Cliché isn't always a bad thing.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. If you love something, set it free. And that love is a many splendored thing.

My love for design is most certainly a many splendored thing. Branding and strategy, web and digital media, environmental and experience design. Of which we at Function: have been doing a lot lately. It's great fun, flexing creativity in ever-exciting ways.

But personally, I'm missing the smell of the press room something awful...

(Picture me pouting here.)

'Cause I'm a true paper-lover. I love typefaces and imagery and the way ink forms them on the page. I love printing and printed things. I love the feel of paper in my hand and guessing what stock was used. I love flipping pages and the flow of design in doing so.

So I thought I'd share a little print trivia, courtesy of Wikipedia:

In printing, a cliché was a printing plate cast from moveable type. This is also called a stereotype. When letters were set one at a time, it made sense to cast a phrase used repeatedly as a single slug of metal. "Cliché" came to mean such a ready-made phrase. The French word "cliché" comes from the sound made when the matrix is dropped into molten metal to make a printing plate.



angela k mitchell
art director

FUNCTION:
we’re into building things through marketing, design and public relations

Social Media: Best Practices for the BPM

Ever heard of FUMIFU? I am a big proponent of acronyms and this one stuck with me. I can’t take credit for it, but FUMIFU stands for: First Use Must Inspire Future Use. One of the goals for your Social Media efforts should be to create customer loyalty: give customers a reason to continue visiting your pages/profiles and following your tweets, posts and status updates. The following are some guidelines that will help keep your audience engaged and coming back for more.

Come Original – Provide something exclusive that helps you stand out against the crowd. Social Media may be new but it’s already becoming a crowded channel so it’s imperative to have a unique angle.

Just the facts, ma’am – nature of social media lends itself to opinions and a casual voice but information should be fact-based and come from a reliable source.  If your content is backed up by a reputable source, you will gain further credibility.

Post with "posthaste" – Post early and post often. Update frequently. Unless your target audience is history buffs, nobody wants to read old news. An interesting topic means little unless it’s also timely. Content is being updated at such a frantic pace that the shelf life of status updates and posts is very short. Before long, your interesting story will be buried so make sure to get it online while it’s still fresh.

Does your message pass the Social Media REST test? – Relevant, Engaging, Strategic, Targeted content. Deliver content you know matters to your audience in a way they can relate in the language they speak. Can you tell I love acronyms? This one is my own creation. Feel free to use it as long as you reference me and link to this post!

Seriously, have fun! – Try to make your social media efforts entertaining, engaging and enjoyable for your audience. If you can post unique, factual, timely, relevant information, take it to the next level by making it actually fun. Social Media is rapidly becoming a cluttered space already, so the enjoyment factor could well be the difference in a potential customer following you or one of your competitors. Don’t be afraid to be playful or use humor to help set yourself apart.
 

ted hettick
business development manager  
FUNCTION: we’re into building things through marketing, design and public relations

Colorwheel at Function:!





As a business that works with the architecture and design community, Function:’s office space is definitely walking the walk. The building that was once a candle factory has been transformed into an open floor plan, urban loft-style facility that makes a fitting home for our graphic designers and marketing team. From our work and our lives, something that we all know here is that a building is never just a building. Spaces take on lives of their own and learning to act and interact within them is just a small part of what we can do here in our home community of Decatur.
So, in the evenings, when Function: isn’t conducting business and occupying the exposed brick and window-filled studio space, the building at 508 Howard Street has a second exciting life: an art gallery. Though the space has been used many times for professional and commercial shows, the favorite event by far is the Colorwheel show, happening this Thursday.
This time it’s not the space so much as the artists that make this show special—they are all children ages 5-12! For the third year in a row, Function: is hosting this local after-school art studio’s spring show, and this year the theme is Greek Mythology and Art.
A collection of paintings, sculpture, pottery, mixed-media prints and some fashion design will be on display for the community and families of the artists, complete with artist bios on the wall next to their selected work.
The gallery space here has been decked out with dozens of gorgeous pieces, and we at Function: are all so glad to be able to contribute to these young artists’ glorious moment in the spotlight.
jessi probus Public Relations
FUNCTION:we’re into building things through marketing, design and public relations

