911 Memorial

Because our company is focused on the building and construction industry in
the US, we are always looking for new buildings that have either embraced an
innovative construction technique or perhaps a new energy saving
technology. As we approach the tenth anniversary of 9/11 I have anticipated
over the years what might be built in place of the twin towers. I have
often wondered what structure could we possibly put in a place where so much
devastation happened and so many lives were lost. How would we as a nation
ever agree on what that structure would look like? Michael Arad, a partner
at Handel Architects won the competition to design the Memorial.

In my opinion, the winning design was the perfect answer to so many
challenges. What could possibly fill the shoes of the former World Trade
Center? Nothing. The void that was left, the void of the lives that were
lost, in a sense will fill the space so beautifully. Arad's design features
two large waterfalls and a reflecting pool which fill the exact footprint of
the twin towers. More than 400 trees are planned for the plaza to surround
the Memorial - signifying hope and renewal.

During our travels, I hope we all have an opportunity to visit this sacred
spot to reflect on our own lives, lives lost and the beauty of the future.


Remember pencils and paper?

I sure do.

I have a passion for the tactile. Paper, printed things, books, making and sending cards. I love letterpress and bookcloth and handwriting and signatures.

It's been a bumpy road, these past 10 years designing for web and other media, in addition to print. Call me old-fashioned. But I get better year after year. And I'm now actually becoming more productive by using files and apps for notes and to-dos. Not only does it cut down on paper use - sustainability is another passion of mine - it's also easily searchable, depending on what you use.

But I digress..

I love handwriting and signatures, making and sending cards. I miss the days when I received more personal mail in my mailbox. Like most kids, I had a few pen pals growing up. And like most romantics, I have saved them, neatly packed away in a box in my closet. There are also notes from my high school best friend that we passed in class, little notes my mom would send to my college dorm with much needed money, letters from the grandmother after whom I was named, and love letters from all the old boyfriends.

But it's all precious stuff from my past. The present is all about emails, text messages, tweets and evites, not cards that are signed with a pencil and mailed with a stamp. It makes me a little sad and a lot nostalgic.

So when I sat down to make my resolutions for 2011 in January, one of them was to reconnect with the people I love. Now, I add this clause: by sending proper paper letters and cards!

What got me thinking about this today?

Good Magazine. September's 30-Day Challenge - "a monthly attempt to live better" - begins today. The challenge this month is to connect with people. For this one, they're offering up daily tasks to help get folks out of the digital rut and have some real interaction. The first task? Send someone a postcard.

I think it's a stellar idea.

Now, off to write a postcard to my mom.

angela mitchell
art director
FUNCTION: we’re into building things through marketing, design and public relations

Function: Introduces its 2011-2012 Industry Advisory Board

Diverse Group of Professionals to Bring Strategic Insight to Building Product Manufacturers

ATLANTA, August 9, 2011 – Function:, a marketing agency that specializes in reaching the architecture, building and design community, introduced today its 2011-2012 Industry Advisory Board. The board, comprised of a national group of innovative and well-respected architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) professionals, was developed to serve as a “think tank” that can address the real-world concerns of building product manufacturers as they develop products, tools, systems and communications initiatives.

The Industry Advisory Board is one of many unique resources that enables Function: to strategically guide product manufacturers with industry trends, new product rollouts, and design/aesthetics. Beginning this year, the Industry Advisory Board has been expanded to include the perspective of contractors, builders and designers as well as architects.

“As Function: continues to evolve, so does our Industry Advisory Board. By bringing together a balanced cross-section of our clients’ target audiences, we are able to offer a well-rounded board with varying industry perspectives,” said Dana Castle, principal and director of strategy for Function:. “Function:’s Advisory Board is one of many ways our marketing specialization adds value – bringing manufacturers closer to their customers and helping them better understand not just what their customers think but how they think. With the great success of our previous Advisory Boards, we are excited to work with this new group of industry leaders.”

