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Brilliant Marketing Strategies for Architects

le bossman


southwestNET: Jones Studio, Inc.
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Who are the designers and architects that shape our built landscape? How do you hire an architect? What is an architect's responsibility to their client, and to the public? What do architects dream, and how do those dreams get brought down to earth? In order to answer these questions””and to make transparent the way architects work together and how an idea moves from a sketch to a finished building””the entire Jones Studio staff is moving into SMoCA's galleries. The displaced office will host client and builder meetings; post working drawings for current projects; brainstorm design ideas for future projects; hold student critiques; and entertain questions from the visiting audience about issues at the heart of current architectural practice.
Studio Principal Eddie Jones is interested in creating “architecture to raise the human spirit.” Over the past twenty-five years, the staff of Jones Studio, Inc., has created dozens of elegant modernist buildings that address client needs while giving them unexpected experiences through common materials, uncommon sculptural forms and luminous spaces.

Founded in 1979 by Oklahoma-native Eddie Jones, who was joined by his brother Neal (an architect and the office business manager) in 1987, Jones Studio, Inc. projects range from single family residences created on a tight budget, such as the 1979 Tathum house in central Phoenix, to high traffic buildings with complex programmatic needs, such as Arizona State University's Lattie Coor building, 2003. These projects reflect the Studio's ethos: to create humane buildings that enliven the individual and the polity through a dynamic process of creation.

southwestNET: Jones Studio, Inc., is part of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art's on-going programming that explores issues in contemporary architecture and design. By exposing themselves to the gallery-going public, the architects and designers of the studio hope to challenge the way in which we understand the traditional architectural show; make transparent how design happens; the influence of climate, client demand, monetary restrictions and team in-put on the form a building takes; and allow public discussion of works-in-progress.

http://www.smoca.org/exhibit.php?id=126

does anyone else want to be sick?

discuss...

 
Aug 22, 06 2:02 pm
liberty bell

Actually I really *do* think it's brilliant!

Honestly, it's an interesting experiment, it reminds me of a Janine Antoni piece, Slumber:



in which she slept in the museum at night, and had a machine recording her brain waves while she dreamt, then spent the next day weaving that pattern into a blanket the next morning. The Jones Studio thing has the same self-concious occupation of a traditionally forbidden space, but with a more helpful angle: they are trying to actually make the workings of the design studio transparent.

I think it's a lovely idea, and perfect for the space at SMOCA. And how fun for the office to get to work in a new environemt for awhile, and maybe interract with people, so different from the daily routine!

Sorry, bossman, you know I adore you, but I do think this is a fun idea!

Aug 22, 06 2:47 pm  · 
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4arch

I think it would be brilliant for some architect to adopt the "HEAD-ON! Apply directly to the forehead" approach.

Aug 22, 06 2:50 pm  · 
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swisscardlite

i've actually visited the exhibition and talked to the principal architect there. i think it's a good way to gain public awareness on architects and architecture out there. the work they produce is quite good too.

Aug 22, 06 2:55 pm  · 
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AP

Not only is this a clever and brazen marketing strategy, it sounds like fun, plain and simple. it only lasts 2 months, which wouldn't be bad from the employee's standpoint (I could imagine it getting old after a bit, but 2 months isn't bad)...

...it seems like a great way to engage the [museum-going] community...make them interested or at least aware...illuminate the inner-workings of a design studio...

ya, that's my reaction (similar to lb's)...there may be some things that I'm overlooking, but at a glance, it sounds pretty neato.

Aug 22, 06 2:57 pm  · 
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AP

oh ya, justin reminded me - I've seen Eddie Jones lecture, and he seems a good candidate for this sort of thing - he seemed easy going, intelligent without pretense, the work was nice ...

I could imagine an exhibition like this going horrible if a different type of architect was on display.

Aug 22, 06 3:01 pm  · 
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le bossman

the interesting thing is that it takes place in will bruder's building. apparently jones and bruder have a sort of distaste for each other (which would sort of go without saying). hmmm...i wonder what bruder thinks. or other architects in the valley for that matter.

