The Umbrella Approach

If the approach to getting a firm recognition looks like an umbrella, then any action taken to achieve those goals constitutes the various sections of the umbrella and they act in tandem. Marketing would be one section, public relations another, and so on with branding, strategic planning, and business development in the mix. To me marketing’s about getting the word out with your own materials. Things you have to send to clients, e-newsletters, social media, post cards, original ephemera, gifts, and so on. Marketing necessitates that the director be creative. Oh, and a generalist.


Marketers have to be able to connect the dots and they must have a raven’s eye for trends and the future. They must love the details too, because everything has to go together perfectly—match, follow the theme, or the company’s mission to the T. Consultants play a special role because they have to be the ones who take on the critical view and direct the team into a place that makes sense. The less is more concept actually finds its way into my conversations more often than not. If the marketing is great, and follows the branding prescription, then the clients and PR will follow. However, none of the segments can work independently. That’s a mistake larger firms get themselves caught up in—small firms, by necessity, have to do everything themselves and rarely screw up this holistic way of working all components as a melded whole. Marketing’s the fun part. It’s my favorite. I love coming up with ideas that sing and win national awards.

Mendell conceived of the Go campaign for Hickok Cole Architects in Washington, DC 

“Hi Marilynn—   Today it’s raining cats & dogs, and sometimes a little water, so I pulled out my trusty Blunt and off I went!  I always think of you when I use it.”   
Marcy Stanley, Hon. AIA  Director of Business Development
Weidlinger Associates, Inc.