Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tooting your own (and your firm's) horn

I wanted to post something else towards the end of the week, but the time I would usually spend writing blog posts was spent this week writing press releases for an upcoming speaking engagement. I'm writing it on my own, and ultimately my firm's behalf, with a little input from a few internet sites and a friend who has done a few press releases in his time. It's important to remember that everyone at your firm is an architect first and a businessperson second, and marketing and PR tasks are way down on their list. It's not that we don't want to generate buzz about our firms and our accomplishments--it's just that the business of architecture gets in the way of tooting our own horns.

It's my hope (and hopefully one of your goals) that interns get to work on marketing and PR for your firms. It's enlightening to see your firm from the point of view of the firm partners as well as from the point of view of the general public. How can you and/or your firm contribute to a conversation about new zoning laws or perhaps ideas on home renovation? What service can you provide to building owners that no other firm can? What is it about your best projects that make them so special? And why should anybody care? Those are questions you can ask yourself when thinking about PR for your firm as well as your own accomplishments at or outside a firm.


  1. It would be interesting that interns are getting work on marketing and PR for your firms.

  2. I think its common and easy for firms to throw promo work to the newest and least experienced staff. It makes sense on one level, where portfolio work gets new people caught up on the history of the firm, and writing press releases or project descriptions keeps the interns quiet in their work spaces for a while. On another level, it makes no sense to put the public image of the firm in the hands of people who may understand public image the least. Subtle nuances in language or style can go along way towards saying things not meant to be said. I think promo work is best left to experienced people who have a better understanding of the firm, the press, the audience, and the vision of where the firm is going.

  3. Marc and Kevtrout: It is rare that interns get to work on marketing and PR for their firms, but bear in mind that writing copy isn't the only thing interns could do (or could possibly mess up, which is a good point that Kevtrout makes). Many interns have experience with Photoshop, Illustrator, and other graphics and layout software that would allow them to help firm owners and managers to put together interesting, informative, and eye-catching brochures/mailings and presentations.

    I have been able to help my firm with PR, marketing, and RFPs in the past by being able to edit, clarify, and condense existing PR copy. Architects have a tendency, I have found, to write for other architects instead of for developers or hospital CEOs or school boards. We use words and phrases that don't entirely make sense to anyone outside of our profession, and we miss chances to really connect with potential clients. The owners of the firm for which I work have asked me numerous times to read through what they've written and "clean it up"; they want the meaning of the words to remain but they also want to make sure it actually makes sense and is only as long as it needs to be. If an intern has a gift for words, editing for clarity would be a good way to contribute without having to completely create content, which indeed might be hard to do if one is only a couple of years out of school.