Aug 22, 06 3:08 pm  · 
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i don't know this should be in confessions thread, but i seriously consider from time to time, to have a flyer distributed door to door offering architectural services to property owners in white middle class neighborhoods where the chances of a potential client calling me is higher.
would that make me ethically a disgusting and thrashy low grade architect?
sometimes i have to think about this type of effective promotional ideas when the rent is due next day and stuff.

Aug 22, 06 3:13 pm  · 
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Dapper Napper

Brilliant. Simply, brilliant.

Aug 22, 06 3:18 pm  · 
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le bossman

i don't think there's anything wrong with promoting yourself, marketing is essential to any practice. i just think jones' strategy goes beyond a dialogue between architecture practice and the general public. the general public doesn't even visit the smoca. this seems to me to be a way for an architect to court the wealthy, educated patrons of modern design that are advantageous to his practice. i'm not saying its wrong, but it doesn't strike me as completely educational. if asu's architecture school did a similar exhibit, i think it might be different.

Aug 22, 06 3:22 pm  · 
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liberty bell

Orhan, I honestly believe a lot of middle-class people are scared of architects because we seem so hip and cooler-than-thou and intellectual and whatnot not to mention expensive. Distributing a flyer is a down-to-earth contact method, though I don't know how effective it would be, ethically I see nothing wrong with it. Someone may think their little kitchen renovation or bedroom addition or even just selecting a new tile for the bathroom is too small a job to contact a real-life architect for, but that's how one builds a network of happy clients, is by making some happy, right? and to make someone happy you have to meet them first.

As long as the flyer is graphically well-done, of course.

There was an article in Arch Record or maybe PA back when I worked in Portland, so that would be sometime between 1990-94, that profiled a young architect who had done exactly this in the historic neighborhoods of Portland. I remember because my DeCon friend was scoffing so much at such a lowly method of getting work - as he sat alone in his loft doing competitions and bitching that no one would give him a chance because he was just too advanced for the provinical tastes of PDX. Sigh.

Aug 22, 06 3:27 pm  · 
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le bossman

yeah, but lb, do you think that these middle-class people who are scared of architecture would ever even think to visit the smoca anyway?my firm actually advertises in the local newspapers, basically because we design, build and sell our own houses.

Aug 22, 06 3:29 pm  · 
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liberty bell

bossman, my esperience of SMOCA is that it's pretty accessible, largely due to Bruder's stripped-down design, of course. If this were to happen in a school, wouldn't it just ring of elite academia, whereas art museums all over the country are trying to make their missions more understandable and accessible to a non-art-world public?

I mean I see your point, but I also dispute it, in part. Of course it's good for Jones to meet museum patrons with a refined viual aesthetic taste, but isn't that what we all want? And believe me, there will be groups of retired tourists and school kids running through that place too, I'll bet...

Aug 22, 06 3:30 pm  · 
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Chili Davis

I'm gonna post a sheet of paper at Home Depot, the kind where people can rip my number off the bottom and call me! I'll spend the rest of my life doing decks and patios for middle-aged men with no clue.

Aug 22, 06 3:31 pm  · 
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liberty bell

Also, I don't necessarily think people have to actually *visit* the museum for it to be an effective promotion of architecture in general (not just Jone's studio), I think people just have to talk about the fact that this event is happening.

Aug 22, 06 3:32 pm  · 
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liberty bell

Chili, if you make him happy, at least one of those retired clueless deck clients will be talking to their dentist one day and will pass your name along when the dentist mentions that he's thinking of building a big new lake house but doesn't know any good architects. That's how networking works.

Aug 22, 06 3:33 pm  · 
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liberty bell

Dammit now I'm getting all worked up and I really need to get these drawings to the printer today...

