Colonel Sanders

By John Eckhouse

I was reading this article from John and found it very interesting.  Here are a few take anyways

“Rather than focusing on social media ROI, the goals of the corporate social media team – which is managed internally – are:

1)  to connect and engage with KFC followers
2)  relationships
3)  respond to any inquiries
4)  have some fun – ex. asking questions on the KFC Facebook page, like “There’s one piece of chicken left in the bucket. What do you do?”

KFC fans are more than willing to respond, and sometimes even initiate brand interaction. Maynard said the Colonel – who passed away quite some time ago – receives marriage proposals and has been invited to weddings. While he could not make those celebrations, of course, the company sent buckets of chicken for the reception. Fans also tweet photos to the company showing off their Colonel Sanders tattoos.”

The orginal article in full is located here

A/E/C Social Media wk 3

The Value of Social Media for an Architectural Firm – WOM

By Kelly Steckel

Do you remember that commercial back in the 80’s for Wendy’s with the older ladies asking the question: “Where’s the beef?” For them, a hamburger was of little value if there wasn’t a big chunk of meat to bite their teeth into, fill their bellies and leave them feeling satisfied that they got their money’s worth.

The same can be said about investing in social media. The biggest question for an architectural firm currently is about value. I believe many architectural firms see the value for a product organization, but as discussed in previous postings, they have a hard time determining the overall value and the value of each application and are put off by the overall investment. Perhaps this is the result of a lack of knowledge and understanding of the applications and/or the long-term value that can be gained by each since it is a relatively new communication platform. And of those firms that have actually taken a bite, some are currently questioning if they have bitten off more than they can chew for the exact reasons stated above.

So, “where’s the value?” Well, the main premise behind each social media application available today is about three simple things: attracting, engaging and connecting. For those who think it is about selling or directly winning projects, then for you there is no value and you will have a hard time ever feeling satisfied.

Most architectural firms currently utilizing social media, of which tend to be larger, most often due to the investment in knowledge, man-power and time required, use the following applications: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as well as blogs on and off-site. The key to success is to utilize them all in combination with each other, creating a value called word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth is a form of PR, a form of advertising and a form of sales promotion depending on how you see and use it. It can be generated from blogs, social networking sites and online communities, and it can change your business forever. Due to the amount of information available online, and the social networking vehicles that clients use to share information, they are no longer dependent on a company to tell them about a service offering. In a study performed by McKinsey Quarterly, word-of-mouth is the only factor that ranks as one of the top three influencers within each stage of the consumers decision journey, prompting “consider(ation) of a brand in a way that incremental advertising spending simply cannot” (Bughin, Doogan, Vetvik, McKinsey Quarterly, 2010).

Though architectural services are not accustomed to advertising per se, word-of-mouth carries a great deal of impact and weight for a service organization due to the fact that potential clients are more likely to trust the opinion of a friend or a colleague over a firm’s. And as a result of social media, a potential client has more friends than ever before.  Information is distributed, repeated and more traffic is being driven to a company due to the conversation and interactions that are being had on these sites. And because clients decide who they are going to become followers of, firms can reach a very targeted audience.

Social media is a tool that aids word-of-mouth in reaching more people at a faster pace. As with other forms of PR, it helps to “turn customers into fans and employees into evangelists” (Jeffery Gitomer). Isn’t this the goal of an architectural firm? Isn’t this valuable?

The upcoming posts will discuss each application separately.





3D SketchUp in Just 3 Hours

Not sure if 3D could fit in your budget?  Here is a massing model we started in Sketchup for a client.  It took us 3 hours.  It would have taken another 15 or so minutes to add some basic windows and doors, but the architect asked us to leave those off.

Massing models are a great way to give your client a sense of space.  Bring PiXate Creative in as your in house 3D team and you don’t even have to hire someone.  Not many projects are too small to use our services.  Not everything has to be expensive.

Interested in pricing for one of your projects?  Send me an email to


A tip on Facebook Ads

Do you fall into either of these categories?

