Marketing In Times of Recovery

Marketing In Times Of Crisis has changed its name to Marketing In Times of Recovery. It's still a bi-weekly interview-led podcast series featuring inspirational built environment business leaders but more with a look to the future. We’ve had to weather crisis’ before and podcast listeners hear lively conversations, jam-packed with hints, tips and takeaways that you can apply to your business now. Hosted by Ayo Abbas, Founder / Consultant, Abbas Marketing. Subscribe now, rate, review and help us to spread the word.

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episode 25: Ep 25: Finding your niche and focus with Magnus Ström, Ström Architects [transcript]


Hello and welcome to Marketing In Times of Recovery, the bi-weekly built environment marketing podcast. And I’m your host Ayo Abbas, founder and director of Abbas Marketing.  

Today my guest is Magnus Ström from Ström Architects who design one-off high-end houses.  

Magnus takes a laser-focused approach to marketing and in this interview, we touch on how: 

  • the practice focuses on a very specific niche and the challenges surrounding finding and working with one-off, private clients 
  • they approach the media and awards 
  • social media and digital has played a huge role in their business. 

Rate and review
If you like the show and you’re listening on Apple or Spotify do take a second to hit the button that gives us a 5-star rating as that helps more people find out about us. Plus if you’re feeling really inspired why not leave us a written review on Apple podcasts as I really do love hearing what you think. 

This episode was recorded on 08 October 2021.

Resources
Abbas Marketing
Ström Architects
Dave Sharp – Instagram is dead - MITR podcast
Hufton + Crow  Photography
James Silverman Photography

John Pawson
Gino Wickman
Greg McKeown – essentialism
Seth Godin – This is Marketing
The Business of Architecture podcast 


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 2021-10-29  29m
 
 
00:05  Ayo Abbas
Hello, and welcome to
00:05
the latest episode of Marketing
00:08
In Times of Recovery, and I am
00:08
your host, Ayo Abbas, founder
00:12
and director of built
00:12
environment marketing,
00:14
consultancy, Abbas Marketing.
00:14
Today, my guest is Magnus Strom
00:19
from Strom Architects who design
00:19
one off, high-end residential
00:23
homes. Magnus always takes a
00:23
laser-focused approach to his
00:27
marketing. And in this
00:27
interview, we touch on how his
00:30
practice has a very, very
00:30
specific niche in terms of
00:33
high-end residential clients. We
00:33
also took a look at their
00:36
approach to Media Awards and PR
00:36
which is again highly targeted.
00:41
And finally we look at Instagram
00:41
and Pinterest and the role that
00:45
that plays in their business and
00:45
driving it forward. If you liked
00:48
the interview, please make sure
00:48
you share it with others who
00:51
might find it of interest to, it
00:51
really does help us to spread
00:54
the word. Anyway, in the
00:54
meantime, I will stop talking so
00:58
you can get on with listening.
00:58
Enjoy the show, bye.
01:05
Hi, and welcome to the latest
01:05
episode of Marketing In Times of
01:08
Recovery. Hi, Magnus. Thanks so
01:08
much for coming onto the show.
01:10
Can you give me a bit of an
01:10
intro to you and your practice,
01:13
please?
01:14  Magnus Strom
Hi, yeah, thanks
01:14
for having me. So I run a medium
01:19
sized architecture practice down
01:19
on the south coast in England
01:22
and a little town called
01:22
Lymington. There is about 13 of
01:26
us. We specialise in doing one
01:26
off houses and we currently work
01:31
in the UK and all over the world
01:31
really.
01:34  Ayo Abbas
And in terms of the
01:34
projects that you do. How
01:38
difficult is it, the fact that
01:38
they're one off clients? Is that
01:41
quite a big challenge to always
01:41
keep the pipeline going?
01:46  Magnus Strom
Well, I think all
01:46
projects have their challenges
01:49
and private clients have
01:49
different challenges, perhaps to
01:51
commercial clients. It's much
01:51
more emotionally driven. And the
01:57
hard thing is that you've got to
01:57
keep the pipeline of work
01:59
coming, and you can't go and
01:59
market directly to them because
02:02
you don't necessarily know who
02:02
the answer is. Especially have
02:06
to have a different approach to
02:06
many other architects practices.
02:09  Ayo Abbas
And in terms of how
02:09
you approach the marketing for
02:13
your practice overall, what do
02:13
you do? What sort of things?
