October 5, 2015

Architecture & Design Film Festival – Kyle Bergman Q+A

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Here in New York City, it’s Architecture and Design Month “Archtober” (ärk’tōbər)! It’s the fifth annual month-long festival of architecture activities, programs and exhibitions taking place during the month of October.  Around the globe, there are a bounty of cultural festivals that also celebrate excellent architecture and great design and, this month, we’re highlighting some of the world’s best. Let’s start here at home in NYC with the Architecture & Design Film Festival… 


Now, in its seventh year, the Architecture & Design Film Festival returns to New York, October 13 -18, with an invigorating selection of feature-length, short, and documentary films. Expect to be engaged and entertained by lively discussions with architects, designers, filmmakers and industry leaders. We caught up with Kyle Bergman, the founder and director of the Architecture & Design Film Festival.


Q: How did the festival get started?

A: I’m an architect by profession and I’ve always thought about the great connection between architecture and film. To me, they’re two sides of the same coin — architecture and film are ways for us to tell stories. They share similar characteristics, for one, they are both public acts. Both art forms consider light, scale, proportion, and it’s really a balance between art and science. Merging architecture and film was something that came natural to me. I really wanted to develop a film festival that engaged the general public as well as the design community.


Q: What is the film selection process?

A: We accept submissions year-round. We preview around 250 films and try to stick to a schedule of 25-30 films. However, this year we ended up with a selection of 33 films, which speaks volumes about the high caliber of submissions we received. Our selection process is “organic”, and we don’t adhere to criteria; we care more about how the films capture the creative design process.


Q: Were there themes that came together in making selections for this year’s programs?

A: No, we don’t start with themes, it generally evolves. But a Nordic theme became apparent when we were finalizing our program schedule. For instance, we’re showing Jytte Rex’s acclaimed portrait of the late Henning Larsen, and The Infinite Happiness, which features the giant 8 House designed by Bjarke Ingels. Festivalgoers may even detect mini-Irish and family themes.


Q: Can you describe the physical and emotional duress of putting on a festival like this?

A: I may disappoint you with my answer… I’m a firm believer that if you like what you do, you don’t even think about it.


Q: Tell us the best and worst part of your job.

A: The festival is something that I started, so I’m proud of that. But I would say the best part of my job is having the opportunity to increase architecture and design dialogue, and make it more appealing to a wider audience, not just for design professionals. Then, there are the filmmakers…I feel that the festival puts a spotlight on these talented filmmakers and showcases their passion and dedication to their craft.


Don’t miss out on the nation’s largest film festival celebrating architecture and design. Tickets and the program schedule are available here.

September 29, 2015

Be the Leader of the Pack

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Three ways to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry

You’ve made it to part three of our September Strategies series. We’ve given you insight into creating a brand identity that matches your business goals and advice on how to create a communications plan that will achieve those goals. In this blog post, we are going to help you strengthen your reputation and credibility, increase your reach to potential clients, and be recognized as an expert in your industry.

Write, write, and write some more

You and your staff possess significant knowledge that will interest a variety of publications. One way to establish yourself as an expert in your industry is by writing bylined articles. As discussed in our previous blog post, bylined articles are a way for you to provide useful advice and valuable content geared toward potential clients.

There are other ways that you can showcase your knowledge. Writing a blog post is a great way to build awareness about your company, projects, and staff. More importantly, blogging on a consistent basis gives you a platform to express your ideas, solutions, and positions on trending topics.

Last but not least, consider writing an e-book or a white paper containing valuable content to increase your reach to potential clients. Not only that, you can gather valuable contact information from prospects when they download your e-book or white paper.

Speak with the press

Brush up on your interview skills. Interviews with editors and writers are a great way for you to showcase your firm and your portfolio, in addition to increasing your credibility. Wondering how to get in touch with the editor of your favorite magazine? Public relations firms foster relationships with the press and they are able to provide introductions with key editors and writers at top-tier publications. These desk-side meetings will allow you to talk about your experience and expertise. In addition, it will also strengthen your relationship with writers and editors who will be more inclined to go to you in the future for quotes or source new article topics.

Desk-side meetings are not the only way to get interviews. Social media platforms create dialogue that can help you get your thoughts and opinions “heard”. Participate in Q&A forums, like those hosted by LinkedIn or Twitter. You will reach an expanded audience and engage with other professionals in these digital forums.

Seek out speaking engagements

It is valuable for you to seek out speaking engagements at local and national venues. Every time you put yourself in the role of presenter or panel speaker, you are building your authority on best practices, new methods or technologies. By participating in conferences, you will open the doors to other outreach opportunities.

Positioning yourself as a thought leader will not happen overnight. It takes time, effort, and consistency to establish and grow your reputation. Every written piece, interview, or speaking engagement strengthens your authority. So the time to start is now!

September 22, 2015

September success strategies

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Four steps for creating a powerful communications plan

If you read our previous blog post regarding re-calibrating your brand, you’ve taken the first step towards long-term success.

Ok, so you’ve gone through the mini-branding evaluation. You’ve identified the specific types of clients you want, clarified your direct and indirect competitors, defined your differentiators, aligned your business goals with the marketplace, and evaluated your visual identity. Ready for the next steps?

Here at Design of the Haus, we’re taking it further and we’re going to give you an exclusive look at the components of a good communications plan, a document that helps our clients target their messaging, find opportunities to raise their companies’ profiles, promote projects and their firms, and create a calendar of immediate action steps.

Step One: Target your messages

Create your firms’ key messages by answering these sample questions. What differentiators set your firm apart from your competitors? What types of work do you do or aspire to do? Does your firm have a rich history or milestone that you would like to highlight? What special value do you bring to your clients? To create consistent and impactful messaging, create statements that address the questions above and use them for all of your firms’ marketing and outreach material.

Step Two: Raise your company’s profile

To increase your firm’s visibility in the media and get in front of prospective clients, your firm should get involved in professional networks.

  • Research and join relevant professional organizations that can help your firm build valuable relationships. Involvement in these types of organizations is an effective way to reach decision makers, gain networking and introduction opportunities, and open new avenues for different types of potential work.
  • Seek speaking opportunities at professional events and conferences. This will further establish your firm as experts in a specific industry or market.
  • Submit for awards, because winning awards is an excellent way for your firm to get press and impress clients and potential clients. Awards also give your firm credibility and further enhance its reputation that may lead to interviews, speaking engagements, and invitations to panel discussions.

Step Three: Promote your projects and people

It is critical to maintain visibility in your industries and markets. Consistent outreach in a variety of media outlets will keep the company mainstream and “buzzworthy”. Review your recent projects and come up with story or trend ideas to pitch to editors. For example, say your firm is designing the first passive house in Florida. Capitalize on the trend of how passive house technology is crossing over from Europe and becoming mainstream in the US. So you could pitch a story about fitting passive house design into any American landscape, from the hot climates of Florida to the icy winters of Michigan (where its already been applied).

You can also keep your company in the news by having a member of your leadership team write a by-lined article for a professional trades publication, for example, describing your firm’s innovative approach to combining modern technology and traditional materials.

Step Four: Initiate an immediate actions calendar

Plan for the next four to six months and end 2015 strong. First, figure out your immediate, mid-and long-term activities. Include pitch ideas, potential editor meetings, competition deadlines, social media implementation dates, etc. While creating a calendar is the last step of this communications plan, this is not a static document. You will need to review and update it on a consistent basis. In fact, this plan should serve as a starting point for an in-depth communications program for the end of 2015 and well into 2016.

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