LeaderSpeak: Marketing & Branding

November was another great month for DesignSpeak, as we launched a new discussion series for design professionals, LeaderSpeak!  We plan to hold these every other month with rotating speakers and topics.

Our first topic on Marketing & Branding was a great success!  We were very fortunate to have such talented people for our first panelist lineup.  We really appreciated David, Nate, Araceli and Tom for being so open and offering insight into their marketing strategies.  Also, a huge thank you to Global Furniture for hosting the event with us!  Their showroom looked fabulous and turned out to be a great source for seating our crowd!

David, Nate, Araceli (& Bella Rue), and Tom offered fantastic insights to the group!

Meet our panelists:

L. David James, III – Read DesignSpeak’s bio for David
Hospitality & Senior Living Sales Team Leader at Colt Industries
visit Colt’s website

Araceli Kopiloff-Zimmer – Read DesignSpeak’s bio for Araceli
owner of Rue Lafayette
visit Rue Lafayette’s website

Tom Niemeier – Read DesignSpeak’s bio for Tom
owner of SPACE Architecture + Design
visit SPACE’s website

Nathan Sprehe – Read DesignSpeak’s bio for Nate
owner of Almanac A Design + Marketing Studio
visit Almanac’s website

Great idea to hold the event in a showroom full of comfortable chairs!

From my perspective, the key points to take from the event were these:

– Be authentic and real in your professional dealings.

– Ask and you never know what doors may open for you.

– It really is about who you know; building relationships is more important than ever.

– Find a niche that plays to your strengths and core values.

Our hosts Tom (far left) and Cate (far right) were wonderful!

We hope you enjoyed the event and we’re looking forward to many more intriquing discussions in 2012!

meet our panelist: l. david james, iii

David James wears a lot of hats in his role of Hospitality & Senior Living Sales Team Leader at Colt Industries, none greater than his unofficial title as “supreme networker.”

You see, David’s real “business” is people.  Remembering important events, lending a helping hand, getting to know what is important to his friends as well as his clients.  He really enjoys making new connections and often uses social media to foster important friendships.  He prides himself on the fact that Facebook helped him land some fairly large hospitality projects.

His motto is “90% rapport, 10% selfish promotion” and is passionate about connecting people and helping them improve their business.  Bottom line, David excels at developing relationships which is really what good business is all about.

Leaderspeak is an event for industry professionals on 11.9.11 and will be held at Global Total Office.  Click here to view the invite.


meet our panelist: tom niemeier

Tom Niemeier has worked on basically all the sides of the table in the design and construction process, from that of architect, to client, to contractor.  During that time, he has evolved a three pronged approach to marketing and branding.

First; it starts from within.  The design Team must understand, believe in, and practice the core philosophy of the company.  Hire correctly. Let your team contribute throughout and see the project all the way through. Do quality work and let it speak for itself.

Second; relationships.  Stay in touch with your clients after working so hard to create something special with them.  Do this casually, and keep it fun and down to earth.

Third; name recognition.  “Hit ’em from all sides.”  Do good work and promote it.  Win awards and announce it. Get to know the print media and get published. And social media is particularly special as “architects have the ability to do really interesting tweets”.  But no matter what, keep it casual, real, and approachable.  And hopefully when the time comes and somebody is looking for an architect, your name is the one that comes to mind first.

Click the link below to get a glimpse of the SPACE experience.

Note:  Tom was recently featured in St. Louis Magazine.  Click here for the article.

Leaderspeak is an event for industry professionals on 11.9.11 and will be held at Global Total Office.  Click here to view the invite.

meet our panelist: Araceli Kopiloff-Zimmer

In the few years since Rue Lafayette opened, Araceli has successfully marketed her cafe/boutique as a little slice of Paris in the Midwest.  Yummy treats, a relaxed atmosphere and vintage French touches keep you coming back for more of the “joie de vivre.”   To do this she combines modern day technology with old fashioned friendliness and a great personality.  Rue Lafayette has received accolades both locally and nationally in the media.

Rue Lafayette Cafe & Boutique

An offshoot of her overall concept, Bella Rue the canine “hostess”, has developed into a brand personality all her own.  Araceli has been smart in marketing this adorable little Boston Terrier with humorous accessories/toys, videos and even her own Facebook page. Click here to learn more about Bella Rue!

Araceli and Bella

Leaderspeak is an event for industry professionals on 11.9.11 and will be held at Global Total Office.  Click here to view the invite.


meet our panelist: Nathan Sprehe

Nearly seven years ago I met Nathan Sprehe, a free-lance graphic designer at the time, over breakfast and sketches to discuss our company’s brand and identity.  As a company that had yet to get its business license, Integration Controls was nothing but a concept at the time.  I left the meeting thinking, “There’s no way he got anything valuable from that conversation”…

Little did I know that all of our buzz words, concepts, hand gestures and napkin doodles inspired Nathan in a way that translated into graphics and company identity.  From our first round of logo designs, to a completed brochure – and beyond – Nathan provided a great foundation for our company’s image.

As a proprietor of Almanac, Nathan brings to the table a wealth of real-world experience blended with a passion for great design and architecture.  His easy demeanor and probing questions make him easy to chat with while he figures out how to best create a company’s image.  I’m proud to know him and eager to pick his brain for our first leaderspeak event.

Leaderspeak is an event for industry professionals on 11.9.11 and will be held at Global Total Office.  Click here to view the invite.

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