Understanding how important the trade audiences’ professional knowledge, opinions and expertise are to product manufacturers, Function: receives board recommendations from leading industry editors and publishers, then hand selects the board members for a one-year tenure. Board members will work closely with Function: to provide subject matter expertise and guidance on how manufacturers can best meet the needs of their customers.

Function:’s 2011-2012 Industry Advisory Board includes:
• Laura Davis, AIA IFDA, Vice President, Director of Marketing atHPD Architecture
• Carl Seville, NARI CR, LEED® AP, President and founder of Seville Consulting LLC
• Megan Tinkler, Owner of Megan Leanne Interior Design
• Stephen Denton, RA, LEED® AP, Project Architect at Stanley Beaman & Sears
• Brian Zeis, President and founder of Anjer Construction

New Study on Marketing Products to Architects, Builders and Contractors

It's no secret that product manufacturer websites are a key resource for product specification. On the other hand, did you know claims from the manufacturer are also the least trusted by your customers?

Function: has compiled key findings from recent research projects we have conducted into an easy to read Executive Summary available for download from our website -

The ABCs of Product Marketing: Effectively Communicating to the Trade Audience in the Building and Construction Industry.

This is not a boring, small-type white paper. The document contains insight on Architects, Builders and Contractors preferences in:

• Communication
• Information Resources
• Product Attributes
• Brand Name Products

As a marketing leader in the building and construction industry, we take pride in being a resource for the latest trends affecting product manufacturers.
ted hettick
director of client development
business analyst

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

Google+ and other stuff

The other day the Function: PR team was sitting around brainstorming ideas for a new client. This client has retained Function: to help with social media efforts and we were trying to think of all the different social media outlets that would make the most sense for this client, their messages and the audience they want to reach. Now, I like to think of myself as a fairly savvy person when it comes to technology and social media. I mean, my iPhone has become another appendage and I can certainly Tweet with the best of em. But during this particular discussion two of my younger counterparts were literally schooling me on various tools, applications and so on.

Not to age myself, but I remember a life before the Internet, Google, Facebook, Twitter and even email. I remember using AOL Instant Messenger (dial-up of course) and thinking it was amazing that I could have conversations with friends without picking up the phone. Shoot, I even had a beeper.

The launch of Google+ has made me think about the numerous social media outlets that are currently popular, were once popular (MySpace anybody?) and continue to break into the market. I know what I like to use and want to test out for personal reasons, but it is always interesting to see how these tools can be used to help enhance a client's business, secure more brand awareness and reach more customers. Not every outlet is right for everybody and at the end of the day a successful social media strategy comes from knowing your audience and how to reach them, and above all, making sure that the information you are sharing is useful.

What is your social media strategy? Do you use it for business purposes or personal reasons? Or both?

Writing with Someone Else's Voice

Having graduated from Agnes Scott College in May with a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing, I wasn’t sure how my education would inform my Public Relations work. That is, I wasn’t sure until I received my first assignment. I had to learn the voices of two of our clients. What was their corporate tone? How did they present themselves to the world and how could I emulate that in my first press release? I remembered working with the poet Natasha Trethewey. She told my class when reading great writing we should break it down and figure out how it worked. This

breakdown could be as thorough as noun/verb/adjective, or as analytical as image followed by comparison. But the exercise remained the same: to really understand why the voice was effective, it was important to break it down. I looked at our previous press releases and a skeleton emerged. Suddenly it wasn’t a magician’s trick of becoming the person I was writing for, it was a puzzle I was taking apart so I could refit new information in a similar pattern and voice.

Public Relations has proved to be the perfect outlet post-Creative Writing and English because I work with the same principles that have guided my writing for the previous four years, but I’m able to flex those muscles in new ways. I can continue to work on my craft while teaching it new, more profitable tricks. I have enjoyed my time at Function:, a place where I can both contribute positively to the company and learn.


Clever. Subtle. Clean. Just a few of the words used to describe the three advertisements designed by Function: that were honored in Architectural Record’s 2011 Advertising Excellence Awards. From more than 150 eligible ads, less than 25 print advertisements were recognized as the most effective advertisements in the building and design marketplace.