Simple Things in Life

This past weekend was Mother's Day. My eight year old daughter loves to invent things. For Mothers Day she went out in the backyard and filled up a plastic water bottle full of Honey Suckle - added water and green food coloring and designed a label that said "Air Freshener" and now I have a large bottle of sweet smelling air freshener. Sometimes it is the simple answers in life that bring the most joy.

Internship Expectations: Concluding Remarks from Function's Spring Interns

Jessi:


Before coming to Function: my experience with work and internships was primarily in Journalism. I wrote for newspapers and magazines and have a degree in Creative Writing and English, so when I saw the ad for this position proposing the opportunity to write, I knew I wanted in. Little did I know that Journalism and PR writing are two different animals.


I admit that it took me a while to get comfortable in this new field. I knew how to research and write leads and conduct interviews and tell the difference between news writing and features writing. But if you asked me what the contents of a press release were or how to assemble a media kit, I would have given you a funny look and spouted something about content and bias and continued on my way.


Joslyn, our Director of PR here, gave me some sage wisdom during my first few weeks that helped me bridge the gap between my two areas of work: “When you’re writing a press release, include everything that a journalist would need if they were writing an article on the subject.” That I could understand. At last, my knowledge of angles and backgrounds and credibility was not for naught!


The biggest result of this experience, aside from the learning and the connections and the introduction of a whole new architecture and design lexicon into my vocabulary, is that I will be staying on at Function: this summer to continue my work. Hopefully, I am not done learning and I can help the incoming interns figure out their place here like I did.


Jessica:


An intern is a funny creature. As an intern, you’re always trying to make sure that you do everything right, because you think everyone's going to notice if you screw up. You furiously study the industry terminology because you don't want anyone to know that you once confused BPM with BIM. You pay attention to every little detail, from how you sit to how loud you speak, and how to greet your boss to how to sign your emails. But when it’s all over, what you realize as an intern is that it was never really about them watching you - it was about you watching them.


Every time I came into Function:, I sat at my desk and just watched (don't worry guys, I did work too). I learned how good coworkers interact. I realized that sometimes, things just don’t go according to plan. But when that happens, the people at Function: somehow know just how to make it a little better for the person who had a rough morning or a late night. I've seen what it's like to get really excited about a job, a client, or even a potential client. I've noticed ambition, encouragement, support, frustration, laughter, barking (mostly from the dogs in the office on Fridays).


But most valuably, I've realized that I no longer worry about knowing everything or saying the right thing -instead, I've just worked hard and let myself learn from the amazing people that I've met at Function:. And they have become my role models, mentors and friends. They have given me more than I had ever expected when I began this internship – they gave me serious tasks, critiqued my resume, introduced me to my first contacts in the PR world, helped me with my applications and were just as excited as I was when I got my first post-graduation job. And somehow, they’ve transformed a girl who can’t remember the last time she held a hammer into someone who can happily chat away about the perplexity of building certifications, the value of retrofitting and the various types of wallboard.


Allie:


I’ve never interned before. I just didn’t think there were really many internships available to English majors. I mean, English majors have a reputation for being flighty academics, sitting in an ivory tower researching irrelevant theories all day; what possible use in the real world could we be? On a whim I decided to apply for the internship at Function:. The email that was distributed at GA State University was targeted to English majors, and I decided I was just as qualified as the next person. When Function: agreed and hired me, I was so excited.


I went into my first day with a lot of inhibitions and pre-conceived notions about internships, though. I imagined a lot of coffee- making, a lot of busy work and filing. I imagined a The Devil Wears Prada-style boss, and mountains of paperwork to be hauled about on my back. I imagined 4 AM calls about deadlines to meet, and I imagined no one knowing my name.