Aug 22, 06 3:34 pm  · 
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BLK

LOVE - an Austrian architecture [ http://www.love-home.com/ ]- says, they created a brand,
and a cool marketing strategy, target group oriented solutions, benchmarking (donno what it really means) etc.

after getting to a respected level as architects, they started learning marketing.

but i don't know how well it works.

Aug 22, 06 3:35 pm  · 
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Chili Davis

I'll make sure I hand out lots of business cards.

Aug 22, 06 3:35 pm  · 
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BLK

I always thought that business cards are to comercial like for architects.

writing your name and phone number on a peace of paper with the cool architect handwrite is much elite like, or with attitude.

Aug 22, 06 3:38 pm  · 
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Chili Davis

Maybe I'll have hundreds of hand-written business cards made, with a picture of Fallingwater on the front!

Aug 22, 06 3:42 pm  · 
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liberty bell

Hahaha, BLK - My partner and I still don't have our firm identity done, so I've been handing out his business cards, but with my name and phone number handwritten on the back, in cool architect handwriting of course!

Most important: I carry a roll of drawings with me everywhere I go. Best marketing accessory ever.

Aug 22, 06 3:55 pm  · 
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llll

architect for hire

Aug 22, 06 3:59 pm  · 
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liberty bell

So here is a marketing strategy I remember vividly 15 years later, even though I sadly can't recall which company did it. An architect I used to work with went to the MTV video awards show one year, and brought the program back to the office for us youngsters to ogle over. It was graphically gorgeous, of course: practically a book, at least 10x15 format, bound, slick and intense, and every advertiser had gone all-out to showcase a new graphic designer's talent for their ad. Except one, and I want to say it was maybe Sony who did it: in the midst of this very loud booklet, there was an empty white page that said in a block of black text near the bottom "This year we have donated our annual MTV program ad development budget to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Sony"

Self-serving, of course, but it still made an impression on me, as well as teaching me something about both how to distinguish oneself, and how much money is involved in advertising in this world.

Aug 22, 06 4:02 pm  · 
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i was thinking of something in these lines.;)
of course i'd be making grafically better than most flyers but messege would have below idea behind it, telling what architect does. please feel free to revise and add.


Dear Homeowner,

Besides your family, your home is probably the most valuable asset you have.

If you are thinking about remodeling, adding and improving your home, you can not afford to do it without the services of a licensed architect. And here is why.

This is what we do:

We meet with you to review your needs and wishes regarding the remodeling project you are about to start. Whether it is a simple paint job, adding windows, kitchen remodel, living room enlargement, second story addition, a new house or simply checking the possibilities, you would find the services of a licensed architect is invaluable before you pound a nail.

An architect is a well educated person who's ultimate duty to the public is to protect the health, walfare and safety of the consumer as defined by state and federal laws.

An architect is also an experienced designer who plans buildings with outmost professional guidelines safety and comfort, protecting the interests of the owners, meeting their requirements on budget and delivering a healthy and aesthetically pleasing building design.

Surveys show that most people who choose to work with architects ultimetly get a better quality construction with art of architecture integrated while meeting all thye local and state building codes and requirements, leaving no room for guess work and cutting out the waiting time for building department approvals, which in turn costs money.

Architect can save you money on most projects by analysing your budget and custom tailoring it to your requirements and needs.

Architect can eliminate a lot of hidden costs on your project by spelling out all the specifications before a bid is obtained from a builder.

Architect can be your representative protecting your interests during the construction controlling any extras that pop up during the construction and drive the project out of bounds and causing most unpleasant experience for you the homeowner.

We are are licensed architects with years of experience in commercial and residential design and would love to meet with you at no cost, if you are considering to improve the conditions of your house and perhaps ready to take on a building project.

Also refer to http://www.cab.ca.gov/ for additional information about hiring an architect and what an architect do for you.

Please call us ;

....................................

......................................

insert some pictures here etc...