The advertisements were judged in two categories: content and graphic design. Here is what they had to say about Function:’s designs:

greenguard ad honored with best in class award by arch record

GREENGUARD Environmental Institute
“Best in Class”

“This ad is so simple and extremely subtle,” said the jury. “Very clever! The further you are away from the ad, the more there is to see. “

Sometimes it’s the things you can’t see that can be the most harmful. GREENGUARD understands and addresses this in their winning advertisement. Designed to “illustrate the intangible,” the advertisement invites readers to take a closer look. The primary use of blue allows the ad to stand out in the publication.  And the faint wording interspersed throughout the visual underlines the overarching message of the campaign.

certainteed ad honored with winner award by arch record

CertainTeed Gypsum

When CertainTeed developed a high-quality Gypsum board that combines enhanced acoustic performance with mold and moisture resistance and fire-resistant properties, they wanted to create an advertisement demonstrating the unique properties of the product through a compelling visual that stood apart from the competition. In a departure from the company’s usual brand/product image, the CeratinTeed silentFX advertisement conveys the beneficial properties of the product through a conceptual image rather than a product shot.

In describing their reasons for selecting this advertisement as a winner judges said, “It’s very clean and simple and shows movement. It does a good job of designing around sound.”

kawneer ad honored with best in class award by arch record 

Kawneer Company, Inc.
“Best in Class”

Featured in the category, “Demonstrate How it Works,” the winning advertisement was developed to support the launch of Kawneer’s innovative Versoleil™ SunShades. The design denotes movement, emphasizing the product’s ability to adjust based on sun angle and building orientation. The minimal use of color throughout the ad allows the reader to focus on the product and message. And, the simple use of imagery throughout helps Kawneer’s Versoleil™ SunShades ad stand apart from others in the magazine.

Judges noted: “In this ad, you focus on the image which implies movement. The minimal use of red font highlighting the name of the product and company was intentional and quite powerful. The composition was clean and simple and the text was in a graphic block.”

Advertisements qualifying for the award were published the first three months of 2011 in Architectural Record, in the January/February issue of Greensource, or ran online during the same time period. Six leading architects from throughout the U.S. made up the final selection committee and winners were honored May 13 in New Orleans.

Function: Designs Receive Top Honors in Architectural Record's Excellence in Advertising Awards

Three advertisements designed by Function: will be recognized byArchitectural Record in the publication’s 15th annual Excellence in Advertising Awards. The awards are presented jointly by McGraw Hill Construction and Architectural Record to recognize the most effective ads in the building and design marketplace.

The winning advertisements – developed for Kawneer, Greenguard and CertainTeed – not only reflect Function:’s creativity, but also its in-depth understanding of the building and construction industry and how to effectively address architects and designers. Judged for their content and graphic presentation, winners were selected by a jury of architects and designers.  

Construct. Build. Evolve.

Pictures tell a thousand words.

Flashmob! Tomorrow! Build the Future!

Construct Build Evolve is upon us!

Tomorrow morning at 11am, we from Function: will be flashmobbing in Piedmont Park, weather permitting, with local architects and the community at large to answer one question:

How would you build the future?

Come see us!

(Rain location will be the Function: office.)

angela mitchell
art director
FUNCTION:we’re into building things through marketing, design and public relations

Mobile Apps for Building Product Manufacturers

During one of our Construct Knowledge Series Webinars, an editor asserted that 75% of information would be gathered via a smart phone in the future. I do think this is a trend to watch as the mobile space becomes more widely adopted. However, as you know, building and construction is an industry that is typically a laggard in terms of embracing new technologies. While apps are the cool trendy thing to do, here is some info to support pausing any development of mobile applications:

I recently asked one of our architectural advisory board members who is very keen on industry trends (Susie Spivey from TVS Design) if she, her colleagues and industry friends are using apps developed by BPMs. She said not at all, she isn’t seeing it yet and despite the "wow factor", thinks it’s a wasted investment. She said the recession hasn’t helped this fact in that many large firms like TVS are no longer covering expenses for employee phones. Meaning two things: 1) the user is less likely to download a work-related application onto their personal device and 2) they are less likely to have a high-tech phone that supports apps like the iPhone since the employer isn’t footing the bill.