02:18  Magnus Strom
Well, we are a
02:18
niche practice. I read this book
02:23
by, I'm sure you know, Seth
02:23
Godin, marketing guru. And he
02:28
was talking about the smallest
02:28
identifiable market. And if you
02:33
can, you don't need to market to
02:33
everyone, you just need a very
02:36
few select people that's going
02:36
to give you work. The best
02:40
example I can give is someone
02:40
like John Pawson, for example.
02:44
How many people want to have a
02:44
white minimal house that's only
02:48
got white and a bit of limestone
02:48
and a little bit of timber, if
02:50
you're lucky, many people want
02:50
that and pay a lot of money for
02:53
it. And so, there's not many
02:53
people, if you look around the
02:57
world, say 200 people a year,
02:57
they want that kind of house in
02:59
the world. But, half of them are
02:59
gonna go and call John Pawson.
03:05
So he's kind of got that
03:05
smallest identifiable market
03:08
really identified, and then he
03:08
works in that niche, and he
03:12
doesn't need that many clients
03:12
per year. And I think that's
03:15
really what we tried to do to
03:15
really focus on that small,
03:20
small sector of people that we
03:20
know, want what we do. And how
03:26
do we get to those? We can't go
03:26
and just call people or going
03:30
knocking on doors and so on. So
03:30
for us, it's very much about
03:35
creating some form of brand
03:35
awareness. So, word of mouth:
03:41
it's not someone saying, like,
03:41
oh, yeah, you should, I did this
03:46
out with them, and you should go
03:46
to them. But it's more that
03:48
someone has seen us on, for
03:48
example, the internet or on
03:51
Instagram or some publication,
03:51
and then they're recommended
03:54
that way, so that way, quite a
03:54
lot of things happen. But for
03:58
us, a bigger driver, the biggest
03:58
driver is internet: Instagram,
04:02
but also Pinterest, funnily
04:02
enough, because we also when
04:06
clients come to us, they also
04:06
have Pinterest boards. So what
04:10
very often they do, they start
04:10
selecting all the work that they
04:14
they really like and do a
04:14
Pinterest board and then to
04:17
figure out who's done all of
04:17
these projects. And then they
04:20
go, okay, so this is Strm
04:20
Architects and then they call
04:24
us.
04:25  Ayo Abbas
And are they pinning
04:25
stuff from your Pinterest
04:27
boards, or is it mainly from
04:27
magazines and things like that?
04:31  Magnus Strom
We are really
04:31
slack with this actually, we
04:33
used to have, on our Pinterest,
04:33
on our Strom Architects one, we
04:37
used to put up all our products
04:37
but we've been quite lazy with
04:39
it now, but as soon as the work
04:39
is out, you can pin from the
04:43
website, etc. And it's kind of
04:43
doing its own thing without you
04:46
actually doing anything.
04:47  Ayo Abbas
So it's organic.
04:49  Magnus Strom
Yeah, it's great.
04:49
And it's one of those things, at
04:53
the moment, we haven't focused
04:53
on it because we have other
04:56
priorities at the moment and the
04:56
work is kind of working anyway.
05:00
So it's not something we have
05:00
focused on. But it's something
05:02
that I know that we need to do
05:02
more and engage more with it,
05:07
because all our clients use it.
05:09  Ayo Abbas
But it's quite
05:09
interesting that because when
05:11
you're looking at the some of
05:11
those titles like Dezeen, and
05:13
you look at some of their
05:13
boards, and they've already got
05:15
a million followers and stuff
05:15
like that. So that audience is
05:18
already there. So, in some ways,
05:18
you targeting those types of
05:21
publications, means that your
05:21
work is going to end up on those
05:24
boards anyway.
05:26  Magnus Strom
Yeah. And, of
05:26
course, you said Dezeen, for
05:29
example, that's something you
05:29
really want to get published
05:32
there. And it really helps. And
05:32
then you can see how your
05:36
website hits; spikes after that.
05:36
And obviously, for example,
05:40
Architizer, and so on. So all of
05:40
those online platforms really
05:45
help.
05:46  Ayo Abbas
And in terms of
05:46
dealing with those types of
05:49
publications, because they are
05:49
really high profile ones, how
05:52
have you built that relationship
05:52
with them?