Aug 22, 06 4:48 pm  · 
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A

Orhan - your marketing speech sounds like an extended version of the AIA radio ads for hiring architects. While very informative, people make decisions on impulse. I'll use the auto industry as an example.

Right now all the marketing GM and Ford do about how reliable and efficient their cars are doesn't help them boost sales one bit. People still consider the Japanese brands fuel efficient and high quality, even when the gap is far less than it has been in years past. Meanwhile GM and Ford languish because marketing alone cannot change public perception.

Point is, the public will not realize all the great things an architect can do through some mailbox filler marketing. I think a more effective marketing would be a flashy ad that plays on the impulse purchase. Glossy photos, high tech renderings....anything to get someone to say "I waaant thaaat." I think Kohler has some quite good TV ads showing off their high end plumbing fixtures. Everyone sees that infinity tub and says cool. Several of my friends have asked if I knew how expensive that thing was.

Now if you want the public to know all the stuff you mention about the value added service an architect can provide it's going to take a lot of work. Back to the car analogy, all architects have to do good work for the common Joe and create a word of mouth. Everyone knows how crappy contractors are. Well, like that '84 Buick that got traded in on a new Toyota, make them trade their contractor in on an Architect. That takes years. People need to see their neighbors have good work done by architects while their own work is mishandled by a contractor w/out supervision by an architect. Now that's something marketing cannot buy.

Aug 22, 06 5:31 pm  · 
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broccolijet

Orhan -- I can't speak from a peer architect's perspective (yet), but as a homeowner and potential customer, I think your flyer is honest and informative. It's to-the-point and focuses on how your participation directly impacts me as the client.

Mentioning the state guidelines is a good touch...it implies compliance with state regulations and that your firm is trustworthy.

Assuming your visuals met up with my aesthetic, I would definitely make an investigative phone call if I were in the market for your firm's services.

Also, even if it doesn't result in a commission, you've informed a potential future client and perhaps cleared up any misconceptions they may have had about what architects do.

Aug 22, 06 5:46 pm  · 
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broccolijet

Didn't catch A's comment until after I had posted, but I think our difference of opinion merely reflects how different personalities respond to different marketing approaches.

Aug 22, 06 5:54 pm  · 
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postal

orhan, i believe one of the startups interviewed on archinect did exactly that thing... dropped postcards in mailboxes.

Aug 22, 06 6:41 pm  · 
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b3tadine[sutures]

orhan, no worries, i'll confess something i did to promote myself and it actually got me a client - although later they balked because my fee was too high for them. i went to a local bookstore and jammed my card into issues of a particular "trendy" "home" magazine and a more respected urban/design/journal. my thought was i'll stick this facing projects i thought were interesting and perhaps like minded civilians would purchase them and see my card and make the connection...it worked. i should be ashamed, but i thought it was a stroke of genius, and free to boot.

Aug 22, 06 7:39 pm  · 
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thanks for the feedback. i wrote that in an impulse and i think the idea came out clear. i am seriously considering it now.
i am just too burned out on waiting people to call me based on the few clients' recommendations. i've stopped going to parties specially art & architecture openings a while ago. i don't want to be hired by friends either. i was published once in new york times home edition which was edited by julie iovine, and once in la times years ago but nothing came out and i quickly was forgatten, i should have capitalize on those immedietly but i wasn't set up mentally and professionally.
i don't have a way of talking buddy buddy with rich people and each time i open my mouth they get suspicious of me and think i am a trouble maker. they love talking to me but god forbid they wouldn't like to hire me as their architect because they get the impression that i can't be pushed around and ordered to do impulse requirement stuff. i don't go to parties to shmooze but get plastered, now that i don't even drink, i don't even go period.
so, i decide to advertise myself to the common men who are thinking of starting modest projects with their modest budgets which i am pretty good of working with.
most of the projects i would be interested, usually goes to trade tech graduates and imitation modern trend followers who usually title their drawings as residential designers associates, bla bla studio design and drafting and such. they have a steady income and tons of projects, i don't. and, on top of it, i have to look at their brass beveled glass period lamps and designer series oval beveled glass entrance doors and sometimes super overdone modern all clearglass living rooms bordering vulgarity while i am thinking how to come up with rent. never mind the education, experience and the hard to obtain license.
also, because of my name, i have to be twice the convincing and trustworthy to be considered.
yes, the silent discrimination does exist, even though there are some exceptions with super rich middle eastern kids out there doing harriri and harriri gigs.
shit. talking about rant. see superdud? stuff keeps going and going. yea i want to quit too.
but flyers? yeees thats my next gig.

