Does Media Exposure Scare off Potential Clients Instead of Attracting Them?
Not only is Andrew Maynard one of the most talented young architects anywhere, (and winner of our best of green award) doing great green design, but he is also one of the best at self-promotion, doing fun speculative stuff like the CVO8 suburb-eating robots before his career took off. He makes it easy for us, putting tons of pictures up on his site, complete with downloads and press releases for everything. But can all this marketing be counterproductive? He recently tweeted:
Have had a number of new inquiries tell me that they almost didn't call because they assumed that I would be too busy & too expensive.
Andrew Maynard on Sustainable Design and Teen Sex
Makes me wonder just how many people make the same assumption and don't call. AMA's exposure is working against us.
A happy client responded to the tweets:
I noticed you had one about how maybe you don't get more people enquiring because they assume you are too busy/expensive/only build grand places etc. I think that is absolutely true - we were not even sure where you stood when we first contacted you.
Perhaps. I suspect it has more to do with Andrew's talent than it does with his self-promotion; quality tells. There are a lot of architects doing blogs and tweets, but don't have the work to show for it. There are also architects who barely promote themselves at all, and let the quality of their work be their marketing. But building takes a long time, and building a reputation that way is slow.
Seattle architect John Morefield built his career on a brilliant bit of self-promotion, got coverage just about everywhere, but doesn't seem to have a lot to show for it. (besides two TreeHugger posts:
The Architect is In- 5 Cents per Consultation
Architecture 5¢ Becomes A Movement and a Lightning Rod
Perhaps the most impressive self-promoter I have met is Steve Mouzon; he blogs, tweets, writes books, uses every new web service that comes up, but appears to only occasionally actually do architecture. But his book is a success and he is on the lecture circuit, so the promotion has certainly worked.
I think Andrew might be scaring off clients with his ways of meeting budget constraints in the Tattoo House: "Every element needed to perform multiple functions for maximum return- hence the kitchen bench becomes part of the stair." Yup, walking on the counter instead of adding one more tread is going to save tons of money.
But over-promotion? I don't think so. I wish every architect made life so easy for those of us who write about design, but really, I wish every architect was as good as Andrew Maynard. That's what gets exposure.