly break, crack, and fail.

  • Emotional: These are the feelings experienced by clients in their own spaces (before you help them!) - anxiety, frustration, disappointment, etc.

03 // Crafting enemy messages

Armed with 4-8 distinct client enemies, you can now upgrade your messaging and content strategy. The client becomes the hero of their own story and your firm as the trusted sidekick helping to eliminate the enemy.

Create a table that looks something like the one below and begin to address how your firm helps to render each enemy obsolete.

This table will be useful for implementing this enemy messaging throughout your content like social media and your website.

Here are a few examples of how leaning on enemies can massively upgrade your messaging:

  • Enemy = Cramped kitchen

    • Before: "We specialize in modern and spacious kitchen designs."

    • After: "Cramped kitchen turning meal prep into a chore? We’ll help you cook up a spacious, modern kitchen that makes cooking a joy, not a battle."

  • Enemy = Puzzling layout

    • Before: "Our firm focuses on creating functional living spaces."

    • After: "Battling a layout that makes everyday living a puzzle? We’ll help solve the riddle so your space fits your needs like a glove."

  • Enemy = endless timelines

    • Before: "We ensure your project is completed on time and within budget."

    • After: "Wrestling with the fear of endless timelines and ballooning budgets? We deliver 100% of our projects on time and within budget."


Your messaging may be failing to engage your audience because you’re not calling out common enemies. Injecting your narratives with the drama of overcoming client enemies will make your brand more relatable and differentiated. To utilize client enemies:

  1. Identify the enemies

  2. Categorize the enemies

  3. Craft consistent enemy messages

Then take the framework and apply it to your social media, website, and other messaging.

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