Marketing here and beyond
In January 2011, Charles Cunniffe Architects in Aspen, Colo., rolled out a social media strategy. This included a blog, Facebook page and Twitter account. In addition, the company provides quarterly e-newsletters that share company and industry news, a company website and LinkedIn profile.
“The main reason for the rollout was [Search Engine Optimization] to expand our reach. We do projects all over the U.S. and the world, and we wanted to make sure we were reaching that,” says Rebecca Richardson, director of business development for the company.
Richardson handles all the marketing tools, and admits it is a lot of extra work on top of her regular duties, but she believes strongly in them. “I’m passionate about it so that helps,” she says. “Because we design nationally and internationally, a client might not necessarily see our ad in a regional magazine. So if you’re searching ‘architecture’ and ‘Aspen’ and you’re in Rio de Janeiro, we will show up higher on the list. We want to reach anyone and everyone.”
Scheduling is key
The company uses its blog to discuss different happenings in the industry, talk about current projects, post videos, and promote the many pro bono projects it works on. The blog is updated twice a week and is connected to the company’s Facebook page and Twitter account. “We try not to post too much so people aren’t overwhelmed. It’s a fine line especially for architecture because it’s a slower [industry] say compared to retail,” Richardson says.
Setting a biweekly schedule does put pressure to find content, but Richardson has a routine that relieves some of that pressure: She sits down and writes the posts for the following two weeks. “I get coffee, sit down and it flows,” she adds.”
New world, new tools
The company’s marketing strategy has changed dramatically in the five years Richardson has been with the company. “Primarily we did print advertising and websites five years ago,” she says. “You are limiting yourself now if you don’t do [some of the social media]. It keeps the momentum up with the potential client. There is a lot for them to see so they can feel confident they have hired the right company.”
In addition, Richardson doesn’t see the social media usage being used only by her younger clients. “Everyone has an iPad or laptop — it’s all clients across the board no matter the age,” she adds.
The marketing world is an ever-changing one with tools introduced daily, so it’s important Richardson understands which ones to invest her valuable time into. “You have to read and talk to the right people, and stay up to date. And then find out what works for you,” she says. “We are a luxury brand architecture firm so the bells and whistles that make sense for restaurants, don’t apply to us. We have to watch for what’s going to benefit us.”
Leading with community involvement
When Richard Laughlin, president, Laughlin Homes and Restoration in Fredericksburg, Texas, talks about his involvement in the community, a modest tone comes out of his voice and surrounds his words. It’s clear his intentions for being involved in his small town of 10,000 are truly to make the community better.
“We live in a small town and I am very much in favor of maintaining a quality of life,” he says. His family has roots in Fredericksburg, and he believes strongly in doing the right thing by giving back.
A few ways Laughlin is involved in his community range from being on the Historic Review Board, Gillespie County Fair and Festivals Association, chamber of commerce and more. For all of these involvements, Laughlin has been contributing for years, with no end in sight.
Many types of involvement
Laughlin has been on the Historic Review Board for eight years. Fredericksburg has a historic district on the national registry and the HRB’s goals are to review any changes planned for the district. It’s a volunteer, six-person council. “I’m involved because I want to make sure history is preserved,” Laughlin says.