Aug 22, 06 7:42 pm  · 
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LostInSpace

I wanna go work for this Jones character right now! I want to be in an exhibit and ogled. Sweet!

I wonder if the Moma wold be willing to try this with my firm - ah, never mind, it'd get too messy, too many drunks.

But I do think this is a great idea for social interaction - although I wonder if it might just mustify the general populace even more, like "wow, architects are so cool they get to be on display - their lives ARE art." Not sure about that message, might be a little misplaced. Anyway, I'd do it in a second.

I'm thinking illiegal posts all over the city. Hire some 15 year old kid to run around stapling your poster on every damn construction fence in the city - right on top of all the cd release posters. This is a total Tschumi idea, but more authentic and intersting if you're actually trying to get work from it. I like it...

Aug 22, 06 7:54 pm  · 
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LostInSpace

Wat about a poster that just says "HIRE AN ARCHITECT"

Aug 22, 06 7:56 pm  · 
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snooker

I think the best Marketing one can do is...well do a good job for a client and well do a second job for the same client! You know what your getting into before you even start on the second job.

Aug 22, 06 8:06 pm  · 
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LostInSpace

I'm going to start using the word mustify all the time.

Aug 22, 06 8:17 pm  · 
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dsc_arch

Orhan,

Your marketing letter is awesome. We created something similar for our web site many years ago. It helped us grow. With your permission I’d like to use it for our new marking push this winter.

The trick is hanging on and digging your well before you are thirsty http://www.harveymackay.com/tek9.asp?pg=products&specific=jnnrpop0

Part of marketing is taking an honest interest in people. Nothing starts with out a sale. It is the reason why sales people are the most paid of any profession out there. Selling is hard work. Don’t give up!


Aug 22, 06 10:22 pm  · 
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dsc_arch

lb,

The first thing we did was design our card. It has had some minor tweaks over the years but it is very memorable. It is jet black on photo paper. Everyone knows what it looks like and it is always a pleasure to see it in our client’s wallets or on their desks. Everyone from the JC’s up get a card. You’d be amazed how that little sucker gets around. I just received a call from the son of a prospect I have been working on for 7 years. His dad still had the card.

Back on basic marketing…
Don’t forget you have to give before you take. I have been involved with the local chamber of commerce for years. In fact I have a nice function to go to tomorrow. It takes about one evening per month. Over that time I have had only two to three clients that came out of it, yet my network of contacts is now over 1,000 strong. As an added bonus I’ve met most of the local officials throughout the area we work in on a social basis. It defiantly helps when you are asking for a variance or trying to get that permit through the process faster.

Aug 22, 06 10:32 pm  · 
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thanks for the feedback dsc_arch, i really value your business know how and guidance. i wish i had people like yourself around me when i was just a architecture school graduated puppy. and, of course feel free to use my letter however you see fit.
my problem is not meeting enough people who would need the services of an architect. i know a lot of people but they all have done their house themselves or know at least five or six architects besides me. as you know los angeles is full of architects. the clients i have now, are all through the happy clients who recommended me for their friends and relatives. i am still learning to be a salesman, but i usually get the project if i get a call. but my phone rings very rarely or lets say not enough.
well anyway, i am doing all i can to get more projects that i am qualified for and things are better than last year. i have just started to entertain promotional ideas and i know i have to start from the common ones since i can't afford a pr person.


