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SMPSBB18 Conference Takeaways

Build Business – a conference full of great insight from A/E/C experts, networking, excitement and a great way to recharge your battery. This year’s 45th Annual Build Business Conference had a record-level attendance rate, revealed the new SMPS brand and had impressive guest speakers from all over the world providing great insight.

Here are just a few of my takeaways from the conference:

Get Known Everywhere: Using Publicity to Market your Services  
Jill Lublin, NSA, CEO, - Jill Lublin provided great insight about the publicity and how to get known everywhere. A few key concepts include:

  • Use everything you’ve got! Don’t fall down the same, boring path of submitting information about what your firm DOES to every media outlet in hopes of getting press. Instead, look at all your firm’s traits and characteristics. Does your company have a stand-out culture? Use that to your advantage! Gather the data and submit information about your company for awards and publications that will care about how great your company is!
  • Get mentioned! Your company should be mentioned in your local business journal publication every 60 days
  • People on the Move! You can utilize the people on the move section in business journal publications for more than just new hires. For example, congratulate a coworker on milestone anniversary
  • Craft the right message! Translate your message appropriately and get rid of the jargon!
  • Be a problem solver in the market place. Tell your client what the problem is and then give them three solutions that are interesting, dynamic and relatable

The problem today is that 4/5 businesses will go out of business because of lack of publicity. Here are three gorilla publicity tips to keep you in business
1. Create your “ooh ahh” factor
2. “I’ve heard of you” syndrome
3. Networking 2x a month at minimum

Creativity Myth Busters
Craig Atkinson, VP of Communications & Strategic Services, Walsh Construction

Craig Atkinson takes iPhone photos as a creative outlet and he’s found it is a great mind-escape when he flies – one of his biggest fears. Craig explained the importance of being intentional with all you do – even with taking iPhone photos. You can see some of his incredible iPhone photos on his Instagram.

  • Being creative is not a trait, it is a muscle and you’ve got to strengthen it!
  • You can and DO shape your brain with your thoughts – suffering is a choice, so is happiness
  • Be intentional with all that you do – notice what you notice
  • Don’t feel like you have time to be creative in a proposal? Adjust your cropping on an image and make it unique – take the small chances to show some creativity, even when you’re up against a deadline
  • 80% of our wandering thoughts are negative and 90% of those are repetitive – get out of your own way!

Beyond proposals: Adding Value with Project-Specific Marketing Plans
Jennifer Lacey, CM-Lean, CPSM – Division Marketing Director, Robins & Morton
Bill Stevens, Senior Superintendent, Robins & Morton

It’s important to build relationships with your team members and the Jennifer-Bill duo were a great example of why this can be so beneficial. Not only do you build team comradery, but you will be more successful!

  • Get to know your team members and get the right people involved with project marketing from the beginning. This means your Division Manager, Project Manager, Project Engineer and Superintendent.
  • Creating that bond with the field team will open so many opportunities. A few examples include:
    • Play the love vs. loathe game with your coworkers – really get to know them
    • Working on a hospital? Create a poster with inspirational imagery and verbiage that relates to each floor on the hospital to get your subs dedicated to the project
    • Create campaigns with your teammates’ input – the example the presenters used was a “small wins” campaign. We always celebrate the large milestone achievements but what about the small wins?
    • Jennifer got to know her field team so well that she met a laborer their company hired that was previously incarcerated – they created a touching video to show the strength of their culture at Robins & Morton.

Facilitation Meets Play  
Jennifer Newman, CPSM, CEO, Ignite Coaching & Consulting, LLC
Donna Corlew, FSMPS, CPSM, Chief WIT* Officer, C*Connect

Lego Serious Play is method to produce a deeper understanding of a topic through this hands-on, learning tool. We learned the following:

  • How to facilitate meetings more effectively with better results that foster creative thinking and unique solutions
  • Understanding of different modes of communication
  • How to encourage curiosity by establishing thinking with the hands and listening with the eyes

This facilitation method would be great for improving group solving or even interview preparation for people that are not used to answer in on-the-spot environments. We were even told that one company that was shortlisted for a construction job showed up to the interview and had to participate in Lego serious play to win the job! The following pieces are important to the overall puzzle of Lego serious play: 

  • Goal setting
  • Team building
  • Idea generation
  • Values and behaviors
  • Shared vision
  • Avoiding meeting agony

Marketing Communications Awards
Wow! There were some brilliant ideas that came out of the MCA’s this year. If you haven’t had a chance to see the finalists and award winners, click here. You’re sure to walk away with a few dozen ideas for your firm. In case you haven’t seen it yet, the new SMPS Brand video can be accessed here! Did you attend Build Business? Do you have additional takeaways you’d like to share with the chapter? Please, comment below and share your knowledge!

Ashley Black
Marketing Coordinator, Ryan Companies US, Inc.
Ashley joined the AEC industry in January 2015 and became a member of SMPS shortly after. She is the current Blog Chair and a member on the hospitality committee. Ashley loves traveling, basketball, cooking and spending time with her niece, Halle.

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  1. Emy Burback

    Aug. 23, 2018

    Thanks for sharing your takeaways from this year's conference! These are some good nuggets to keep us going!

    1. Ashley Black

      Aug. 23, 2018

      Thank you, Emy! It was a great conference and we all learned a lot!

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