Behind every great piece of architecture or design, chances are, there’s a host of great stories waiting to be told.  Stories about people, visions, challenges, innovations and experience.

Many practices and studios recognise this, and take every advantage of the opportunities presented though well-planned, well-executed PR strategies.

But just as many don’t.   Which is surprising.

With their visual appeal and varied background stories, architecture and design lend themselves to PR more than most professions.

Wouldn’t any business sitting on a goldmine of marketing and new business opportunity want to exploit that to its full?

My guess is there may be a few common worries that architects and designers might have about launching their own PR campaigns.

1. Will we have enough to talk about?

Smaller projects and practices can be just as newsworthy as larger ones, if you find the right hooks.  Pick out quirky design features, talk with a distinctive voice, campaign for an issue, focus on design “firsts”, invest in amazing photography and video.  It’s not just what you have to say, it’s how you say it, when you say it and where you say it that can make all the difference.

2. Can we really afford a PR campaign?

Many people still view PR as something “nice to have if we had the budget”.  In fact, PR is about building your corporate reputation, creating business trust and stimulating recommendations – something at the very heart of good business practice. It’s about what you do, what you say and what others say about you.  Are you happy just to leave that to chance?  Or would you rather take control by investing in a cost-effective form of marketing which can protect, nurture and grow your business in all kinds of ways?

3. Won’t PR take up a lot of our valuable time?

Great work rarely just sells itself.  So if you’ve spent months or years crafting your architectural or design masterpiece, isn’t it worth a few extra days spent telling the story behind it?  Without PR, your role and messaging on projects risk getting lost, or never found.  Other partners can end up taking the credit – even unintentionally – just because they’re more on the ball, PR-wise.  Yes it does require an investment of time from directors to make PR campaigns fly, even with a PR agency on board.  But the more you put in, the more you will get back in terms of recognition, acclaim and business value.

4. How do we get started with PR?

If you’re not sure what PR can do for your business or how to kick start a PR campaign, talk to the experts.  A good PR agency can advise on what, when, where and how to tell your stories to create maximum impact with the right audiences.   We can advise on the best mix of media channels, from traditional print and broadcast media to digital and social media, blogs, videos, seminars, podcasts and websites.   In short, a good agency will help you plan the best way to get maximum mileage from your available budget.

5. Isn’t it hard to measure the value of PR?

Not really.  At its simplest, analysis of print, online and social media exposure can tell you reach, frequency and visibility of your work and messages.  At a more advanced level, Google Analytics can show you direct correlations between PR generated material and boosts to website traffic, engagement and actions.  Finally, and perhaps most importantly of all, robust new business trackers should be set in place to record the source of any calls, emails or referrals – allowing a direct link between new contracts and PR influenced work.

If you’re an architectural practice or design studio doing great work, but not getting as much recognition or growing as fast as you’d like, it’s definitely worth thinking about investing in a PR campaign.

Here at Highlight, we’ve lots of experience working with creative companies and would be happy to chat about your challenges and desires.