1) You advertised your business on Facebook and didn’t get any results
2) Thinking about Advertising on Facebook and don’t know where to start

Here is a quick tip that might help:  Use Location Targeting by City.  Yes it takes longer to set up an ad for each city you want to target, but your results will increase dramatically! Think about it from your customer’s perspective, if your clients live in Worcester MA which is more likely to catch your prospective clients attention:

a) All manner of Classic American & English furniture handmade in America! Custom pieces made weekly (Sent to everyone on facebook that lives in MA)
b) Attention Worcester Mass residents, We carry Classic American & English furniture handmade in Worcester! (Sent to Worcester Ma people on facebook who list “English furniture” as an interest of their’s)

This is just 1 small example for 1 particular business segment. Will this approach work with every business, no. But try and think outside the box and experiment with different ideas. If you are a business that sells products or services to consumers rather than other businesses, facebook will work. You just need to figure out what your customers will respond best to.

Blog summary,

Targeted Facebook ads get you better results, but take longer to research and set up.

inspiration – Black

These were not designed by PiXate Creative, but a source for inspiration.

“Black is not used as the main color very often in text content rich web sites. It can be used and is very popular by design related personal portfolios and photography sites, as you will see below. It allows the artwork to take center stage and be the primary focus of the viewer.” –

Interested in some more examples.  Here is our source:

A/E/C Social Media wk 2

A/e/c Industry and Social Media Marketing

Branding Strategy Translation Into Social Media Within Architectural Services
By Kelly Steckel

In the branding process, there is a phase within strategy development called discovery. During this process, questions are asked to gain perspective of the brand from those within the organization itself, the customers outside it, and the market as a whole. The research that takes place before, during, and even after implementation has occurred, is critical in determining where the company is currently, where it’s going, and how it plans on getting there.

When an architectural firm has identified a prospective client, a similar process takes place. Research is preformed on the client’s business that includes not only understanding who they are and what business they are in, but what their mission and vision is for the future, how they intend to grow, and the culture of the organization itself. Questions are asked about their current markets, and locations; their competition, organizational structure, and the financial health of the organization overall, etc. Of course this isn’t everything, but the point I’m trying to make is that in the development of strategy in general, research is conducted that raises the most simple of questions, which are usually the most difficult to answer: “Who are we?” ”Where are we going?” and “How are we going to get there?”

In the development of a social media marketing strategy, the same applies – research must be carried out, questions asked, and strategy designed. Just within the realm of social media there exists an over abundance of marketing applications to select from, ranging from blogs and microblogs such as Twitter, to social networks such as Facebook, Linkedin and video-sharing sites such as YouTube, etc., all of which can be utilized to advertise, create PR buzz, engage and develop relationships and brand your firm. What can be daunting for any marketer is perhaps even more so for those in architectural firms, because let’s face it, marketing still remains an underdeveloped aspect of the overall business strategy for many architectural firms.  This concept is even that much more ironic given the following statement by Peter Drucker (a.k.a. the father of modern management) – “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.” And aren’t architectural firms comprised of some of the greatest innovators of modern design? So why not market that talent; that vision? I suppose that would depend on if you define yourself as a business or not? If so, then when selecting various platforms for your social media strategy, it is necessary to be able to answer not only the above-mentioned questions, but also “who” you are trying to reach so that you are marketing to the right audience.

Different market sectors require different approaches due to the fact that they speak to different audiences. For example, “demand” markets such as institutional building, comprised of healthcare and education, and “opportunity” markets, such as hospitality and retail, have very different audiences. For a large firm like HOK, one the first and perhaps the most active users of social media, who services both demand and opportunity markets, the positioning and placement of their brand using social media is (and should be) far different from a firm that primarily services residential.

As in so many areas of the web, there is a growing network of architectural communities – sites created for architects and designers to showcase their work for purposes of advertising, for project hire, collaboration, recruitment, etc. ( is the perfect example of this type of open community). There is great potential to build an architectural firm’s brand and grow the business using social media – utilizing sites such as Architizer, blogging, “tweeting” on Twitter, creating fan pages on Facebook, group and profile pages on Linkedin, etc.  There is also a very real danger of diluting it if (1) there is no strategy involved in the selection of applications or platforms, (2) there are no set metrics in place to determine it’s effectiveness, or (3) they are poorly managed. My favorite management guru, Peter Drucker, once wrote, If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

A successful strategy for a service organization, particularly architectural services, requires thinking about how customers perceive your actions and how they interact with you as a company and as a brand, no matter the size, to maintain brand integrity. In order to get here, strategy must first begin with examining who you are as a company, who your clients are, what messages you want to convey, where and how, and then making sure that all marketing communications are fully integrated.



