The marketing part of me, Pamplin MBA at Tech as well, found a whole new take on the story when reading the alumni magazine. “Bringing Lumenhaus into the Light” provided a great flipside to the coin. I found several aspects of the article, and the competition overall, worth posting.
1. It is fantastic to see “communications” as its own category for the Solar Decathlon. This is a great testament to the competition, as it truly is about more than just design. Even though the category was worth less than 10% of the overall score, it still emphasizes to teams that branding, marketing and communications is important regardless of how strong your design is.
2. I still stand by the importance of students in fields such as architecture, engineering, building construction, etc. taking courses in business, marketing and management (just as I mentioned in this older post). Quotes like this one from the marketing professor really stand out:
“my branding talk probably sounded like something from an alien planet to them.”
3. For a US DoE contest, international teams showed very well.
• 4 out of 20 teams were from the non-continental US
• 2 of the 4 captured top 5 honors
• The only European team to enter captured the top spot
4. The differences of opinion between marketing and architecture seem to start even before the professional world! Although, I can’t give the marketers credit on this one…Lumen Home sounds a little clunky.
The latter was key, as it resolved a major difference of opinion among the students. “The marketing majors wanted to call it ‘Lumen Home’—because consumers go home at the end of the day, not to their house. The architecture majors felt that ‘home’ was too, well, homely! Not at all capturing the modern, technical advances the house offers. ‘Haus’ was the perfect compromise.”
Overall, I’m of course proud of my Hokies even though this wasn’t their best showing. Most importantly, I’m glad to read about a mesh of the marketing and architecture world to make a project better though.
For more info on the Solar Decathlon, visit: http://www.solardecathlon.org/