Susie pulled out her phone which was an older model blackberry and said she suspects about 3/4 of the staff at TVS has a device like hers or older – meaning they couldn’t even download an app if they wanted to. She said there is still only a very small % of her peers that own an iPhone. So while mobile apps are trendy and might contribute to brand awareness on some level (something to talk about, a reason to engage your customers - “have you tried our visualization/calculator/etc. app?”), the reality is mobile applications are not being used widely and not yet a viable means of getting your products specified. Susie said she has seen some cool and fascinating apps released by big international manufacturers, however the functionality has not caught up with the technology yet and until this happens, the A+D community will be content looking up products, specs and gathering info via traditional methods such as manufacturer websites or internal libraries.

That’s a good overview on the A+D perspective toward mobile apps, but what about contractors who are out on construction sites and away from their computer a lot? Seems like it would be a good fit for this segment, but it isn’t yet. To quantify the trend of specifiers using the mobile space, we asked about the professional use of mobile devices among contractors in a recent survey. You may recall an email from me about the industry study we just completed “targeting the contractor in 2011”. Here’s what we found:

None of the contractors who responded to the survey are using their mobile phones during the course of their work and only 3% use a laptop. When they are accessing electronic tools provided by a manufacturer, whether it is a stand-alone application, a widget or program on the manufacturer website, they are using them while they are in the office on their computer (82%).

If you are a building product manufacturer considering allocating some of your marketing budget toward development of a slick new mobile application, remember that unless your target audience includes consumers, your customers are not likely to be using apps at this time. Simply put, your resources are better spent elsewhere.

ted hettick

director of client development
business analyst

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

Have you ever wondered how interior building products affect your work?...

...so have we. That's why we created this survey. If you work in a building, manage a building facility or work in building maintenance, we want to hear what you have to say!

Building Occupants: http://bit.ly/holIKA

Building Maintenance: http://bit.ly/eHAwxR

jessi probus

public relations specialist
business analyst

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

PRESS RELEASE: Simpson Strong-Tie Names Function: as its Media Agency of Record

ATLANTA, GA (January 6, 2011) - Function:, an integrated marketing agency that specializes in the building and construction industry, has been named the media agency of record for Simpson Strong-Tie, one of the largest suppliers of structural building products in the world. Through this relationship, Function: will conduct market research and analysis, develop a comprehensive and targeted placement campaign, and conduct plan negotiations for the company’s on and offline advertising placements and value-added elements.

“Through our marketing and communications efforts we aim to educate our customers about our full range of products and how they help create safer, stronger homes and buildings as well as reinforce our commitment to customer service,” said Shelby Lentz, marketing communications manager for Simpson Strong-Tie. “Function:’s in-depth understanding of our target audience will not only help increase our brand presence, but also ensure our messages reach the right people.”

As an integrated communications agency, Function: uses an innovative approach to work efficiently and tactically, engaging key influencers, prospects and internal conduits through a range of vehicles and touch points. By cultivating relationships with target groups – including architects, contractors, facility managers and related media – Function: is able to tailor their marketing strategies to each client’s most important audience. 

“At Function:, we believe our biggest asset for any client is our knowledge of key audience segments and we have spent years understanding the processes that contribute to product specification and sales,” said Dana Castle, principal and director of strategy for Function:. “It’s this knowledge that will allow us to meet the needs of Simpson Strong-Tie and we look forward to great success together.”

