Communicating Graphically in a Data-Driven World

At the September Education Event A/E/C marketing and BD professionals got to hear first‐hand how two visual communications professionals think and communicate graphically. Both presenters Markus Byron with MBR Studios, and Michael Pauk, Senior Technical Visualization Specialist with Kiewit have architectural degrees and chose to pursue visual communications for the built environment.

Markus shared examples of high‐end videos and illustrations for key pursuits. Michael shared his process and experience around creating graphics in response to public‐entity, RFPs/RFQs. Working with a team of six designers, Michael has been with Kiewit for four years and has learned to sift through RFP language hunting for clues that illuminate graphically invisible content. He also researches the client to get a feel for their current visual language and understand the project’s context.

Michael presented work that he and his team created for a proposal for RTD’s North Metro Rail Line. This case study was an example of a winning proposal whose look and feel became the project’s brand. Of course, not all proposals that Kiewit or any other A/E/C firm pursues justify extensive graphics packages. It is important to prioritize and weigh the calculated ROI with costs.

Engaging a graphic designer sometimes requires a cultural shift in A/E/C firms. The biggest challenge for marketers who want to bring a designer to the table may be justifying the value of adding another overhead person. Michael’s advice to designers – focus on behavior that demonstrates value:

  • Ask good questions
  • Initiate collaboration
  • Earn trust

Michael offered the following points as highlights to “The creative’s guide to digesting RFP content.”

  • “Answer the Mail” – follow the requirements, provide what is requested
  • Eliminate the “I’m sure this won’t make a graphic” content
  • “The Duh Buts” – of course it gets a graphic, but how do you maximize?
  • Look for Opportunities – how can you help the owner consume information?

What about inspiration – continuing education?

  • Adobe Max sessions
  • Meet regularly and connect with your team
  • Share a Pintrist board and/or Creative Cloud Libraries
  • Training ‐ always sell the value of staying on top on new trends
  • Linda.com [which was recently purchased by LinkedIn] for free webinars and libraries

As many A/E/C marketers know, clients are coming to the table during the RFP/RFQ process with data to represent core aspects of their projects. Teams positioning themselves for the work must not only process this data, but integrate it with their own in compelling ways to effectively differentiate themselves.

Thanks to Merrick for providing space for “Communicating Graphically”. This event was brought to you by the Education Committee.

Questions, feedback, ideas, please contact:

Write up by Clare Kelly, CPSM