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Tips to Strengthen Professional Relationships

tips on building professional relationships

Do you want to be top-of-mind not only with people that you want to do business with, but also with those who can help build your influence? The secret is to get personal. Here are four tips to help build your professional relationships and get larger returns as a result.

1. Reach out IRL. In this world of e-mails, texts, and tweets, the value of a phone call is often underestimated. Take time every so often to pick up the phone to touch base with a prospective client or colleague. You can also stop by a client’s office to say hello or drop off a small token of appreciation you’ve picked up during a recent trip. Gestures like these let people know you’re thinking about them, and that they are important to you.

2. Perfect your timing. Reaching out is key, but don’t forget to factor in when it’s appropriate to do so. Don’t just get in touch with journalists when you want them to write about you or cover your project. Instead, suggest meeting for a coffee—your treat—to talk about the stories they are working on now and down the road. Make a friendly introduction to a third party that shares common interests with your writer friend. Send a thank you note and connect on social media by sending a LinkedIn invitation within a day or two after your meeting.

3. Socialize on social media. Social media is an essential tool for successful marketing. You can share your work and ideas in real time, while simultaneously making connections with other design pros. Maintain active Twitter and LinkedIn accounts and open up communication channels with writers, peers, and potential clients. Connect with, or ask for an introduction to, those folks you want to know. Familiarize yourself with journalists’ Twitter handles and say hi once in awhile. (Of course, don’t forget to mention your latest project!)

4. Really get to know people. If you take the time to find out what’s important to the individuals you want to connect with, your chances of establishing professional relationships with them will increase. Make a list of personal as well as professional details about each person, ranging from their alma mater to their extra-curricular accomplishments to what non-work-related subjects in which he or she is interested. If you demonstrate that you’re knowledgeable about a person’s life outside of work, it shows you’re interested in building a mutually beneficial relationship.

A Quick PR Quiz for AEC Professionals

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To help you perfect your communications strategy in 2017, we’ve put together a pop PR quiz highlighting some common misconceptions about public relations. How do you think you’ll score?

True or False: Use as many social media platforms as possible to promote your projects

FALSE. It may be tempting to set up as many profiles as possible in the hopes of reaching the widest audience, but it’s more effective to selectively choose the channels that will reach your target audiences. For example, image-centric Instagram is ideal for showing your firm’s creativity through photographs; more text-heavy postings on LinkedIn will connect with executives. Remember “Less is more”: It’s the way you use your social media platforms that matters, not how many you use.

True or False: Designing a great building means your firm will get noticed immediately

FALSE. Your latest project may be the best work your firm has ever done, but that doesn’t guarantee that you will get top press coverage overnight. Quality editorial requires solid strategy. Developing an effective PR campaign for your firm and projects takes time. Getting the word out about your work should start long before the project is finished, so it is helpful to establish a schedule for all press related activities. Update your social media regularly with photos of the project to alert the press to construction milestones.

True or False: If an editor doesn’t answer your follow up about a project, it’s helpful to reach out again

TRUE. If an editor hasn’t responded to your follow up about your latest project, it doesn’t automatically mean they’re not interested. The key to grabbing an editor’s attention is to find new ways of pitching your project; don’t just repeat the content of your last email. Tip: Keep your emails concise. Make the most important information easy to find by putting it in the first few sentences, or use bullet points to call out key ideas.

True or False: Social media is impersonal and time consuming

FALSE. Social media offers a great advantage in showcasing your firm’s personality by providing a “behind the scenes” look at your firm and its work. You can offer brief, personable updates that don’t need to follow the formalities of press releases. Updating your accounts daily or a few times a week takes only a couple minutes, and can help keep your firm’s name top-of-mind with clients and target audiences.

True or False: Developing relationships with the media is not as important as sending out lots of press releases

FALSE. To create meaningful exposure for your projects, quality content is essential, not the number of press releases you send out. It’s important to keep in mind that while reporters might not cover a story the first time you pitch to them, maintaining regular contact with them can help lead to an exclusive story down the line. That’s why building a professional network of media contacts is critical. By establishing a solid rapport with an editor, it will increase the odds that he or she will remember you the next time they’re looking for a story on a specific type of project.

Public Relations: A Resolution for 2017

 

public relations pr hausmanHiring a public relations agency is a positive, proactive step in building your brand and reaching the right audiences with your message. While most searches will start with the internet, don’t forget other sources for recommendations: professional organizations, colleagues, and even competitors will be able to offer suggestions on who to consider (and just as importantly, who to avoid). Once you’ve identified some potential PR firms to hire, it’s time to take a closer look at their qualifications:

People and practices. In a large part, you’ll be entrusting your business’ reputation to a public relations agency, so it’s key to have good chemistry with—and confidence in—its management and staff. Do some sleuthing, and check out their LinkedIn profiles and professional bios. Follow up with a face-to-face meeting, and find out who will work on your account and in what capacity.