Aug 22, 06 11:27 pm  · 
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vado retro

wear your architecture sucks tee shirt. i am sure that will get a lot of people to hire you!

Aug 22, 06 11:51 pm  · 
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scarface

Posing shoulder to shoulder with Brad Pitt.

"Stud Architects"

Aug 23, 06 8:07 am  · 
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le bossman

lb i wasn't saying that i would do such a thing in academia. my point is, right or wrong, this is not critical thinking. i don't think it is a dialogue between professional architects and the general public because it only involves one firm. yes, architects want to get those kinds of clients, but that is not exactly such a dialogue. can you admit to me, at least, that this is shameless self-promotion? i'm not against it per se, but it doesn't exactly ring through as art to me. the only reason i mentioned a university was because i felt that that was one institution that theoretically does have education as its number one agenda, not self-promotion. i think we really disagree on this, which is entertaining. i don't see any connection with the art exhibition you posted. granted one could argue that the promotion of artists by a museum is a form of "marketing," although i would argue otherwise. i think architecture does belong in museums, but i feel that this firm in particular practicing in this particular way in this environment is a bit suspect.

Aug 23, 06 10:20 am  · 
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liberty bell

I totally agree that it is shameless self-promotion (is there any other kind?) and not a critical exhibition. Jones Studio really wouldn't be doing it if it didn't benefit them in some way. I agree that it is not critical thinking. And it definitely doesn't exist for me as an "art" exhibit.

I think of it as a fun summer diversion for the firm that *might* net them some future clients, and might be entertaining fun for summer art museum visitors. And it might also bring the notion af architecture as a discipline/profession into public discourse, which is always good.

A bigger more rigorous dicussion could form around whether architecture belongs in art museums, as you assert, but I'm not ready to go into that discussion this morning.

Aug 23, 06 10:27 am  · 
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critical, shameless. or otherwise, it might take some mystery out of and correct some misconceptions about how we spend our day.

Aug 23, 06 10:40 am  · 
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le bossman

why not? i have too much work to do, whats your excuse?

Aug 23, 06 11:38 am  · 
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vado retro

if your office was "on exhibition" at a museum, do you really think that you would act in the same manner as your usual office environment? would you surf archinect less? would you make fewer personal phone calls? would you dress differently? would you sling more shit than usual? perception of an architecture office would be more skewed than eva!!!

Aug 23, 06 12:21 pm  · 
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le bossman

ah, that is an interesting point mr. retro

Aug 23, 06 1:03 pm  · 
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le bossman

see lb, i think what we are getting at here is that this is a bad idea

Aug 23, 06 1:03 pm  · 
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vado retro

i never said it was a bad idea. a misconception of what i do is much more interesting than what i actually do.

Aug 23, 06 1:21 pm  · 
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A

broccolijet - yes, different personalities react differently to marketing techniques. In college I took quite an extensive number of courses on business marketing and eventually got a minor in the subject matter. I remember studying several cases where most people buy on impulse, no matter what the purchase. Autos were my example because they are large purchases that rarely make muce sense. For example the SUV for someone who commutes to and from a desk job in the city never leaving the paved road. Homes are the same way. How many people buy a house based on the vaulted ceiling, theater room, pool, jacuzzi tub, master suite? Most people only second hand consider the important stuff like the age of roof, quality of furnace, windows, structure. The only rational decision most make in home purchases is school district and location. Don't get me wrong. Straight forward, rational thought marketing does work, just hasn't proved itself across the masses.

Another thing to consider is where our differing opinions come from. I come from mostly a large corporate firm culture where our local and national exposure is already a known commodity. Conversely, the small firm needs to educate a less architecture savvy public/client. A situation where the more established firm can concentrate more on selling design while the smaller guy sells services & design. Thoughts?

Aug 23, 06 1:35 pm  · 
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A

So, Vado is saying that a TV show featuring architects would be a misconception of what we do?

Aug 23, 06 1:40 pm  · 
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