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July 25, 2016 From the Editor

Word-of-mouth advertising has subtle meanings

It's always interesting to me how businesses can thrive while being completely under the radar.

One company immediately comes to mind: Warren Construction Co. in Freeport does not have a sign on its headquarters and even its trucks have relatively subtle branding compared to some of its competitors. Like many businesses in Maine, its marketing is by word of mouth. But that kind of marketing comes with some subtle cues.

As CEO Peter Warren told me, “Mainers are a tight-knit bunch.”

Say someone is at a barbecue or cocktail party and asks who built your house. The owner says it was Warren Construction. The guest asks, “How'd they do?”

“The answer has to be 'great,'” Warren says. “If they say 'OK,' I'm dead.”

Such is the subtle power of word-of-mouth advertising.

Warren's story (on Page 32) is just one of the features in our issue, which is focused on Real Estate, Construction and Design.

Laurie Schreiber, our real estate reporter, did yeoman's work, putting together stories on the changing nature of office space, how affordable housing can embrace high-efficiency technology and Portland developers' growing interest in tiny lots.

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