Hello, I’m Su Butcher and I’m going to share some thoughts with you about my experiences working with architects and how our successes might help you. You’ll note that every slide has blue writing on it which is clickable.
Lets start by listening. 11/21/11 View online at http://slideshare.net/subutcher - Online version has notes and clickable links The changing Face of Specification and Selection - CIMCIG 22nd September 2011
A few months ago I ran an exercise to monitor the online conversations about a particular building project for a large architect. This graph shows the trends in mention of key phrases about the project over 30 days. Range of channels Mainstream news items are the Red but you can also see the blog posts about the project, several huge spikes on twitter and in the background, forum posts and comments, including on linkedin. We know that people are talking about us and the things we care about. We know that we need to be part of that conversation, but what do we do about it? How do we get started? The changing Face of Specification and Selection - CIMCIG 22nd September 2011 11/21/11 View online at http://slideshare.net/subutcher - Online version has notes and clickable links
I’ve been working with architects managing their practices for 14 years For the last 5 I’ve been at Barefoot & Gilles, a small firm who work all over East Anglia.
There are around 6000 architects firms in the UK, around half of them are chartered, and they are almost all small micro businesses - that is fewer than 10 people. RIBA surveys C practices for staff nos. 80% fewer than 10 staff 60% fewer than 5 staff. In this situation its very difficult to get noticed, and you’re unlikely to have a budget for marketing and lead generation, so you have to use your initiative. The changing Face of Specification and Selection - CIMCIG 22nd September 2011 11/21/11 View online at http://slideshare.net/subutcher - Online version has notes and clickable links
All the more so when the flow of work is going to dry up and if you’re in the least savvy you spot this back in 2007/8. So, no budget for marketing, but no work. Whats the most important thing you can do? Make sure everyone knows that we’re here. 11/21/11 View online at http://slideshare.net/subutcher - Online version has notes and clickable links The changing Face of Specification and Selection - CIMCIG 22nd September 2011
We’re still here, and we are here to help. Here for our known network Here for our Customers Here for the wider public I’m going to show you some of the things we’ve done in the last five years to ensure that we didn’t only make sure people knew who we were, but also what we did, why we are great, and how to get in touch with us. Lets look at our network first.
How do you find people? Is this how you get the majority of your business? No, me neither. What gets you work is your real life contacts.
How many of you do business on the golf course? We do too. Who differentiates YOU? – the people in your network. Your advocates. Here’s an example: Golfer A: My architect designed my development project but it isn’t viable. Golfer B: Doesn’t happen with my architect. Give him a ring - here’s his number, his name is Peter Wells. What does the person do next – call?
These days, before you pick up the phone, you might just be tempted to check them out online
Notice that we’re talking about an individual here If they have a properly prepared profile on Linkedin, this is what happens next.
Because Linkedin is so big and public profiles are indexed by google, its the best way to be found by google, which is where everyone looks. There are 2500 people called Peter Wells on Linkedin, but if you search Google for our Peter Wells you’ll find him first, because we optimised his profile for google. This listing appeared 24 hours after we optimised his profile – its now right at the top.
This is what you see if you click through. Tells a visitor everything they want to know about Peter. Is this the right Peter Wells? What does he do? What (and whom) do I have in common with him? How do I get in touch or find out more? If your people do business with people, they’ll be searching for them online. Make sure they are found in the way you want. Linkedin can make this happen.
When you join Linkedin you are asked to enter your career history – what you do, where you have been and where you want to go. As we’ve seen, this profile helps people find you and know who you are.
Linkedin then asks you who you know (enter names or upload email addresses, it tells you who is using Linkedin). You will be surprised.
Connect to the people you know and then they can see each other. They find out they have you in common.
And you can see their contacts too.
In fact you can see their contacts contacts – three levels of separation.
Also, because no. 2 is a trusted contact of my trusted contact no.1, I can check him out with confidence, and perhaps be introduced.
He becomes my contact too, and I can see his contacts contacts. This is how we build a network online. It is important to remember that each of these nodes is a professional, known to those who know you. Why connect like this? Because linkedin makes connections VISIBLE
At 2 nd level – the people my connections know directly. This means that you can look people up and find out if someone you know, knows them.
Lets move on from our known network to a wider group of clients. Let me tell you a story.
One of our favourite stories at Barefoot and Gilles is used to illustrate this idea. A small property developer (lets call him Dave) approached us with a one acre site which planning permission for flats. But it was June 2008 and having foresight Dave knew he couldn’t build out the flats and hope to sell them in the summer of 2009. So he managed the risk and approached Barefoot & Gilles. Twelve weeks later Dave put the site on the market, with outline planning consent for a care home and demonstrated demand, and walked away with a profit of many hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Stories are a good example of what marketers are beginning to realise makes the internet work - Social Objects. The Social Object, in a nutshell, is the reason two people are talking to each other, as opposed to talking to somebody else. Human beings are social animals. We like to socialize. But if think about it, there needs to be a reason for it to happen in the first place. That reason, that “node” in the social network, is what we call the Social Object.
Here’s a practical example of the use of social objects. Barefoot & Gilles launched a new blog about making sustainable housing affordable – an ongoing story about GreenGauge Homes, our partnership projects in affordable housing. The blog was only a few weeks old but one of our first posts got over a hundred visits over two days. We turned some of the more popular into downloadable pdfs - useful, shareable, clickable content.
