Architectural Professional Services through Social Media


When investigating the Professional Services Sector of Architecture and its utilization of Social media there are numerous examples of companies that use their websites to display imagery and at times videos of their Architectural creations. However there is a hesitation of many Architectural organizations to use Social media to its complete potential, the power of these tools from a simplistic marketing technique is invaluable and appears to be an untapped potential in the Architectural industry.

HOK is a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm, which was founded in 1955 with approximately 1,600 people collaborating across a network of 24 offices on three continents. HOK generated over $409 million (US) in 2012 gross fees; making HOK one of the largest Architectural firms in the world.

location-map-firm-overview v1

Image from HOK website

HOK’s exemplary use of Social Media is impressive but I believe it is still only at its early stage of its existence. Below are links to HOK’s blogs and social media tools that are available through their website.

HOK SOCIAL MEDIA

HOK BLOGS

Even though HOK uses social media tools to present their work, with tools such as YouTube, Flickr and Facebook, what is impressive is the collaboration and information sharing the organization encourages. This appears to be predominantly due to their multiple offices geographic locations; however HOK could have opted to host this information on their own internal network system. The lacking of sharing data and sharing lessons learnt in the Architectural Industry has for many years have been normal practice. The fear of the competitors having access to your firm’s trade secrets is hopefully a thing of the past. HOK’s twitter accounts and blogs are evidence that these barriers are being removed  and enabling firms to effectively share and co-create information rich content to accelerate their access to expertise around the world.

HOK has used a vast array of social media tools to increase its collaboration and marketing processes, however there are many other options available to the wider Architectural community. As by the definition of social media which refers to the interaction among people where they create, share and exchange information and ideas through virtual communities and networks, tools such as Google earth can assist in this sharing innovation. ArchiCAD is an architectural design software which allows an Architect to upload a model directly to Google earth and with a Google earth account share this data with their client giving the owner a geospatial representation of the future structure the Architect is proposing.

Bloom Unit is another Architectural tool that can be used with the addition of social media tools to enhance the experience. Bloom unit is an online cloud based rendering application that allows the architect to share their proposals, communicate with clients instantaneously make corrections from remote locations. In this video below the Architect is using a phone call audio connection to his clients, he could however choose to use Google hang outs and connect to YouTube or even podcast the conversations.

From these examples you can see that the power of Social media can be used to build brand strength and awareness of innovations to enrich the experience of the client and provide support and mentorship to the Architectural and construction Professional industry at large.

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About jcoglan2013

I am currently completing my master in IT at QUT, I am the ICT/CAD Manager for the department of Public Works Queensland Government.
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2 Responses to Architectural Professional Services through Social Media

  1. yannick says:

    These are some amazing tools, making it easy for people in different locations to work together and share ideas on the fly. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Sarun Y. says:

    Hi John,
    Your findings on how social technologies get involved in your chosen Professional Service’s sector like HOK is very interesting. With HOK’s blog such HOK BIM Solutions, the organisation is able to use this space to centralize its data and view in the public (e.g. solutions, events, news). Also, it allows both internal/external users to access, give comments or share their thoughts as parts of knowledge-sharing and co-creating the products together with the organisation. Apart from this, I like the way that HOK has tried to engage and assist the communication between the architects and clients by bringing up the usage of collaborative tools (e.g. ArchiCAD, Bloom Unit). I also seconded the use of Google Hangout as an alternative for this.

    Great post, John 🙂

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