Corporate culture. Will you be best served by working with a large PR firm, with a traditional organizational structure and resources? Or would you find a small, specialized shop that’s an upstart in the industry more in keeping with your own business style? Think about whether you want to be challenged—or complemented—by your public relations team.

Results. As with any hire, you’ll need to get and vet references for every public relations agency you are seriously considering. There are two sides to this: feedback from the firm’s current and former clients, and recognition by the PR industry. Ambitions are all well and good, but achievements are what counts.

Success Stories: Hausman Clients in the Press

While 2017 is officially upon us, before we close the books on 2016, we’d like to share some of last month’s editorial success stories. Here’s a select list of Hausman’s architectural and engineering clients in the December press.

Civil Engineering covers one of Arup‘s projects in Mexico City, Torre Reforma

Gluckman Tang‘s Extreme Model Railroad Museum in North Adams, MA made The Architect’s Newspaper

Deryl McKissack of McKissack & McKissack is profiled in Chicago Woman

SNAP (Sweets News and Products) quotes Dillon Kyle of Dillon Kyle Architects

Francis Cauffman is named to Architectural Record‘s list of top 300 architecture firms

Architecture critic Ed Gunts checks out Behnisch Architekten‘s Langsdale Library at the University of Baltimore

Healthcare Design recognizes excellence at Francis Cauffman

e-architect reviews the 2016 highpoints of Kevin Kennon Architects

W Architecture and Landscape Architecture and ROGERS PARTNERS Architects+Urban Designers are featured in Oculus magazine

Medical Dealer taps Francis Cauffman for insight on technology for radiology departments in hospitals

Four Resolutions for PR Professionals

PR for the New Year

Here we are: At the eve of a new year, ready for a new perspective and new business opportunities. We’d like to share are a few thoughts to help PR pros stay at the top of their game in 2017:

Become a better listener. While taking the lead in discussions and meetings with clients is often expected, if you don’t listen carefully to what your clients say, you run the risk of missing a valuable chance to help them achieve their goals. Listening is the ultimate act of caring and the key component in effective communications.

Do your homework. Before contacting a potential client, compile research about their achievements, challenges, ambitions, and pain points. Then use this information to tailor a strategic plan for ways your firm can constructively work with them.

Remember long-term relationships. Pursuing new business is an exciting and time-intensive effort, but make sure that you don’t inadvertently shortchange your existing clients. Making an extra effort to nurture established relationships can pay off in unexpected ways.

Get out in the field. It’s important to stay in touch with your target industries and know what’s shaping them. Attending or exhibiting at a trade show can be an efficient way to do that, and offers the bonus of meeting motivated and qualified prospects in one location.

Gift Guide By and For Architects

hausman gift guide

Architecture and design journalists always have a great eye for gifts. Continuing our tradition, we’ve pulled a few of the outstanding recommendations made by our friends at our favorite magazines and websites to help with last-minute holiday shopping.

 

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The aesthetic pragmatists at Dezeen recommend the Anchor Cable by Native Union. A polygonal weight keeps the charging cable from sliding off the surface of a desk or table.

 

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Architectural Record has a wonderful reading list. We find the possibilities featured in Never Built New York to be awesome, inspiring, and sometimes bizarre.

 

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Boulding Blocks by Denver-based artist Mark Boulding caught the attention of the editors at Architect magazine.

 

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Bob Borson, who writes the Life of an Architect blog, puts this subdued Everlane travel bag on his wish list.

 

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Grab your grey-scale pencils and markers and chill out with ArchDaily’s pick: a Brutalist coloring book. [Stay within the lines.]

 

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The team at The New York Times’ ever-stylish T magazine scoped out a Merimekko-designed serving dish.

 

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The Architect’s Newspaper features a collection of terrazzo geometric forms. Fabricated by Besler & Sons, the weighty objects can be used as doorstops, bookends, paperweights, or small-scale sculptures.

End-of-Year Top Tips for PR Professionals

top tips pr professional

Holiday parties and celebrations notwithstanding, the last half of December can seem pretty quiet as many clients wind down their newsworthy activities, putting the bulk of new business on temporary hold until January. PR pros can take advantage of this respite to lay the groundwork for a successful new year. Here are four tips on ways to make this momentary lull more productive:

1. Update your media list. You’re sending out holiday cards anyway (you are, aren’t you?), so it’s a logical time to make sure your directory of contacts is accurate. If there are new names on publication mastheads, write a short note introducing yourself and your clients, making sure to position your firm as a resource.

2. Remember that deadlines know no season, and the December slow-down can make a journalist’s job more difficult as sources and stories are in short supply. Capitalize on this by following up with editors and writers who might have more time to review your pitches during these weeks.

3. Review 2017 editorial calendars and note any opportunities for strategic story placements.

4. Develop a press release or a blog post that summarizes industry trends, using your clients’ achievements and expertise as examples. This will provide searchable content for journalists working on classic “year-in-review” stories.

Success Stories: Hausman Clients in the Press

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 4.02.40 PMAs we hurtle towards the holidays, we pause to share some of last month’s success stories: a select list of Hausman’s clients in the November press.

