Culture Design for HRC

Culture Design for HRC

This presentation was delivered at SMPS Heartland Regional Conference in April 2024 in Indianapolis, IN.

Presentation Description
Culture isn’t something you have, it’s something you do. Join David Lecours, brand, and culture expert, to learn why Marketing needs to design your firm’s culture. Hint: attracting great clients and talent is just the beginning. Then, David will share how to proactively design a flourishing culture. This will include best practices of A/E/C firms using culture as a compelling differentiator. As Peter Drucker said, “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” YUM!

Culture
What is it?
Why does it matter?
Who (in your firm) owns it?

How to Design a Magnetic Culture
Values
Benefits
Language
Stories
Rituals
Artifacts

Slide Deck
View or download from Slideshare

Digital Culture Tools
Donut – Slack integration for team building and
Bonusly – peer-to-peer recognition and spot bonuses in a public feed
Movespring – a fitness tracker program for firm wellness

Books on Culture
The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle
Culture Built My Brand by Mark Miller & Ted Vaughn
Art’s Principles by Arthur Gensler
Remote by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath
Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull

Books on Story
What Great Salespeople Do: The Science of Selling Through Emotional Connection and the Power of Story by Mike Bosworth, Ben Zoldan
Winning the Story Wars: Why Those Who Tell the Best Stories Will Rule the Future by Jonah Sachs
The Story Factor by Annette Simmons
Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story by Peter Guber
resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Dan and Chip Heath
A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Dan Pink

Slide Deck Colophon
Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch M1
Presented using Apple Keynote software
Typography: Adobe Garamond Pro and Trade Gothic Next LT Pro
Royalty-Free Photography: Pexels.com
Wireless Slide Advancer: Keyspan Easy Presenter PR-EZ1

Thank You
All the volunteers for SMPS-HRC 2024
Emily Castillo at LecoursDesign
Gerry Jue at BAMO
Carrol Conway at Hoerr Schaudt
Tim Stone and Keith Kelly at Kelly & Stone Architects
Evan Ross at WSP
Nicole La at Teecom
Andrea Story at R&M
Beth Shimogawa at Coffman
Christy Ryan and Curtis Alling at Ascent
Grant Kirkpatrick, Duan Tran, and Joyce Lopez at KAA

Culture Design for HRC

Culture Design for SRC

This presentation was delivered at SMPS Southern Regional Conference in February 2024 in Austin, TX.

Presentation Description
Culture isn’t something you have, it’s something you do. Join David Lecours, brand, and culture expert, to learn why Marketing needs to design your firm’s culture. Hint: attracting great clients and talent is just the beginning. Then, David will share how to proactively design a flourishing culture. This will include best practices of A/E/C firms using culture as a compelling differentiator. As Peter Drucker said, “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” YUM!

Culture
What is it?
Why does it matter?
Who (in your firm) owns it?

How to Design a Magnetic Culture
Values
Systems
Language
Stories
Rituals
Artifacts

Slide Deck
View or download from Slideshare

Digital Culture Tools
Donut – Slack integration for team building and
Bonusly – peer-to-peer recognition and spot bonuses in a public feed
Movespring – a fitness tracker program for firm wellness

Books on Culture
The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle
Culture Built My Brand by Mark Miller & Ted Vaughn
Art’s Principles by Arthur Gensler
Remote by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath
Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull

Books on Story
What Great Salespeople Do: The Science of Selling Through Emotional Connection and the Power of Story by Mike Bosworth, Ben Zoldan
Winning the Story Wars: Why Those Who Tell the Best Stories Will Rule the Future by Jonah Sachs
The Story Factor by Annette Simmons
Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story by Peter Guber
resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Dan and Chip Heath
A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Dan Pink

Slide Deck Colophon
Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch M1
Presented using Apple Keynote software
Typography: Adobe Garamond Pro and Trade Gothic Next LT Pro
Royalty-Free Photography: Pexels.com
Wireless Slide Advancer: Keyspan Easy Presenter PR-EZ1

Thank You
All the volunteers for SMPS-SRC 2024
Emily Castillo at LecoursDesign
Gerry Jue at BAMO
Carrol Conway at Hoerr Schaudt
Tim Stone and Keith Kelly at Kelly & Stone Architects
Evan Ross at WSP
Nicole La at Teecom
Andrea Story at R&M
Beth Shimogawa at Coffman
Christy Ryan and Curtis Alling at Ascent
Grant Kirkpatrick, Duan Tran, and Joyce Lopez at KAA

Your Email Signature Matters to Millions

Your Email Signature Matters to Millions

You probably don’t think of your email signature as a valuable brand asset. But you should, and here’s why.