We share the content on twitter…
and people who are interested pass it on. (search keyword Sustainable Housing)
We can track the effect on each post on twitter and spot which subjects people are interested in, and this way learn to build a better relationship with our readers. The downloaded objects get shared about and we can monitorwhat works and where visitors to our site come from (including from the pdfs) As a result of the exposure we’ve had for this work, Barefoot & Gilles are now working with a housebuilder developing a new range of housetypes. (and we have also been published widely)
One of the most useful effects of sharing our information on twitter is that it attracted the attention of journalists who then interviewed us and published articles. Building Magazine published one of our releases about the project on their website - because it was topical and they were looking for a story - together with a link back to our site. This was hugely beneficial to our profiling on google.
Talking of which, it is important to realise. You don’t need to be large to be found online You just need to be specific. The changing Face of Specification and Selection - CIMCIG 22nd September 2011 11/21/11 View online at http://slideshare.net/subutcher - Online version has notes and clickable links
Chris Anderson writes about this in the Long Tail - Highly popular mass products and services (Macdonalds, Burger King) used to drown out the local specialists through their monopolising of all the advertising channels. Now with the internet you can search for a café in Ipswich and find a very specific niche venue, check out its reviews, read its blogs, ask it on twitter whether it is open on Sunday, and share the information with your friends. Google allows us to do this by finding specific informaiton related to our search terms. The changing Face of Specification and Selection - CIMCIG 22nd September 2011
In our industry this works just as well, in fact we are even more specialised, so it works to our advantage. If you search online about lead-free stringing of solar panels you’ll find this article by a scientist who works for the huge Indium Corporation as one of their 14 bloggers. We need to use accomplished technologists to generate relevant content in a language appropriate to the audience. Using terms they will search for Key elements - specific targeting of content. Useful information. Notice also on the page, the oppportunities to keep in touch and ask for more. Also notice the Share buttons. The amount of time (and money) required to generate new contacts is much more efficient than trade shows or hard copy marketing, or even cold calling. The changing Face of Specification and Selection - CIMCIG 22nd September 2011
If you don’t have a lot of products, then make sure wherever your information is listed the suppliers or directories have this kind of level of usefulness. Help your specifiers find what they need. Let them have it for free download - after all, they are your customers. If you do this they will more likely use this (I have proof) The changing Face of Specification and Selection - CIMCIG 22nd September 2011 11/21/11 View online at http://slideshare.net/subutcher - Online version has notes and clickable links
Video is equally useful - Youtube (owned by Google) is the second most used search engine online. Use simple, low cost tools to make simple, low budget video providing useful information for people searching for it. This is not a sales brochure, it’s a ‘how it works’ video.
QR codes have also become social objects. Shared, saved, passed around and commented upon. More information than you could fit on the back of your van!
And you don’t have to be huge to be helpful. Here we are helping each other across the country on Twitter The changing Face of Specification and Selection - CIMCIG 22nd September 2011 11/21/11 View online at http://slideshare.net/subutcher - Online version has notes and clickable links
Thirdly, how when amazing events happen, can we make the most of it? When you’re doing something amazing people remark upon it. They share it with others. Seth Godin wrote a book about this called ‘Purple Cow’.
When we commissioned an architectural photographer to photograph the Salthouse Harbour Hotel extension we didn’t use any photographer, we used Andy Marshall. He has an online presence followed by enthusiasts for good architecture and good photography. He stayed in the hotel, tweeted and blogged his experiences of it live during the photoshoot, sharing images, video and discussing the hotel with all the people who talked about it with us online.
Andy’s record of the Salthouse has created an online footprint that benefits him, Barefoot & Gilles and the Clients Gough Hotels. A win win win situation.
The effect of this work is that our record of the Salthouse on our website is also visible when you search online for the hotel, alongside trip advisor and the client website. People interested in the building can find out about it, and know who the architect is.
Finally an opportunity to design a childrens hospice in a wood where we rose to the occasion and used cheap or free social tools and a proactive approach to work with the client, their PR, the contractor, local newspaper and radio to aid in a fundraising appeal whilst the hospice was on site.
We made a scrapbook of articles we were finding online during our PR searching, and added to it monthly photojournals supplied by the contractors. The scrapbook blog linked back to our website, that of the contractor and, of course, to the fundraising pages of the client on their website, twitter and facebook.
As a result of our combined team effort the appeal raised the target £3m in just 10 months. UK Construciton contacts across the country agreed to be sponsored for the appeal, there were t-shirt campaigns and a huge range of initiatives, and it worked.
We’re still here, and we are here to help. Here for our known network Here for our Customers Here for the wider public And all for little or no expenditure.
Let me finish with a question. When I say the word ‘Architect’ what comes to mind? What do you think of? Here’s what I thought of when I was a student:
But it doesn’t matter what we think an architect is. We are inside the box. What matters is what the rest of the world thinks. They determine our brand.
Today the mainstream media would tell you that we are in the same position; that the architect is the tortured genius, aloof specialist pain in the arse. But we know that in the real world, that is a caricature.
Here are the first 200 architects I found using twitter. Today I’ve found over 1700 all over the world. Each one through their conversations and stories, redefining the brand ‘architect’ in their own image. Some of them are even good to work with! On their behalf, I’d like to invite you to join us.
Working with Architects - Practical Applications of Social Media
Working with Architects by @ Subutcher Red Rush by San Diego Shooter Kalzip TeamKal Conference 17 November 2011