05:54  Magnus Strom
In the beginning,
05:54
I think that, with Dezeen, when
06:01
all of this kicked off, 10 years
06:01
ago or so when I set up, so much
06:09
was going over to digital from
06:09
print, suddenly you had people
06:13
like Dezeen, for example, they
06:13
didn't need two projects
06:16
published per month, they needed
06:16
to publish four projects per
06:20
day. So suddenly, the hunger for
06:20
projects to publish was much
06:26
higher. So that meant that what
06:26
we did very early on that I
06:29
think was a really key for us
06:29
was we invested in the best
06:32
computer generated image renders
06:32
of our products that we could
06:35
possibly afford. And it took a
06:35
large chunk of our fee. But it
06:40
meant that we could get it
06:40
published so it was published on
06:42
Dezeen even before it was built.
06:42
I don't think they do that so
06:45
much these days, but back then
06:45
we could get houses published
06:49
that hadn't been built, and that
06:49
worked really well. And that can
06:52
then become, not viral, but it
06:52
certainly made the rounds on the
06:57
internet and so on. And that
06:57
really helped in generating and
07:00
raising that profile.
07:02  Ayo Abbas
That's amazing. So,
07:02
do you think it's harder for
07:06
architects to get in those
07:06
publications these days? Or do
07:09
you think it's actually easier?
07:11  Magnus Strom
I don't know, to
07:11
be honest with you. I think that
07:14
it helps if you've got
07:14
relationships, people that know
07:17
you, so you can drop something
07:17
to them, almost private notes,
07:20
saying I've sent you this today,
07:20
keep your eyes open for it.
07:24
There was people at Dezeen we
07:24
used to have a very good
07:27
relationship with, but she's
07:27
moved on now, I think but
07:31
certainly it does help. But
07:31
also, if the work's good, it
07:35
speaks for itself, and then they
07:35
want to publish it.
07:38  Ayo Abbas
That is true.
07:40  Magnus Strom
That comes back to
07:40
another thing. I listened to
07:42
this podcast. That was your
07:42
podcast, wasn't it? You had Dave
07:46
Sharp on?
07:47  Ayo Abbas
Yes, I did.
07:48  Magnus Strom
And saying that,
07:48
how Instagram is trailing off.
07:53
And it's been trailing off for
07:53
the last two years. And it's not
07:56
something that we find at all.
07:56
But also they were saying unless
07:59
you have a really strong
07:59
portfolio that's very visual, if
08:03
you have that, then Instagram
08:03
really works for you. And I
08:06
think that for us it does,
08:06
because when you look at the
08:08
private housing market, on
08:08
Instagram there's lots of homes,
08:13
properties, fashion, cars,
08:13
boats, yachts, whatever. But
08:18
it's very visual. So if you're
08:18
an architect specialising in
08:21
hospitals, you wouldn't
08:21
necessarily use Instagram,
08:25
because it's not the right place
08:25
to market it. But for houses and
08:29
homes it really works. So I
08:29
think that, therefore there has
08:33
been a huge, well I wouldn't say
08:33
huge, but we have worked on
08:39
Instagram, that's really gonna
08:39
keep it up.
08:44  Ayo Abbas
Definitely, your
08:44
projects are so visual as well.
08:47
As well of investing in CGI,
08:47
it's also the photography that
08:50
you have as well, which captures
08:50
the project. So you obviously
08:53
spend a lot of time on getting
08:53
the look right, and making sure
08:57
that aesthetic works as well.
08:57
So, in terms of photography, are
09:00
there any hints and tips in
09:00
terms of what you do? Or how you
09:04
tackle that?
09:05  Magnus Strom
Yeah, the first
09:05
advice is basically to hire the
09:08
best you can afford. And we
09:08
worked, in the beginning, we
09:13
tried lots of different
09:13
photographers, and every time
09:15
you got the photographs back,
09:15
you thought like, oh, yeah, it's
09:17
good, but it doesn't quite sing.
09:17
You knew something that could
09:23
have been better or that could
09:23
have been better. And we tried
09:26
lots of different people. But
09:26
when we shot this house, called
09:31
Island Rest on the Isle of
09:31
Wight, the client had a
09:34
connection with Nick Hufton from
09:34
Hufton + Crow. And I wouldn't
09:41
say that they're rock stars of
09:41
photography, but it's certainly
09:43
up there, right?
09:44  Ayo Abbas
Yes, definitely.
09:46  Magnus Strom
It was a little
09:46
bit more expensive and so on. I
09:47
thought, oh, this is expensive.
