The New York Times runs a regular story/blog called "You're The Boss," with case studies of small businesses all over the country. Last week's You're The Boss focused on a gourmet food and wine shop, but I found some of its lessons to be relevant to architecture firms, too.
For example, Ari Weinzweig, a founding partner of Zingerman's in Ann Arbor, Mich., told the story's writer, John Grossman, "I'd also consider things that don't generate income directly, but that bring people to their business and get them to think about the store." I think this advice is equally applicable to architects, particularly ones who have great-looking offices that they want to show off.
I know many architects who are doing this already. For the second year in a row, Michael Ryan Architects, of Philadelphia and Loveladies, N.J., has worked with Philadelphia's Bridgette Mayer Gallery to create a summer pop-up art gallery at its studio in Loveladies, a popular beach town. (Photo of last year's pop-up above.) What a smart and fun way to get their name out. Minarc in Santa Monica, Calif., also has had an art gallery as part of its office space. And Locus Architecture in Minneapolis hosts talks by local creatives and entrepreneurs.
Even though these activities aren't directly related to architecture, they still serve to familiarize people with a firm, which can only help marketing efforts. Check out Grossman's piece and see if any of its suggestions sound like good ideas for your company.--M.D.