According to the Email Stats Report by the Radicati Group, the average employee sends:
36 emails per day = 10,000 emails sent per year

If your firm has 100 employees, that’s 1 million annual brand impressions. Not just random impressions, your emails arrive targeted to clients, vendors, teaming partners, and potential employees.

Consider improving email signatures across your firm beyond an obligatory formality. Email signatures are the most prolific brand touchpoint you own.

To help you, I’ll identify common email signature mistakes. Then, I’ll share how to create a powerful email signature that enhances your firm’s reputation.

Common Email Signature Mistakes

1) Inconsistency
Email signatures aren’t the place for personal expression. You don’t allow each employee to craft their own version of your logo, so don’t allow it with email signatures. All your brand touchpoints should speak in a consistent, professional voice.

Avoid a variety of fonts (unless you are writing a ransom letter)
Avoid too many colors (we love rainbows too, but not in emails)
Avoid too much variety in size, bold, and italic (if you emphasize everything, then nothing stands out)

2) Images
Avoid including company logos, social media icons, project photos, and charity logos. Images in email signatures can flag your email as “spam,” sending it directly to the Junk folder. Plus, it is annoyingly difficult for email recipients to decipher your intended attachment files from your email signature image attachments.

3) Including Your Email Address
If someone receives an email from you, by default, they now have your email address. Including it in your email signature is redundant. If they want to reply to your email, guess what, they will hit “reply” within their email software.

4) Inspiration Quotes or Sacred Spiritual Passages
Don’t impose your personal beliefs in a professional setting.

5) Legal Disclaimers
You know the ones, similar to seen on faxes circa 1989, stating “this email is only intended for the recipient…blah, blah, blah” Since these have become so banal, nobody reads them. As a result, they become ineffective within a legal setting.

 

How To Create Your Firm’s Email Signature

Be respectful of your reader’s time and visual landscape by making your email signature as concise as possible.

What you might include:
Your Name
Your Pronouns
Title (only if informative and consistent with your firm’s culture)
Firm Name
Phone Number
Website URL (only if different from your name@URL.com)
One Variable Link That Changes Monthly (recent blog post, project case study, speech, or primary social media channel)

Here is my email signature:

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
David W. Lecours
Principal | LecoursDesign
phone 760.500.8818
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Recently Designed Website:
psomas.com
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I recommend using grey, or a quiet color, to distinguish between the email signature and the body of the email. I also use the dotted lines to separate the signature from the body.

Use only keyboard elements, not images, to create typographic rules within your email signature. Typography rules, aka borders, can be created by repeating glyphs like these:
+ + + + + + + + +
>>>>>>>>>
///////////////
^^^^^^^^^
* * * * * * * * *
= = = = = = =
o o o o o o
. . . . . . . . .

For consistency across your firm, create a master template of your new email signature. Then copy and paste it into an email sent to your IT department, or each employee, for implementation. Obviously, each employee should replace your individual contact information with their own.

More more detail on How To Create an Email Signature, check out our coding partner Noble Intent’s post here.

Your Reputation is at Stake

Your firm’s reputation is the sum of all experiences a person has with your brand. Since email signatures make millions of impressions, show that you care about your reader with a simple, consistent and well crafted email signature.

True, email signatures aren’t your most glamorous brand touchpoint. But, as Orrin Woodward says, “Success is the exponential effect of little things done consistently over time.” (Just don’t use this inspirational quote in your email signature.)

AEC Firm Differentiation

AEC Firm Differentiation

Slide Deck, video and links from David Lecours’ SMPS Pacific Regional Conference closing keyote speech:

Stealing From Surf Brands for A/E/C Firm Differentiation
Surf brands and A/E/C firms compete in crowded markets. Surf brands do a great job carving out distinct brand identities to differentiate their surfboards, board shorts, and wetsuits. David Lecours, surfer and A/E/C branding consultant, will share examples of cutting edge graphic design, iconic people, founding stories, messaging, and archetypes that help surf brands and A/E/C firms stand out from the pack. You’ll return from the conference ready to shred with new techniques. Expect a wave of improvement in your SOQs, proposals, websites, presentation decks, videos and advertising.