San Francisco Business Times tours one of the most resilient tall buildings on the West Coast, featuring innovative seismic design by Arup

AGORA, a new cancer research center designed by Behnisch Architekten has broken ground; Inhabitat reports

Francis Cauffman wins award from the American Institute of Architects New Jersey chapter for its Biotrial North American headquarters project

PaperCity highlights a residence by Dillon Kyle Architects on this year’s AIA Houston Home Tour

Gluckman Tang‘s design for the expansion of the Museo del Prado is revealed by Dexigner

Medical Construction & Design introduces the director of healthcare projects at McKissack & McKissack

President of Joseph A. Natoli Construction named Man of the Year by the Boy Scouts of America Patriots’ Path Council

Online Visibility Not Dot Com

tld-names

For PR pros, helping clients stand out from the crowd and increasing online visibility is an everyday objective. That can be particularly challenging on the internet, where dot.com is an all-too-common denominator. Google has created an alternative to this online anonymity: top-level domains, or TLDs, that inject digital cachet into this otherwise undifferentiated realm.

There are dozens of TLDs from which to choose, from .academy to .zone. Using a Google Domain TLD can enhance brand identity, instantly conveying the nature of a business and better communicating the value of the website. They can also be employed on a temporary basis, for specific marketing and promotional purposes. For example, a company staging a contest targeting its social media followers might create a website with .social as the TDL for the duration of the event.

Annual registration fees for the TLDs vary. Twenty bucks secures a year of .studio; for $30, choose from .builders, .construction, .contractors; .engineering costs $50. Interestingly, .design ($40/year) has a limited lifespan, with a maximum of nine years of registration.

When it comes to search rankings, TLDs with these descriptive endings are not treated any differently than the conventional .com, .org, or .net. They come up in searches just like any other domain name. And it’s possible to seamlessly redirect an old domain name to a new TLD—this ensures there won’t be any lost traffic to a site.

Customized top-level domains offer a simple, efficient way to boost the visibility of a website and reinvigorate a brand. Who wouldn’t want to be dot.cool rather than dot.com?

Food for Thought

Happy Thanksgiving! From all of us at Hausman, here’s a little levity as we prepare to pull up to the table: From the ridiculous to the slightly-less-than-sublime, enjoy this portfolio of creations that combine two of our favorite things—architecture and food.

 

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vitra-house-herzdemeur

Some years back, Herzog & deMeuron’s VitraHaus was rendered in gingerbread for the furniture manufacturer’s holiday card. High quality Swiss construction is evident in the icing and cleanly cut elevations.

 

bompas-jellyCastle Drogo was built in 1930 to a design by Edwin Lutyens. Bompas & Parr, a London-based studio dedicated to flavor-based experience design, architectural installations, and contemporary food, scanned and digitized the stately building, then cast it in Jello.

 

kia-cakesDesigner Kia Utzon-Frank has created a cluster of conical cakes that could pass for stone sculptures. The treats are wrapped in fondant that’s been printed with a marble pattern.

 

solariumArtist William Lamson was commissioned by Storm King Art Center to make Solarium. Each of the 162 panels is made of melted sugar that is sealed between two panes of glass. The space functions as both an experimental greenhouse, sheltering three species of miniature citrus trees, and a meditative environment.

 

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snack5The holiday weekend is a binge-fest for football fans, with a multitude of games scheduled. The framing for these snack-stadia often incorporates cardboard magazine file boxes (for the banked grandstands) and sheet pans underpinning the field, while aluminum foil is the moisture barrier of choice. Guacamole is a near universal pick for the turf, although in a burst of verisimilitude, some ‘designers’ opt to use green salad for this element.

 

canstructionStarted by a group of New York architects and engineers in 1992, Canstruction is a nation-wide food drive with a twist. Designers are invited to create sculpture/structures made out of full cans of food; after a public exhibition, the food is donated to community organizations for distribution. On average, each work of art comprises more than 2,000 cans.

 

Should you want to tackle such curious projects yourself, we’ve unearthed a few books that might come in handy:

designers-cookbookThe Designer’s Cookbook · 12 Colors, 12 Menus

Divided into twelve color-based chapters, the recipes range from saffron lemon ravioli to melon soup to blueberry tartlets, all arranged in four-course meals of two starters, one main course, one dessert, and three drinks.

 

coolhausCoolHaus

With apologies to Rem, this manual for custom-built ice cream sandwiches—with names like Mies Vanilla Rohe, Norman Bananas Foster, and Frank Berry—is written by the team behind the successful fleet of food trucks that roam the streets of New York, LA, and Dallas.

 

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Modern Art Desserts

Bakers who are bored by bundts may welcome by the step-by-step instructions on creating desserts inspired by works by Warhol, Kahlo, Mondrian, Lichtenstein, and more.

 

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Food Designing

Marti Guixe is a food designer based in Barcelona. The author of several books, he views food as an edible designed product, an object that negates any reference to cooking, tradition and gastronomy.

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