09:47
But then I thought to myself,
09:49
hang on a second. We're spending
09:49
far more money on CGI than we're
09:52
spending on photography. That's
09:52
kind of wrong, isn't it? So I
09:57
thought, let's do it. And he was
09:57
just fabulous to work with,
09:59
Nick. They are so talented and
09:59
the way they see things and how
10:03
they put it all together. And it
10:03
was just a joy to work with them
10:08
and then see the photographs. It
10:08
was just like, yes, when you get
10:10
them. That's really amazing.
10:10
We've just shot a project in
10:17
Sweden as well. But we used a
10:17
photographer based in Sweden,
10:20
called James Silverman. He's
10:20
also very talented, he's
10:23
actually a Brit, but he's lived
10:23
in Sweden for a few years. And
10:25
he's been mostly doing self
10:25
commissioned works, he's been
10:29
travelling the world
10:29
photographing houses in South
10:33
America or whatever. But because
10:33
publications have changed, they
10:38
no longer buy stories, right? So
10:38
they want everything for free.
10:40
So the architect's got to pay
10:40
for the images, so it's changed.
10:45
So we started shooting like
10:45
that. And that was an
10:48
interesting shoot. So we're just
10:48
going through all our
10:51
photographs at the moment, and
10:51
we're gonna get some hopefully
10:54
good images soon.
10:56  Ayo Abbas
And what role does
10:56
video play in what you do now,
10:58
in terms of how you market? Are
10:58
you using that more? Or is it
11:01
something you're aiming to do?
11:03  Magnus Strom
We are aiming to
11:03
do it, we haven't done it at the
11:05
moment, we looked into it a lot.
11:05
And I think that there are
11:07
certain projects that lends
11:07
itself to it more, but the
11:12
websites are going that way. And
11:12
when we redid our website a few
11:15
years ago, it's all set up. So
11:15
it can very easily take video.
11:18
So we certainly can do that.
11:18
Because for artists, again,
11:22
about portraying the lifestyle,
11:22
because you can do so much more
11:25
through video; just a sense of
11:25
arriving at a house or the light
11:30
that goes on there. So that's
11:30
definitely something that we are
11:33
looking into.
11:35  Ayo Abbas
Because you do one
11:35
off houses, do your clients
11:39
often say you can't photograph
11:39
these houses? Because that's
11:42
what often happens on high end
11:42
projects.
11:46  Magnus Strom
It doesn't happen
11:46
often. We've had one project, we
11:49
just recently signed a project
11:49
in Sweden, and they said we
11:52
don't want you to publish it.
11:52
They said, Well, you could
11:56
probably put it on your website,
11:56
but you can't publish it. But
11:59
with all our projects, we always
11:59
call them something different.
12:02
So the project name that you see
12:02
on the website, it's not what
12:05
their house is actually called,
12:05
because it wouldn't take long if
12:09
you have a house name, you can
12:09
just find it online on Google or
12:14
through planning app or
12:14
whatever. And as soon as you can
12:17
do that, you can pinpoint where
12:17
the houses are and some clients
12:23
are high profile and they don't
12:23
want people to know where the
12:27
houses are.
12:30  Ayo Abbas
And then how do you
12:30
take the names for your project?
12:32
Is it influenced by the
12:32
location? Or how do you choose
12:35
them?
12:37  Magnus Strom
It's quite random.
12:37
Normally, it's got something to
12:43
do with the location or the feel
12:43
of it, or the place of it or
12:50
something like that.
12:54  Ayo Abbas
As things have
12:54
started to open up again and
12:57
award season is coming back, how
12:57
do you tackle awards? Because
13:01
that's another part of your
13:01
marketing strategy overall, and
13:04  Magnus Strom
I think I have a
13:04
bit of a love hate relationship
13:04
what you do.
13:07
with awards in a way. With The
13:07
Quest we did a few years ago we
13:08  Ayo Abbas
It's a cash cow.
13:13
were extremely successful with
13:13
it and we won two RIBA awards
13:17
nd were on the shortlist for H
13:17
use of the Year, which we los
13:23
to Caring Wood. And stran
13:23
ely enough, I went to Caring Wo
13:26
d a couple of years ago, becaus
13:26
he had sold it and the new o
13:29
ner wanted to refurbish it
13:29
and extend it because it didn't
13:31
ork as a home. So in the en
13:31
it didn't do the job. With
13:40
The Quest, I think we picke
13:40
up seven awards or something
13:43
ike that. And we won British H
13:43
mes House of the Year, we won
13:46
hat for another project as well
13:46
So that's great and it adds
13:52
ome form of, you know, we d
13:52
n't design projects to win awa
13:58
ds, but it helps when a client,
13:58
can see like, oh, they have
14:01
one this, and they've won the aw
14:01
rds for it, it's some for
14:04
of feather in your cap. But I t
14:04
ink you also need to remember
14:09
hese awards they're busines
14:09
es, a lot of them.
