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Friedman & Partners - Growth stategies for A/E/C and environmental consulting firms
Friedman & Partners - Growth stategies for A/E/C and environmental consulting firms
Friedman & Partners - Growth stategies for A/E/C and environmental consulting firms

What’s Your Special Sauce?

In this issue of “The Friedman File”, I’ve asked Brand Strategist Nancy Jenner of D&CO (Carlisle, Massachusetts) (www.designandco.net) to discuss the importance of understanding and communicating your firm’s value and differentiators. Each year, I conduct hundreds of third-party interviews with my clients’ clients. In these interviews, I’m often told that my client looks/sounds/feels a lot like other AEC firms. Knowing your firm’s “special sauce” is more important now than ever—not just in business development, but also recruitment and retention. I look forward to your comments and questions at rich@friedmanpartners.com or 508-276-1101.

Understanding and leveraging your company’s unique assets and value to build awareness and engagement

When asked, most people can name a company or brand that feels distinctive and strong, one that seems particularly clear about what they do or sell. Large global corporations with long histories or huge marketing budgets might come […]

Putting it on the Line: Equal Opportunity Theory in Practice

Policies promoting equal opportunity have long been standard in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry, but putting these policies into practice is not as common. In this installment of The Friedman File, we examine how three firms elevated the spirit of equal opportunity into actions delivering tangible benefits.

A “Chance” Meeting

Three years ago, Al Spagnolo and Troy Depeiza were among a handful of architects competing for a project. Neither won. And both did.

Their chance meeting sparked a friendship and formal partnership that underscores the concepts on which the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) movement is based. Spagnolo’s multidiscipline design firm, SGA, is renowned for its work in life sciences and higher education. It celebrated its 30th Anniversary in January. Depeiza founded DREAM Collaborative, LLC, in 2008 with fellow Caribbean-born architect Greg Minott, but it wasn’t until 2014 that the workload allowed them to […]

The Pandemic’s Impact on Marketing and Business Development: One Firm’s Story

Forward-thinking AEC firms are institutionalizing the best of the changes that the COVID-19 pandemic forced on the business world and our industry. In this issue of The Friedman File, we detail how one firm effectively adapted its marketing and business development strategy to align with the realities of the post-COVID market.

Adapting to a Pandemic

The larger lessons of the pandemic can’t be overstated. As devastating as the COVID-19 pandemic has been to the planet, it has also underscored the adaptability and resilience of the human race. While fatalities mounted and economies crumbled, individuals and communities found a way to move forward.

Within this profound setting, we find many examples of this determination to keep on keeping on. In the narrower context of The Friedman File, the strategic decisions and bold steps taken by AEC firms to counter the effects of the pandemic are instructional.

For example, […]

2020: Lessons learned and where we go from here

If there’s one phrase that describes 2020, it is not “business as usual.” The ways in which A/E/C and environmental consulting firms have fared in this unprecedented year have been as varied as the businesses that they run. In this issue of The Friedman File, we’re sharing some lessons learned, how firms have coped (or thrived) and what we see as ways forward in a still uncertain landscape.

Leading during crisis

While I’ve long advocated for transparent management, 2020 has required that on a whole new level. At times of economic uncertainty, employees look to their leaders to chart a course, to have a plan and to enact, if necessary, transformational changes or survival measures. It hasn’t been easy to be a leader this year, but many have risen to the challenge: enlisting staff in the need to create new services, implementing firmwide business development […]

Baking business development into your culture: how this firm did it

In my many years of advising AEC and environmental consulting firms on effective business development practices, I’ve seen that firms who are successful have several things in common:

  • They understand the need to position themselves within their key markets using a one-to-many marketing strategy (instead of relying solely on 1:1 relationship-building).
  • They put systems in place that allow that strategy to deliver valuable data that can drive and inform BD strategy and implementation.
  • They align both business development and marketing efforts to clear and client-focused business plans for each of their key markets.