This internship was quite the opposite of any of that. I only made coffee once or twice, and that was for my own consumption. Never once did I do busy work, or filing for that matter. Jody and Joslyn are possibly the sweetest ladies in the world, and there isn’t even a glimmer of the devil (though maybe some Prada!) in them. Sometimes I hauled around piles of magazines, but they always allowed me to use my hands rather than my back. Here at Function: 4 AM is for sleeping, not working, and one of the first things Jody did was print out pictures of each intern and post them on the fridge with our names underneath; everyone knew who we were.


Apart from proving my movie-based ideas of internships wrong, working here at Function: taught me so much. Going into this, I knew almost nothing about Public Relations. I assumed all PR people were party planners following around celebrities. Instead, I found that almost everyone and everything needs a good PR person. I learned how to write a press release, and how it gets distributed. I learned what a webinar is, and that it takes incredibly quick typing to accurately transcribe one. I helped Function: develop a social media campaign, and learned that Twitter and blogs have uses beyond fun. Compiling clipbooks became a regular activity for a while, and AEC publications became leisure reading. I lost my fear of email and over-communicating, and found that I really enjoy talking to people on the phone that I don’t know (weird, right?). A side-by-side comparison of my serving job to my internship made me more glad than ever that I will soon graduate into having a real job like this. A job based on mutual respect and using my brain is a possibility this internship showed me, and has lessened my fears of the real world.


Interning here at Function: has been a fantastic experience. I learned so much and grew a lot, both personally and professionally. I made some great contacts, and some great friends. Most importantly, I developed a sense of confidence in myself and in my ability to succeed in a professional atmosphere. For all of these things, I will be forever grateful to Function:. I wish future interns the best of luck!


FUNCTION:we’re into building things through marketing, design and public relations

Still questioning how to use Social Media? READ THIS POST!

Sure Social Media is a fun way to kill time with pointless status updates, playing games, sharing pictures, reuniting with old friends and keeping tabs on “the Ex” (or future Ex), but how can Building Product Manufacturers use social media for business purposes?

• brand positioning, thought leadership and marketing communications
• engage in conversation with and provide content to: customers; potential customers; distributors; business partners and alliances; groups and associations; not to mention segments who influence your customers decisions (we will help you with strategy for this)
• complementary, interactive extension of a company website, contributing to a successful Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaign

Think of social media as a quick way to share information without going through the hassle of a website update. At its simplest, Social Media shortens the distance between BPM and customer versus traditional communication channels. It presents the opportunity to interact with existing and potential customers, impact specification decisions, expand the reach of brand influence and increase sales.

Tactically, BPMs can use Social Media to share the latest company/product info and receive feedback that can be used to increase customer satisfaction, aid in product launches and refine brand positioning and messaging. Providing solid content is critical so make sure you’re posting info relevant to your audience. For professionals in the building and construction industry like architects, builders, contractors, and facility managers, these audiences are using social media to find information they can relate to their own work. So think about posting case studies or examples of the product in a real-life setting, photos, interviews with installers, specs, warranty information, etc.

Regardless of what type of content you make available, make sure it isn’t available elsewhere online or you may frustrate the user, who expects something different than what they can get just as easily from your website. If they wanted to download a product brochure, they’d just go to your website so don’t use Social Media as another “press room” with static press releases and product info. Using Social Media to regurgitate the same information already included on your website would not only be counterproductive but possibly irritating for users looking to find new info.

You're already reading our Blog so you have a good example here but if you're looking for more inspiration on how to use other Social Media sites, check out our pages at the links below.


ted hettick  
business development manager  
FUNCTION: we’re into building things
 
twitter:@tedhettick
company twitter: @FunctionAtlanta
facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Atlanta-GA/FUNCTION/59353898297
linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1842463