14:16  Magnus Strom
It is absolutely.
14:16
You got to do this and then you
14:18
got to go to the dinner. And by
14:18
the time you've done it, you
14:20
spent, you know, a couple of
14:20
grand or something like that. Or
14:23
if you go to WAF, for example,
14:23
you're gonna send two delegates,
14:28
and I've been and it's massively
14:28
expensive. I've been there
14:31
twice. The first time I did it,
14:31
we went to Singapore, and I had
14:37
a great time, and it was really
14:37
good. It was really early in our
14:39
practice and, met lots of
14:39
people and lots of fun, it's not
14:44
often you hang out on top of
14:44
Marina Bay Sands having drinks
14:47
with the guys who work at Marcio
14:47
Kogan, but -
14:49  Ayo Abbas
You're paying for it.
14:57  Magnus Strom
Yeah, and then we
14:57
went back to the one in Berlin,
15:01
it's a good laugh. But it also
15:01
it's a networking event as well
15:06
for the industry. And you kind
15:06
of hanging out with your peers.
15:13  Ayo Abbas
Is that the kind of
15:13
thing where you'd find actual
15:15
clients? Or is it more of your
15:15
peers?
15:16  Magnus Strom
No, we didn't find
15:16
clients there.
15:19  Ayo Abbas
Okay, so you can't
15:19
justify that as in do that
15:22
regularly, because it's a huge
15:22
cost compared to other things
15:24
you can do.
15:25  Magnus Strom
It's a big cost.
15:25
But I think that with awards
15:26  Ayo Abbas
So you're kind of on
15:26
the fence of awards, you see
15:28
it's very political as well,
15:28
some boards more than others,
15:33
you've got to have the right -
15:33
put it this way, if you do a one
15:38
off large house, there's not the
15:38
most type of awards that does
15:45
something great for society, or
15:45
for the population in a certain
15:49
way, because it's a very selfish
15:49
and indulgent thing. Just go
15:52
look at Dezeen in the comments
15:52
section of any private house,
15:56
and you can see that sometimes
15:56
the vitriol that just comes,
15:59
because you've done a luxury or
15:59
well designed house. And I think
16:05
that's a bit sad, but it's kind
16:05
of inevitable in society. So I
16:11
think some of what's very
16:11
political, and it's got to tick
16:14
certain boxes to just be ab
16:14
e to be qualified for it. Some a
16:18
ards are more like that than oth
16:18
rs. So I think you've got to lo
16:22
k at which awards you submit for
16:22
which you don't submit for.
16:29
some benefit, but you're not
16:29
100%?
16:32  Magnus Strom
Yeah, you can kind
16:32
of think that you've won an
16:36
award, you won House of the
16:36
Year, you think like wow,
16:41
fantastic, and you're not even
16:41
shortlisted for the same project
16:46
for some other ones. And you're
16:46
going to end this kind of this
16:49
is boast an award for the one of
16:49
House of the Year but so you
16:53
start thinking that oh, why is
16:53
that? Or it's because you've got
16:55
you can see the projects have
16:55
got a completely different
16:57
agenda and can have a different
16:57
aesthetic. Sometimes you look at
17:00
the judges who's judging that
17:00
year as well.
17:03  Ayo Abbas
And what their bias
17:03
is, or what they're really into.
17:06  Magnus Strom
I think so, we're
17:06
all biased.
17:15  Ayo Abbas
We've had COVID for
17:15
the past 18 months, probably
17:20
more than that now, March last
17:20
year. How is that affected how
17:25
you've marketed yourself and
17:25
what you've done? Because you
17:28
were already online, weren't
17:28
you?
17:30  Magnus Strom
Yeah, it hasn't
17:30
actually changed anything for
17:35
us, which I suppose is quite
17:35
unusual. When COVID hit and
17:39
lockdown started with seven of
17:39
us in the practice, the whole
17:45
private residential has really
17:45
gone crazy. So we almost doubled
17:50
our size in two years. And
17:50
that's come with growing pains.