Slide Deck

To download the slides, click the LinkedIn logo (“˜in’ square above). Within Slideshare, click “Download” button under the title.


 

Surf Brands Featured
Town & Country – https://www.tcsurf.com
Volcom – http://volcom.com/
Surf Ranch Pro – https://wslsurfranchpro.com

 


 

A/E/C Firms Featured
Rapt Studio – https://raptstudio.com
Foster & Partners – http://fosterandpartners.com/
Clark Construction – http://clarkconstruction.com/
Arcadis – http://arcadis.com/
Stantec – http://stantec.com/
LMN Architects – http://lmnarchitects.com/
Array Architects – https://array-architects.com
Populous – http://populous.com/
Murraysmith – http://www.murraysmith.us
Fanning Howey – https://fhai.com
Sellen Construction – https://www.sellen.com
Schmidt Design Group – http://kaadesigngroup.com/
TEECOM – http://teecom.com/
Lake | Flato – http://lakeflato.com/

 


 

Homework: Books & Podcast
Influence by Robert Cialdini
Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard
The Power of Moments by Dan & Chip Heath
PSM Show with David Lecours and Josh Miles – https://psm.show
PSM Show with Ryan Suydam on Client Experience – https://psm.show/127-client-experience/
PSM Show with Nicole La on Recruitment Marketing – https://psm.show/109-recruitment-marketing/

 


 

Videos Shown in Keynote
Patagonia wetsuits from plants – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6WVtLdXqDk
Lake | Flato Hotel San Jose experience – https://www.lakeflato.com/video/hotel-san-jose-transformation
Surf Ranch Pro Contest Felipe Toledo – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2-Qe2rOwT8

 


Watch the Keynote Video

LecoursDesign Goes 3 for 3 at National Awards

LecoursDesign Goes 3 for 3 at National Awards

LecoursDesign teamed with our client Murraysmith to enter three submissions for the national SMPS Marketing Communications Awards. What happened? We won all three!

Best Corporate Identity/Rebrand

Murraysmith rebrand before and after logo

Jurors said they loved the fun, engaging, impressive impact on recruitment and retention. It was comprehensive in approach and implementation. Another stated “Great job! Logo and materials look great, and the entry was very responsive.”

See More

 


Best Website

Jurors enjoyed this new site and their graphic approach “the visuals are fresh and unique”.  Great research and planning, tied nicely to strategic plan! They clearly set out to rebrand their website as a recruitment/retention tool – did a good job at each stage. Outstanding results!

View the Site

 


Best Print Recruitment and Retention Promotion

Murraysmith Core Values

One juror stated “What a great award submission – it made me want to work for MurraySmith! It’s clear that a lot of time and effort went into developing and refining each core value. And this set of coasters was a creative, perfectly executed way to help communicate your firm’s personality.

See More


View the Case Story

 

It must have been the lucky socks (that we designed).
““David Lecours

Progressive AEC Marketing: Naming Stir Architecture

Progressive AEC Marketing: Naming Stir Architecture

AEC Marketing

In terms of memorability and messaging, most A/E/C firms have terrible brand names. Firms named after founders can be problematic if difficult to say or spell, and challenging for ownership transition. Acronyms are even worse. Lost in alphabet soup, they are neither memorable or distinctive.

I chose to interview Leslie Young, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, CDP because her firm recently renamed using a metaphorical name, STIR Architecture. Having a great brand name is an indicator of progressive marketing.

Leslie Young, Stir Architecture

Tell me about your role at STIR

I am Associate Partner and Director of Strategic Development leading Marketing and Business Development. Known for both large-scale, complex mixed-use projects in the United States, Europe and Asia, as well as a boutique portfolio of adaptive reuse, institutional and transit work, STIR has offices in Los Angeles, Amsterdam, and Manila. I am one of two Associate Partners and 3 Partners who were ultimately the decision makers for the renaming of our firm.

Your firm has changed names a couple of times in its history. Why?

