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ON THE MOVE ERICA NELLES PROMOTED TO PRINCIPAL Dewberry , a privately held professional services firm, has announced the promotion of nearly 50 employees nationwide, including Erica Nelles, AIA, LEED AP, who has been promoted to principal in its Sacramento, California, office. Nelles is a business unit manager in the firm’s architecture practice and oversees a team of approximately 20 staff in Pasadena and Sacramento, California, who provide architectural design services for clients in the state/local and commercial markets. She joined the firm in 2017 and has more than 20 years of experience in studio operations,

client management, project management, and design. “Erica is a proven leader who has done an exceptional job growing her team and our West Coast presence,” says Dewberry President David Huey, AIA, LEED AP. “Her dedication to finding innovative solutions to help achieve client goals through thoughtful design sets her apart as a great leader.” Nelles earned her master’s degree in architecture from the University of Florida (2005) and her bachelor’s degree in bio- resource engineering from Rutgers (2001). She is a member of the American Institute of Architects.

Dewberry is a leading, market-facing firm with a proven history of providing professional services to a wide variety of public- and private-sector clients. Recognized for combining unsurpassed commitment to client service with deep subject matter expertise, Dewberry is dedicated to solving clients’ most complex challenges and transforming their communities. Established in 1956, Dewberry is headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, with more than 50 locations and more than 2,000 professionals nationwide.

JANE LAWLER SMITH, from page 11

Most firms have a standard collateral package or proposal template. This is meant to be a starting point – not the final product for everyone. Attentive customization is key. ❚ ❚ Plating. Check out @HelloFresh and @blueapron on Instagram. Without a doubt, you will see food photos. But you will also notice fancy plates, lit candles, bottles of wine, colorful textiles in the form of napkins, pot holders, and tablecloths, and many more non-food items. All because, as much as it is all about the food, the presentation is the first line of judgement. It may even sway a reluctant diner to at least sample the offering. Conversely, plating also has the power to turn someone off and turn up their nose. How do you think dino-nuggets got their start? The concept of plating has easy application to marketing. Your fresh ingredients are thoughtfully assembled with a particular person’s needs and desires in mind. You know this. But the person you are offering these materials to? They don’t know that. You can expound “never judge a book by its cover” all you want. It doesn’t mean people won’t do exactly that. What does your delivery presentation look like? ❚ ❚ Are you sending something physical or digital? ❚ ❚ Are you required to use a standard form or follow an RFP’s specific directions? ❚ ❚ Are you delivering PDF files or another file format? ❚ ❚ Are materials a combination of words and imagery or is there an opportunity for video? ❚ ❚ If files are sent via email, download, or overnight delivery, what does that look like? Although seemingly benign, each of these steps, in practice, holds potential pitfalls that can negate all the progress you have made up to this point. In fact, these steps stand firmly between your message and its consumption. HANDCRAFTED AND FRESH. The basic recipe is fairly simple: fresh ingredients, thoughtfully assembled, temptingly delivered. Layer that with your in-depth knowledge of your business and your target audience to create a true masterpiece. In the words of Julia Child: “The more you know, the more you can create. There’s no end to imagination in the kitchen.” Bon appétit! JANE LAWLER SMITH, MBA, is the marketing manager at Derck & Edson, LLC. She can be reached at

from our Zoom chats, to bring order to the buffet of PDFs, webinars, and listservs that are a normal part of our everyday existence. If you are thinking of adding anything more to the glut of things called “communication,” do everyone a favor and make it fresh. Make it pointed. Make it count. Stop using those figurative dried parsley flakes that have been sitting on the shelf for too long. “One of the keys to the successes of these brands is breaking down more complicated cooking tasks into bite-sized, easy to manage tasks, with clear directions that, when brought all together, deliver a culinary masterpiece. A similar recipe can be applied to marketing for AEC firms.” ❚ ❚ Some assembly required. When the freshest ingredients are available, you may be tempted to send along, as the saying goes, everything but the kitchen sink. However, in the mid-1940s, that expression was connected with thoughts of intense bombardment. Not exactly the best way to communicate. Instead, like HelloFresh, consider portion sizes and strive to provide exactly what is needed – no more, no less. Also, think about your last visit to a restaurant or the last time you viewed a menu for take-out dining. Chances are high that there were options. Lots of options. Today, if you are vegetarian, lactose or gluten intolerant, or have any number of food allergies, you can find something that caters to your needs. HelloFresh offers pescatarian-friendly meals. Blue Apron has Beyond Meat, Weight Watchers Approved, and Diabetes Friendly options even in their “standard” offerings. In a past article (“Personalize Your Marketing”), we explored B2H (business to human) marketing – an individualized approach. Take that into account. If you are investing the time to connect with someone, focus on that someone and what they need to know right now, and in what order your message should be received.

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