17:56
And we're working currently,
17:56
with a business consultant, it's
17:59
a bit of a restructure, and but
17:59
it's lots of excitement going on
18:02
and so on. The biggest challenge
18:02
for us has been to get the work
18:05
done, actually all the work that
18:05
we have, and the work that's
18:07
coming in. But it's not really
18:07
the pipeline of work coming in
18:13
that's the issue for us moment.
18:13
But in terms of keeping up the
18:16
marketing the biggest challenge
18:16
is content creation. How do you
18:21
keep create enough quality
18:21
content to put out on for
18:25
example, social media.
18:27  Ayo Abbas
And my question for
18:27
you is actually what's enough
18:30
for you, in your mind?
18:35  Magnus Strom
We had a period
18:35
when I posted on Instagram, for
18:37
example, we did a post every
18:37
single day. And we were really
18:41
active. And we could see we got,
18:41
you know, your following it just
18:45
increases so much, you could do
18:45
100 new followers a day
18:48
organically. And that's
18:48
extraordinary. Because then the
18:52
algorithm kicks in, and you
18:52
comment on the right things, and
18:58
you use the stories and you use
18:58
this and that and it really
19:04
starts to work hard. But lately,
19:04
we've been really, really busy
19:11
and never glamorous, busy, but
19:11
we've been fortunate to have a
19:15
lot of work on it has taken a
19:15
little bit of a back seat. But
19:21
we're gonna have so many
19:21
projects, we just photographed
19:24
new projects, we have loads of
19:24
images coming out soon. We have
19:27
three, four projects, we are in
19:27
CGI rendering at the moment. We
19:31
got another three, four projects
19:31
we're going to photograph next
19:33
year, so we're gonna have plenty
19:33
of content available. It's about
19:41
keeping the quality of the
19:41
content. I don't want to put out
19:43
stuff that I'm not happy with.
19:43
We can you can use stories in a
19:45
completely different way to post
19:45
things that are just like a
19:48
reflection of your site, etc.
19:48
And that works well but that's
19:55
more for your current followers,
19:55
I suppose rather than people who
20:00
don't follow you.
20:03  Ayo Abbas
Certainly, yes. I
20:03
guess that's the difficult.
20:07
Especially with Instagram,
20:07
there's so many different
20:09
formats, and it's always which
20:09
ones do you prioritise? And
20:12
which ones do you use? And like
20:12
you say it can be a beast in
20:16
itself, even just as one
20:16
platform. Do you use things like
20:20
LinkedIn? Or is that not your
20:20
platform? Is it literally
20:23
Pinterest and Instagram?
20:24  Magnus Strom
I actually
20:24
recently started doing more
20:26
LinkedIn. And as you said,
20:26
Facebook has dropped off the
20:32
face of the earth, I think.
20:33  Ayo Abbas
Oh they kill anything
20:33
organic, it doesn't work, it
20:36
just doesn't go anywhere.
20:37  Magnus Strom
You can post
20:37
something to Instagram and you
20:39  Ayo Abbas
It can be bitter,
20:39
yeah.
20:39
post it up, it probably goes up
20:39
on Facebook anyway, but it's not
20:42
something we actively monitor
20:42
and work on. And Twitter. I
20:48
think Twitter doesn't work for a
20:48
chitecture, in kind of that wo
20:52
k. It's great if you want to
20:52
ave a chat with people or have
20:54
moan. Because I think Twitter'
20:54
angry mainly, so I believ
20:59
when we started the business, w
20:59
built up a real following. And
21:03
we got followers and so on. B
21:03
t it's just kind of, for m
21:06
, it's not my thing.
21:15  Magnus Strom
Yeah, LinkedIn is
21:15
something we started doing a lot
21:18
more recently. And the
21:18
engagement we're getting from
21:20
that is pretty exciting.
21:25  Ayo Abbas
Which audiences are
21:25
you looking to connect to from
21:27
there, because it's a slightly
21:27
different audience to Instagram
21:29
isn't it?
21:30  Magnus Strom
I think that you
21:30
connect a lot with other
21:32
professionals. And it's a lot of
21:32
peer to peer. So again it's
21:36
about raising profile, and so
21:36
on. But it's hard to say as
21:41
well, I don't know enough about
21:41
the how the algorithm works,
21:44
because obviously, you got your
21:44
own account, and then you've got
21:46
a business account. We just
21:46
tried to grow that business
21:49
following a little bit. So we'll
21:49
see where that goes.