Autumn Ridge

We finished this render a while ago, but never posted this.  We did a total of 6 renders on this.  The Architect was Amara Associates, LLC in West Hartford CT.

A/E/C Social Media Marketing

A/e/c Industry and Social Media Marketing

How the marketing of an architectural firm differs from other professional services and the role of social media.
By Kelly Steckel

In 1972, restrictions were lifted on an architectural firm’s ability to market their services. To this day there still exists a limited amount of literature on the topic despite it being an essential need of an organization to generate business. One possible reason for this is that an architectural firm isn’t just providing a service like engineering or construction management, but a form of art – one that has the ability to transform our world and shape or re-shape the way we live. Walter Gropius once said, “Architecture begins where engineering ends”. I believe what he meant by that statement is similar to what David Koren was referring to in his book entitled “Architect’s Essentials of Marketing,” which he wrote in 2005 for the AIA. In it, he commented that though engineering and construction management are very closely related, that in marketing architecture “there is an opportunity to inspire and engage clients on a far deeper level than in engineering or construction or accounting or law” due to an architect’s artistic ability to compliment a client’s personal vision and inspire. Isn’t that now possible through social media?

Today we are swimming in the sea of Web 2.0 technologies, namely social media, which is comprised of wikis, widgets, blogs, micro blogs, chat, video sharing, and social networking, to name a few. McKinsey Quarterly has been conducting a study over the past four years to determine “How businesses are using Web 2.0: A McKinsey Global Survey” Amongst a response group of approximately 1,700 executives of various industries, regions and functional areas, companies reported a steady increase in their adoption of Web 2.0 based applications to interact with their customers: 45% (2007), 49% (2008), 52% (2009) and 63% (2010).

The studies also revealed that blogs and social networks were responsible for a strengthened link between the companies and their customers, having doubled in usage. These technologies were found to provide not only an economical method of connecting to customers due to the fact that most are more or less free, but also enable a company to target and tailor their searches to specific customer groups, customizing their messages to that audience. The result of those said initiatives allow companies to strengthen the relationship they have with their customers and therefore develop a deeper understanding of the needs and wants of their target market.

Robert A.M. Stern was once quoted saying that “the dialogue between client and architect is about as intimate as any conversation you can have, because when you’re talking about building a house, you’re talking about dreams”. The correlation here is that whilst an architect can be categorized as an artist or a visionary, an architectural firm is a business which has historically acquired projects/clients based on the personal relationships that they have established with their clients, the dialogue that has been generated and the trust that has been built along the way. Social media technologies such as blogs and social networks have been revealed as being responsible for strengthening these very types of relationships due to the two-way dialog they allow for. If the point is for an architectural firm to engage clients at a deeper level, and social media can allow for this dialog to potentially form into a relationship, then it can be argued that architectural firms could certainly benefit from the use of social media marketing.

It goes without saying that the social media marketing strategy for an architectural firm should differ from B2C, B2B, and other professional services including engineering and construction management companies. It should allow for that vision and artist value to be communicated. By no means am I suggesting that this is an easy task. But in today’s marketing evolution, which is filled with a multitude of platforms available to engage your clients, both present and future, one cannot afford to be passive or silent. Architectural services may be different, but like all other businesses, can benefit from social media. What will determine success is how they do it, how it’s integrated into their overall marketing strategy and how its effectiveness is measured. This, and the value of each platform will commence in following blogs.








“company website” links

I made a quick video to show you how to customize your LinkedIn “company website” links. When you have more than 1 “company website” it can be confusing to your audience trying to view the different websites under your profile. Even if you only have 1 link, a custom link looks nicer.


Chuck Sink Link

I thought you would be interested in the before and after.  Let us know what you think!