Simpson Strong-Tie has a comprehensive product portfolio, which includes structural connectors, Strong-Wall® prefabricated shearwalls, Anchor Tiedown Systems for multi-story buildings, Quik Drive® auto-feed screw driving systems and Anchor Systems® anchors and fasteners for concrete and masonry. Simpson Strong-Tie® products are used in a range of applications, including commercial and residential buildings. The company, founded more than 50 years ago, is recognized for its commitment to innovation, quality and engineering. 

Media Contact: Joslyn Fagan

Why I love Twitter (as a Tweet)

200M accounts. 140 characters. The ability 2 follow businesses & celebrities. Share information & expand a brand. Images & news. A few reasons I luv twttr. wht abt U?

P.S. Follow Function: on Twitter @FunctionAtlanta.

Stick-to-it-ness and lightning bolts

There's a fine balance to success. One really must be steadfast and committed; you gotta see it through. But one must also be open and willing to change, to adapt, to roll with the punches.

For me, tenacity can easily become stubbornness. And once it does, I have to wait it out, until I have that hit-over-the-head, lightning-bolt idea that breaks it all wide open. And I think it's this way for most of us, creatives and business folk alike.

In our weekly yoga class yesterday, our instructor relayed the idea of Shakti, or the divine creative force of the universe - think Star Wars - in a way I'd not heard before. She said, "when you're born, Shakti is breathed into your body, and it is breathed out when you die. So every breath you take feeds your Shakti."

Breath is persistent. You can't just stop doing it. (Duh.)

But we all have a tendency to breathe lightly, shallowly, not fully and deeply. We slump over our computer keyboards, squint into emails, rising from our desks only to grab a soda or gossip at the water fountain. We tend to unconsciously avoid feeding our own little piece of Shakti, our own creative life force. And we wonder why a particular project, venture or idea isn't succeeding.

It has to be fed. You have to buckle down, breathe deeply, stir up your Shakti and run with those lightning-bolt ideas it brings. You have to cultivate your stick-to-it-ness in order to reap the benefits adaptation brings.

Ryan McGinness, a very modern and graphic American painter, said this:

I think there is something to be said for ‘stick-to-it-ness.’ You have got to be in it to win it. ... When you realize that you just have to do what you do and not worry about whether or not it fits the mold or a model of what art is, then you’re truly making innovative or breatkthrough — and at the very least honest — work.

I think this is the secret not only to creativity, but to innovations and successes in all realms. And it hit me yesterday after yoga, this is what Function: strives to do every day, with every initiative for every client. We certainly don't fit any mold or model. We take it all in, swish it around, and come out with the good stuff. We dig out creative solutions by any means necessary. We keep ourselves open to inspiration while our noses are firmly to the grindstone. We seek balance as well as success.

So take a deep breath, settle into yourself and make something awesome.

angela mitchell
art director
FUNCTION:we’re into building things through marketing, design and public relations

Introducing the Construct Knowledge Marketing Exchange

If you're familiar with Function:, you know we are always up on the latest trends in marketing building products (and often creating some of these trends). We recently completed a pair of industry studies, one on targeting the contractor in 2011 and another on marketing building products in 2011.

As a marketing leader in the building and construction industry, Function: believes sharing knowledge from these findings and other relevant market trends is beneficial to our clients and the industry as a whole. Over the course of these studies, many participants expressed interest in not only seeing the results but also learning about the latest best practices in marketing building products.

Based on this demand, Function: is creating The Construct Knowledge Marketing Exchange, a live interactive meeting space/virtual forum for small groups of non-competing marketers of building products to come together to discuss marketing best practices and trends, share successes, insights and ideas, listen and learn from each other.

Facilitated by Function:, participants will login to view discussion topics and meeting agenda, slides, etc. on screen and can use their computer speakers or call-in via phone to discuss with their peers. We are keeping the groups small to allow for everyone to get an opportunity to talk. We expect the Exchange to last about an hour and sessions will be scheduled depending on participants availability.

Interested Building Product Manufacturers please email ted@functionatl.com with their company and product category/division
and timeframe that best fits your schedule. Function: assembles the participants into groups of non-competing manufacturers, organizes the scheduling, meeting agenda/discussion topics and then communicates back to the group prior to the Exchange.