This level of strategy and focus is what allows firms to successfully drive growth, brand and client relationships. But it’s not always easy to implement. Trying to drive the effort from the marketing department without enforcement and accountability from the top is rarely effective. Employing marketing and BD tactics without clear […]

4 questions to ask before you finalize your marketing budget

It’s year-end, and you know what that means: budget season. It also means that your marketing efforts and expenditures may be under the microscope. As firms grapple with how much to spend in this critical area — and what to spend it on – one of the most common questions we hear is, “What percentage of net service revenue should we spend on marketing and business development?”

While there are benchmarks, the real answer is, “It depends.” And, in fact, there are other important questions that I encourage you to answer first. In this issue of The Friedman File, we’re diving deeper into marketing and BD expenses and how you can create a budget that’s aligned to your business goals and better designed for success.

The role of benchmarks

On average, it’s fair to say that AEC industry firms spend 5-6% of net service revenue on […]

By |2019-12-05T17:14:46-05:00December 2019|Business Development, Marketing & Branding|

Curating conversations: how one firm took a nontraditional approach to market positioning

In the years that Friedman & Partners has been in business, we have again and again seen the power of successful thought leadership efforts to ignite business. And yet, there are still many firms that get stuck in effectively adapting this proven marketing strategy and implementing it consistently.

That’s why, in this issue of The Friedman File, we’re sharing how one firm has taken a creative approach to becoming a trusted advisor in a niche market. Here’s what 120-person A/E firm GLMVArchitecture (Wichita, KS) did in their zoos and aquariums practice, and what they’ve learned along the way.

“In many industries, we become insular in the way that we think,” says organizational development consultant and self-proclaimed zoo nerd Michael Clifford, GLMV’s Curator of Innovation and Partnerships, who runs the firm’s ECHO Initiative. “Zoos are established organizations, often run by municipalities and private 503(c)3s, and are not […]

The one social media tool you must master

We’re switching gears with this issue of The Friedman File to address a question that often comes up during our training workshops and client engagements: What should we be doing with social media?

Many A/E/C and environmental firms remain skeptical about social media—and that skepticism can be well-founded. While some firms have jumped in with both feet and even mastered this area, too many are overwhelmed or simply not sure where, or even IF, to focus their efforts.

For most firms, creating a sustainable, realistic and effective social media strategy means starting small and mastering what we call Marketing 101 before moving on to more.

The social channel you need to master? LinkedIn.

Why Linked In?

LinkedIn has carved out a clear niche as the world’s largest social media platform for business. Starting out as a top recruiting tool, it quickly became the place to network. Now, with […]

We built a new web site and this is what we learned

This issue of The Friedman File is a bit different. First, we are proud to share our brand new web site with you: www.friedmanpartners.com, especially the section that houses this newsletter. However, instead of sending an announcement, I want to share our process, and offer five takeaways that you can put to work in your own firm’s marketing efforts.

Over the last several years, Friedman & Partners has evolved and expanded service offerings, amassing a broader portfolio of consulting and executive coaching on growth strategies for AEC and environmental consulting firms. Like many firms, our web site has been slow to keep up and was not communicating that as well as it could. It was time for a reboot.

Since Friedman & Partners has been involved in marketing content strategy and development for many years, I’ve seen firsthand the challenges and roadblocks that arise […]

By |2017-09-28T11:10:13-04:00October 2017|Marketing & Branding|

Can rebranding transform your business? Consider this firm’s story

Regular readers of The Friedman File know that we feel strongly about the role thought leadership can play in carving out a strong market position. In this issue, we’re going behind the scenes with one architecture firm that has gone all-in with this strategy to see how it has transformed their business.

To appreciate the full picture, let’s go back five years. As healthcare architects, Array Architects (Philadelphia, PA) had been competing against some of the largest firms in the country, but they knew that trying to keep up with those firms on portfolio wasn’t a winning formula.

They also saw margins eroding coming out of the recession. Their clients, like many, were under market pressures requiring them to stretch their design and construction budgets. It was becoming a race to the bottom. Array was also facing an ownership transition challenge. Older partners were nearing […]

By |2017-06-12T09:52:01-04:00February 2017|Case Studies, Marketing & Branding|
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