Marketing through research: William Caudill and Caudill, Rowlett, Scott (CRS)

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The partners of Caudill Rowlett Scott (CRS), a post-Second World War architecture firm in Texas, USA, were especially innovative in their professional and business practices. One of their original contributions was the firm’s marketing strategy, which was based on promoting not only design achievements but also the CRS ‘research attitude’ by publishing and distributing studies produced by members of the firm. This strategy, which built on a wide-spread American belief in the fundamental role of science and research in the nation’s progress and development, was successful in the first two decades of the firm, but was dissolved in the 1970s with the firm’s expansion and transformation into a profitoriented enterprise. This paper describes the firm’s research-based marketing strategy and argues that the success of the marketing strategy relied on the CRS partners’ ability first, to integrate marketing into the firm’s approach to architecture and design and into cultural norms of the time and secondly, to balance the expectations of both their potential clients and their professional peers. The CRS marketing strategy is an important case study for architects today as they respond creatively to similarly competing demands.

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