Friday, March 12, 2010

These should be places where we use and live and enjoy. These are living spaces...

Hi. My name is Laura, and I suffer from Marketing Brain. This means that no matter what I do, read, see, think about or experience, I always seem to find myself conducting a logical (read: Spock-headed) examination of the concepts of communication and perception. It's maddening sometimes (both to me as well as to anyone around me I'm sure!) but I think it's important to do...especially in preservation.

See, in preservation, what we know we do is much different than what people think they know we do. I could wax poetic about this for days, but that would likely bore you right out of your skulls. So instead, I'll post a quote from a recently-published article from the Buffalo-based magazine/blog Block Club, which sums it up nicely:

"Historic preservation is a very high hurdle for people to get past. They don’t see it as a green movement. They don’t see it as a neighborhood movement. They don’t see it as a keeping-a-sense-of-place movement. They see it as a set of rules and regulations that ordinary people cannot achieve. And that’s the dilemma…"
So how do we get the average person to understand this concept - that preservation isn't about being wed to a property, or about rules, regulations and putting old things under glass as specimens - but instead, that preservation is a movement about sustainability, smart planning, active use and keeping a sense of place for future generations to enjoy? That's my primary challenge as The Landmark Society's marketing communications "army of one," and the challenge we all share throughout this field of preservation.

I spend a lot of time thinking about this one. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

And, here is a link to the full Block Club piece. A great read.

(I should note the Block Club article isn't only about perception. It highlights the amazing grassroots preservation efforts taking place in Buffalo and speaks to our field as a whole. It also features Henry McCartney, our former executive director who now directs Preservation Buffalo Niagara.)


p.s. Our Annual Preservation Conference on April 24th addresses how preservation and sustainability intersect. I hope you'll join us: Saving the Past, Sustaining the Future: Preservation Strategies for Challenging Times

posted by Laura Keeney Zavala, director of marketing

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