The firm was founded in 1984 by Ronald Altoon and James (Jim) Porter, so we started out as Altoon & Porter Architects. In 2012 when Jim left the firm, we updated our name to Altoon Partners. When Ronald left the firm in 2015, we saw an opportunity to rename the firm as something not directly tied to partner names. In 2016, we reintroduced ourselves as STIR Architecture.

Metaphorical naming typically isn’t done by AEC firms. Did you consider using partner names or adopting an acronym?

Since the firm’s founding, the intent was always to create a legacy firm with a formal ownership transition plan. The remaining partners have been at the firm for 30 years, on average. There was a little bit of “I’ve earned the right to have my name on the door” thinking, so we did initially consider the typical acronym of using the first letter of each partner’s name. But we discovered fairly quickly that DSA, ASD, DAS, ADS, SDA was not going to work for us. But mostly, we didn’t want to go through the naming process again if one of the partners leaves. We thought it was an opportunity to come up with a fresh name that better describes who we are.

Any other considerations for the new name?

Many of our newer staff had never worked with our founders, Altoon or Porter. While our values and practice hasn’t changed dramatically, we wanted to evolve the firm with a new name that everyone could embrace as their own.

Did you work with an outside consultant for the naming process? Why?

For about five seconds, we thought we could do it ourselves. But we quickly realized we needed an expert and a referee. We also had a strict deadline ““ attendance at our largest annual domestic tradeshow. We hired WOW Branding to keep us on schedule. Also, working in foreign markets, we needed their help with a name that translated well into other languages.

What Was the Naming Process?

We had conference calls with our consultant and the five decision makers. Some lasted as long as six hours. We reviewed our Mission, Core Values, and prioritized goals of the firm. The strategy has to come first. Next, our consultant presented a long list of about 50 names, which we edited down to 8-10, then ultimately 5. From these 5 finalists, they did availability research and some basic design treatment. We had two real favorites, one of which we ultimately decided could cause us intellectual property problems. Ultimately, we decided on STIR Architecture, which we are very excited about.

Stir Architecture logo

Why STIR? What Does it Mean?

We love that stir is a verb, as in “stirring things up.” We like to tackle new design challenges. Our work also “stirs” the emotions of users of our buildings. STIR refers to how we practice””complex projects with many stakeholders and multiple team members. The energy of our new name appeals to us, our staff and our clients. It is forward-focused. It reflects who we are, what we do and what people expect of us. Our name is our promise.

How Did You Communicate This New Name to the World?

We distributed press releases stating that as of April 11, 2016, our new name is STIR Architecture. These included sharing our strategy of developing the name and what the name means to us. We followed up with a direct mail promotional piece (see below) to 600 people on our mailing list. Since we didn’t have physical addresses for everyone, we supplemented the direct mailer with a 2500 person email announcement. We chose not to reference our previous name in a tagline or as a transitional device. We went all-in with STIR. We still own all our previous URLs, so if a user inputs an old website address, it will automatically redirect the user to our new site at stirarchitecture.com. We continue at every opportunity to reconfirm our brand through direct mail, social media, press releases, advertisements, etc. Consistent reinforcement of our brand at every turn has been a priority.

Stir Architecture Direct Mail

What Advice Would You Give To Other Firms That Are Considering a Name Change?

Give yourself time. On one hand, it was good that we had a strict deadline to get the name done by, but it caused a lot of stress. Keep in mind that getting the name done is really just the beginning. Then you have to develop a new logo, visual branding tools, marketing collateral, and website. Also, having a formal program in place to keep reinforcing the brand moving forward is key.

In general, I recommend other firms dream big, be bold. As long as you are consistent in continuing what has been successful for the firm in the past, clients will continue to follow you.

Conclusion

In start-up mode, most firms, unfortunately, put little thought into the firm name. The sole focus is bringing in any project that pays the bills. Moving out of childhood and into adolescence, firms should start to think and act for themselves, developing a distinct point-of-view. If not done previously, this is the time to develop a distinct brand name that reflects where the firm is headed, not where you’ve been. Renaming isn’t easy””few things of value in life are easy. As Leslie and STIR Architecture have shown, with the right approach, a small focused team of decision makers, and an expert guide, success is attainable. Past clients will continue to work with you and future clients will gain a favorable first impression.

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* A / E / C = Architecture, Engineering, & Construction (but you already knew that)
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