21:58  Ayo Abbas
Are there any
21:58
particular tools or systems that
22:01
you use for your marketing to
22:01
make it easier to do? What kind
22:05
of processes do you go through?
22:06  Magnus Strom
The only thing
22:06
that we did last year was that
22:09
we signed up to BowerBird. And
22:09
we put out a project and that
22:16
worked really well. The
22:16
difficulty perhaps was that we
22:21
were all suddenly like, oh, we
22:21
want to do this, but we all want
22:23
the exclusivity of it and so on.
22:23
And then if they didn't get it,
22:28
they weren't interested in
22:28
selling it. So I felt like you
22:30
still had to manage it quite a
22:30
lot. It's not just like, you can
22:33
just upload and off you go. I
22:33
did upload some old projects,
22:38
and just saw them kind of
22:38
getting republished, it was
22:41
quite interesting. And that
22:41
really didn't take any work.
22:45
Suddenly, you see it, you know,
22:45
popped up on Instagram, and then
22:48
someone's published it and on
22:48
their online web page or
22:52
something like that. But
22:52
BowerBird is really the only
22:58
kind of system that we use. But
22:58
I think that when we do publish
23:01
a project for something we
23:01
normally try to get a a print
23:06
exclusive. And a digital
23:06
exclusive before we let it free.
23:12
And the print exclusive, for
23:12
example, why would you want to
23:17
print exclusive in the
23:17
Architects Journal? I don't.
23:21
It might be
23:21
different for other people. But
23:21  Ayo Abbas
Some people do!
23:25
for me, I don't want to, our
23:25
clients don't read the
23:30
Architects Journal, do they?
23:30
They read the Financial Times'
23:34
How To Spend It or the home
23:34
supplement in The Times
23:37
magazine, or, Wallpaper or
23:37
something like that, that's wher
23:41
the excitement is for us.
23:44
So how have you
23:44
learned your marketing? How have
23:48
you come to the conclusions in
23:48
the strategy that you've come
23:51
to?
23:54  Magnus Strom
I think it's a
23:54
little bit of a combination of
23:56
trial and error. I think it's
23:56
also just sitting down and
24:02
thinking about where our clients
24:02
are, what kind of magazines they
24:06
read, and so on. And also, I
24:06
listen to podcasts all the time
24:14
when I'm out. Driving, for
24:14
example.
24:19  Ayo Abbas
So do I!
24:19  Magnus Strom
When I go to
24:19
client meetings, I listen to
24:21
podcasts. I've listened lots of
24:21
Seth Godin.
24:25  Ayo Abbas
He's got a lot of
24:25
podcasts, hasn't he?
24:27  Magnus Strom
Yeah, there's a
24:27
lot of nuggets in there that are
24:30
worth a lot, and also The
24:30
Architecture, Business of
24:33
Architecture. And, yeah, I think
24:33
that we listen to a lot of those
24:37
podcasts. And I've also done a
24:37
lot of reading multiple business
24:41
books, and all of that kind of
24:41
comes together.
24:44  Ayo Abbas
Have you got any
24:44
favourite books?
24:47  Magnus Strom
Yeah, This Is
24:47
Marketing by Seth Godin.
24:51  Ayo Abbas
I've not read it,
24:51
I'll have to admit.
24:53  Magnus Strom
There is...Gino
24:53
Wickman's - what's that one
24:58
called?
25:02  Ayo Abbas
I did put you on the
25:02
spot here. That's very nice.
25:05  Magnus Strom
Gino Wickman's
25:05
done a book that I read
25:06
recently. But it's more about
25:06
how to be the entrepreneur
25:10
business model. Very
25:10
interesting. And I also recently
25:14
read, last year, Greg McKeown's
25:14
Essentialism. I love that book.
25:23
Love that book.
25:24  Ayo Abbas
I'm gonna check those
25:24
out. I'll have a look, I don't
25:27
always read that many marketing
25:27
books.
25:29  Magnus Strom
Also, there's this
25:29
book called Surrounded By
25:32
Idiots.
25:34  Ayo Abbas
Oh, I think I've
25:34
heard you mentioned that before.
25:36  Magnus Strom
That's really
25:36
interesting, talking about
25:39
different personality types, and
25:39
how we react differently, how we
25:44
think differently, and so on. I
25:44
suppose it's more business
25:49
related, in a way, you know,
25:49
he's helped me in understanding
25:53
clients and staff as well and
25:53
how people are different.
