Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 24

Is Your Firm Telling a Meaningful Story?
by Evelyn M. Lee, AIA

Based in San Francisco,
Evelyn M. Lee, AIA, is regional
workplace manager, west
coast lead at Newmark Knight
Frank. She holds graduate
degrees in architecture, public
administration, and business
administration. Currently
a member of the AIA national
board of directors, Lee
received an AIA Young
Architects Award in 2014.
Her website is evelynlee.com.
Visit contractdesign.com/
businesspractice to read all
of her columns for Contract.

In my experience serving as a client representative,
I have found that architects and interior designers are
generally horrible storytellers when it comes to selling
their services. In school, studio critiques taught us that
our work is supposed to speak for itself but we often
find ourselves ferociously defending our vision.
Professionally, the success of our projects
is often measured by the number of design awards
they win. As a result, design interviews are filled with
slideshows that are 90 percent focused on professionally
photographed projects. While it is necessary to
showcase past work as validation of a firm's design
and delivery capability, what really wins over the
owners and makes an impact is great storytelling.
Using storytelling for your business is more
effective than listing facts and outcomes. Stories grab
a potential client's attention while ensuring you and
your firm remain memorable. Leveraged correctly,
they can shift the attitude in a room and change any
preconceptions about your work. There is a reason
why the art of storytelling has become a trending topic
in business and why visual platforms like Instagram
and Pinterest play such important roles in companies'
social media strategies. It is also why video marketing
is the latest thing, and why content marketing firm
Outbrain reports that in 2018, 89 percent of B2B
marketers use videos.
Crafting an engaging story is a strategic
undertaking, but a good story can go a long way
and be used repeatedly. When creating the narrative
be sure to lay the proper foundation, ensuring that
the story makes sense to the audience that you are
trying to reach, and keeps them hooked long enough
to have them Googling your firm and looking you
up on LinkedIn.

to be about you; it can be about things that move
and inspire you.
3 What is the arc of the story? Unforgettable stories
tend to have challenges that are faced and
overcome. Create an emotional connection with your
audience by revealing the underlying characteristics
and culture of your business.
4 Consistency is key across all communication
channels. The business of storytelling doesn't happen
overnight. Practice makes perfect, and knowing the
story backwards and forwards will ensure that the
story comes across naturally when it is presented.
5 Engage your customers. Come up with ways to get
your audience involved to create stronger emotional
ties that are both memorable and shareable.
Finally, make sure that your story is authentic.
It does not have to be over-the-top or earthshattering. Transparency provides a unique voice
that is individually yours or your firms, and it prevents
us from relying on our design awards.
Why are stories so successful? While facts
tend to speak to the logical part of the brain-
informally known as the language-processing zone-
stories tend to speak to the heart, a zone that
triggers seven areas in the brain at once and works
60,000 times faster than the language processing
center. Whether your audience tends to be left
or right brained, stories are scientifically proven
to engage the brain in away that is more memorable
than facts and figures. It's okay to mix facts and
figures into a presentation, but remember how
much more impactful a story can be in persuading
your audience.

Consider the following:
1 Why is the story being told? What do you ultimately
want to accomplish from the telling of the story?
2 Set the stage. Who are the players? Are each of them
important to the overall storyline? When and where
is the story taking place, and does the outcome
support what you are ultimately trying to accomplish?
Also remember that the story does not have
24

contractdesign.com

JULY/AUGUST 2018

PHOTOGRAPHY: CARL BOWER

COLUMNIST


http://www.evelynlee.com http://www.contractdesign.com/businesspractice http://www.contractdesign.com/businesspractice http://www.contractdesign.com

Contract Magazine - July/August 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract Magazine - July/August 2018

Contract Magazine - July/August 2018
Contents
Editorial
Industry News
Designer You Should Know: Tina Barnard
Columnist: Is Your Firm Telling a Meaningful Story?
Product Briefs
Product Focus: Modern Classic
Best of NeoCon 2018
Spaces Hofplein
Stedelijk BASE
Tintagel House
Competition
Designers Select: ICFF Favorites
Backpage
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - Intro
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - Contract Magazine - July/August 2018
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - Cover2
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 1
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 2
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 3
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 4
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 5
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - Contents
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 7
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 8
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 9
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 10
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 11
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - Editorial
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 13
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 14
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 15
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - Industry News
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 17
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 18
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 19
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 20
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 21
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - Designer You Should Know: Tina Barnard
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 23
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - Columnist: Is Your Firm Telling a Meaningful Story?
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 25
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - Product Briefs
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 27
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 28
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 29
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 30
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 31
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - Product Focus: Modern Classic
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 33
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 34
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 35
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 36
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - Best of NeoCon 2018
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 38
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 39
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 40
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 41
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 42
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 43
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 44
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 45
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 46
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 47
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 48
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 49
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 50
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 51
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 52
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 53
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 54
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 55
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 56
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 57
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 58
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 59
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 60
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 61
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 62
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 63
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 64
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 65
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 66
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 67
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 68
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 69
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 70
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 71
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 72
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 73
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 74
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 75
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 76
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 77
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 78
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 79
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 80
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 81
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 82
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 83
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 84
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 85
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - Spaces Hofplein
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 87
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 88
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 89
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 90
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 91
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 92
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 93
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 94
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 95
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - Stedelijk BASE
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 97
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 98
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 99
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 100
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 101
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - Tintagel House
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 103
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 104
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 105
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 106
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 107
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 108
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 109
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 110
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 111
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - Competition
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 113
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 114
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 115
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 116
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 117
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - Designers Select: ICFF Favorites
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - 119
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - Backpage
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - Cover3
Contract Magazine - July/August 2018 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/20200203
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/202001
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201912
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201911
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/womeninbusiness_2019
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201909
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201908
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/20190607
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/onpp-foresight_2019
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201905
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201904
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201903
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/20190102
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201812
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/womeninbusiness_2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201811
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201810
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201809
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/20180708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201806
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201805
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201804
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201803
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/20180102
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201712
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201711
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201710
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201709
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/2017neocon
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/20170708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201706
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201705
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201704
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201703
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/20170102
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201612
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201611
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201610
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201609
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/2016neocon
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201607
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201606
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201605
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201604
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201603
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/20160102
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201512
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201511
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201510
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201509
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/20150708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/2015neocon
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201506
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201505
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201504
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201503
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201501
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201412
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201411
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201410
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201409
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/2014neocon
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/20140708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201406
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201405
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201404
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201403
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/iida_red2014
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/contract/201401
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201312
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201311
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201310
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201310_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201309
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_20130708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_20130708_neocon_supplement
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201306
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201305
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201304
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201303
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_20130102
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201212
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201211
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201210
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201209
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_ncw_201208
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201208
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201206
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201205
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201204
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201203
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_20120102
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_20111112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201110
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201109
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_2011neoconwinners
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201108
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201106
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201105
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201104
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201103
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_20110102
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_20101112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201010
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201009
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_20100708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201006
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201005
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201004
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_201003
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_20100102
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_200911
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_200909
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_200910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_200908
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_200907
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_200906
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_200905
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_200904
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_200903
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_200902
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/contract_200901
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com