We are very excited about the Exchange and look forward to developing it into a helpful resource for the industry.

ted hettick
director of client development
business analyst

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

Living in Enronia?

A recent article on the Harvard Business Review Blog argues that the early failures of energy-giant Enron are similar to those plaguing the current global economy. Author Umar Haque says that before Enron’s spectacular demise, before the scandal and the bankruptcy and “creative accounting fraud,” was a fundamental and perhaps not entirely purposeful misstatement of their benefits and costs that skewed incentives for investors early on in their financial misguiding. Similarly, he says, in the atrophy of real profits and capital progress, the global economy has taken to undercounting its costs and overcounting its benefits, risking a similar flailing downfall to the once-great Enron or any corporation that took the same destructive path.

Haque’s main argument is that Enron’s biggest problem wasn’t their corruption or their fiscal strategy, but the way they represented themselves; the way they went about their marketing—to investors, to the media, to other businesses and eventually to consumers. Without undergoing an extensive economics or business refresher course, this could be a tough argument to dismantle, but one simple reaction to his general idea is this: could better marketing have saved Enron? And further, is marketing a way to subvert this future crisis in other sectors of our deeply-flawed but potentially resilient global economy?

It’s certainly something to think about.

jessi probus

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

Construct. Build. Evolve.

At Function: our focus is reaching architects and designers. We're always faced with the challenge of uniquely marketing and promoting our clients' products to this audience, but now we've decided to create a challenge of our own. A depressed economy have made for some tough years in the industry, but we want to move past that and look at the future. We want to know how architects would want to build it. What they see in the future for themselves and for their communities.

So, this Spring, we are inviting architects, designers, contractors, students and our neighbors to join us for “Construct. Build. Evolve.” and answer the question: how would you build the future? During the event we will be featuring birdhouses constructed by architects from recycled materials and building product samples, which will “house” participants’ responses to the question. By hosting this thought experiment via a community event, we are hoping to connect the architecture and design community with new ideas and fresh insights, and learn more about how we can all shape our future.

The best part of this event, for me, is seeing the motivation by everyone in the studio. We love doing great work, but even more, we relish in doing work with a meaning. This event is all of that and more. It has been a wonderful team building experience, bringing together all we do from inspiring marketing and design to articulate PR and event coordination. It's something we all strongly believe in and the determination has been incredibly motivating. It's amazing how a single idea can grow with such strength when you truly believe in something.

We brainstormed the idea over the past months, and it grew and grew. Joslyn and Jessi had brilliant thoughts as to how we can promote it, from social media including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to traditional outreach. Their motivation connected us with the Atlanta AIA chapter and NAHB. They continue to identify new avenues of reach.

Angela headed up the design, and wow, did she embrace it. Her motivation has been inspiring. Starting with the branding and naming, she took it on. Her passion shows in the microsite - check it out! http://functionatl.com/CBE2011/main. She didn't stop there. She employed the help of her architect friend Nathan Koskovich to spread the word and signed him on as our first architect.

We also don’t want the fabulous creations of our architects to go to waste, so to continue the positivity for the future, we will be donating the houses to shelters, nursing homes and schools.

I was amazed by the encouragement and excitement of our clients to help donate old samples and join the movement. We couldn't have done this event without their donations. And thankfully, we are all thrilled to weed through our own product samples that have been stashed in the studio! Everyone has been collecting corrugated boxes to create and cut our birds for the event.

It's things like Construct. Build. Evolve. that remind me how much I love what I do. Join us....and give us your insight as to how you would build the future.


Carnegie Mellon University Gates and Hillman Centers
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects

Fairfield County, Connecticut
Gray Organschi Architecture

Samitaur Tower
Culver City, California
Eric Owen Moss Architects

Graeme Mann and Patricia Capua Mann

Lev-Gargir Architects

Yas Hotel
Abu Dhabi
Asymptote Architecture