25:57  Ayo Abbas
But also, I think
25:57
that comes into marketing
25:59
anyway. Because people react
25:59
differently to different things.
26:01
And I think understanding that
26:01
whole kind of business angle, I
26:04
think, is so important, because
26:04
it's like, actually, why am I
26:06
gonna do awards when it cost me
26:06
10k to get there? And, you know,
26:09
I get more bang for my buck from
26:09
this activity? I think all of
26:13
that it's all connected to the
26:13
business and what you choose to
26:15
do. And I think there's always
26:15
this connection, and it
26:18
shouldn't be disjointed at all.
26:18
And so in terms of if there was
26:24
a practice starting out, and you
26:24
had to give them one tip, in
26:27
terms of getting their marketing
26:27
going, and to be successful,
26:30
what would it be?
26:32  Magnus Strom
I don't think it's
26:32
a single kind of line for it.
26:34
But I think that the usual
26:34
cliche things, you've got to be
26:37
authentic, you've got to know
26:37
what you're saying, what's your
26:40
message? Finding your voice. And
26:40
it can be so different depending
26:46
on what you're doing. But for
26:46
us, I always had an interest in
26:51
private houses. And very early
26:51
on, we decided that we weren't
26:53
going to try on any other work,
26:53
because we've done some other
26:56
work, but it just wasn't what we
26:56
should be doing. So, at the
27:02
moment, our message is very
27:02
portfolio based. But then, some
27:07
people have a message that's
27:07
completely process based. But
27:10
coupled with our portfolio based
27:10
message, I think that we're
27:14
really developing what we call a
27:14
Strm way of working, this is
27:17
the way we work. So when we
27:17
attract clients who say, this is
27:20
the way we work, we know this
27:20
works, very often client comes
27:24
now I want to do it this way, I
27:24
want to do that. And we just now
27:27
say no, because we don't want to
27:27
have the fight anymore. On
27:31
projects, and sometimes 90% of
27:31
the time, they can't get or I
27:34
completely understand that it
27:34
makes sense. Sometimes it
27:37
doesn't work, and then they go
27:37
away. So then we feel like we
27:42
kind of missed out on you know,
27:42
we've skipped a bad project,
27:45
perhaps.
27:48  Ayo Abbas
So there's your
27:48
audience and your message and
27:54
being authentic.
27:56  Magnus Strom
Yes, and then the
27:56
other thing is, the really
27:59
important thing is the quality
27:59
of the work you put out there,
28:03
for me that's absolutely key.
28:03
And when we started out, we knew
28:09
what we wanted to do. And so we
28:09
kind of we stayed small for
28:12
quite a long time. And we turned
28:12
down work, because it wasn't
28:15
what we wanted to do. And we
28:15
said, well, if I do take on
28:18
this, we're going to fill the
28:18
office with work we don't want
28:20
to do and then we might not be
28:20
able to take on the work
28:22
actually want to do. And also if
28:22
we did that work to stay in
28:25
business, then we didn't publish
28:25
it. I know some other people who
28:31
set up at the same time as we
28:31
did. And they grew a lot quicker
28:35
than we did, but now we've kind
28:35
of gone the other way where we
28:39
have overtaken them in a way
28:39
because we have a much more
28:42
defined niche that we're working
28:42
in, and we're stronger and
28:45
better positioned in that niche.
28:45
So I would just say get a focus
28:49
on what it is you want to do,
28:49
what your tone of voice is, and
28:54
what your message is and then
28:54
just really kind of work on
28:56
that. Don't scatter, don't do a
28:56
scattergun approach when you can
29:00
do a rifle shot.
29:04  Ayo Abbas
On that lovely,
29:04
lovely note. Thank you so much
29:07
for your time, Magnus. It's been
29:07
awesome interviewing you. Thank
29:10
you.
29:10  Magnus Strom
Thank you.
29:18  Ayo Abbas
Thanks so much for
29:18
listening to the latest episode
29:20
of Marketing In Times of
29:20
Recovery, and I'm your host Ayo
29:22
Abbas. If you want to find out
29:22
more about the bi weekly show do
29:25
check out the show notes which
29:25
will give you more information
29:27
about who the guests are and all
29:27
the things we've covered. And if
29:32
you're listening on Apple or
29:32
Spotify, make sure you hit the
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subscribe button so you don't
29:34
miss out on an episode. Until
29:37
next time, bye.