Elevating a regional architecture firm’s profile through thought leadership

Client situation

McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture (MPS) is a regional, studio-based architecture, planning and interior design firm. Practicing since 1955, the firm currently has offices throughout the Southeast in Spartanburg, Greenville, Charleston, Charlotte, Asheville and Atlanta. MPS was recognized by Engineering News-Record (ENR) as the “Southeast Design Firm of the Year” in 2019.


Prior to working with Reputation Ink, MPS had never engaged in proactive content marketing and PR efforts. MPS sought to increase its experts’ visibility in trade media and generate business leads through compelling thought leadership to compete with national firms.

Our solution

Upon identifying MPS’s areas of expertise, our team devised a plan to expand its profile at a national level. We focused on the firm’s healthcare, higher education, K-12 and civic practice areas and engaged with reputable national industry publications to secure bylined articles for MPS’s thought leaders.

Our team’s strategy for MPS includes:

  • Identifying subject-matter experts for each target practice area
  • Researching competitors to determine which placements they have secured
  • Preparing and managing a robust media list and editorial calendar for each of the firm’s practice areas
  • Holding a monthly meeting with MPS to discuss relevant topics, proactive pitch ideas and current design projects
  • Conducting knowledge extraction through regular input calls with subject-matter experts to discuss design best practices, innovative concepts, historical preservation, project-specific designs and much more
  • Crafting and distributing story pitches to top-tier publications that align with the firm’s quarterly business development goals
  • Ghostwriting articles on behalf of their subject-matter experts

By proactively researching emerging trends and topics that editors of reputable industry publications are seeking to explore, we’ve been able to create high-quality content, establish MPS as an industry leader and broaden its client base.

Our team has secured dozens of bylined articles authored by MPS subject-matter experts (with help from our team of ghostwriters).


So far, our efforts have resulted in numerous thought leadership placements. Here are a select few:

To capitalize on earned media, we repurposed print pitches for popular podcasts, securing guest appearances for MPS thought leaders on syndicated podcasts like Healthcare Interior Design 2.0 and BUILDINGS. Podcasts have emerged as a viable platform design firms can use to showcase their expertise and broaden their reach.

Since MPS signed with Reputation Ink in June of 2020, the firm has been mentioned online, in print, radio, TV and podcasts more than 1,259 times. These mentions resulted in an audience reach of more than 432,158,822. To reach that audience in paid placements, the firm would have had to spend $18,353,694 in advertising equivalency, according to our media monitoring service.

MPS has also created and maintained a strong presence on various social media platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. They regularly share their published content and podcast appearances, engage with industry influencers, and participate in relevant discussions, further solidifying themselves as active voices in the design community.

In addition, our thought leadership initiative has had a positive impact on the firm's internal culture. Employees feel proud to be part of a company recognized as a thought leader, which, in turn, has helped in attract top talent to the firm.

By strategically leveraging thought leadership, MPS has shown it’s not just a local leader in the industry; It can undoubtedly compete with larger national firms. 


"Reputation Ink has helped us grow our business by elevating the profile of our subject-matter experts and highlighting our numerous projects in the media with engaging stories and well-written content. From major national outlets to niche trade publications, the Rep Ink team understands our target audience and showcases our expertise in the places where those decision-makers get their information. We really appreciate having y'all on board as our PR partner." —Karen Calhoun, Principal and Director of Business Development