In the AEC space, we work with a variety of construction firms who come to us with similar problems:
1. They’re up against stiff competition
2. They’re not easily recognizable to their audience
3. They’re having trouble retaining employees
These three challenges, while not unique to AEC, are common throughout the construction industry because of the sheer amount of competition faced and the quality of work produced.
The opportunity to stand out and make a name for yourself is strong, but it takes an effective brand strategy to uncover your firm’s true potential.
Branding is not often at the top of mind in construction (here’s why we *politely* disagree – our article on the future of AEC marketing) Yet, branding – when implemented properly – sets your firm up to best the competition, improve brand recognition, and boost employee retention rates while you’re at it
Designing Meaningful Differentiation
In construction – competition is stiff. Firms compete with one another regularly as they throw their hardhats in the ring during the RFP process. With clients sifting through countless RFP’s regularly, it’s a challenge for construction firms to stand out.
A strong brand can help with that.
We were hired by a renowned construction firm that produces great work yet struggled to differentiate from the competition. Instead of trying to compete on pricing alone (a not very effective strategy, I might add), we worked together to rebrand their firm, capitalizing on what made them different.
After strategy sessions, interviews, and plenty of market research, Greiner Construction is no longer an option out of many but is now the only general contractor that builds community around education for industry leaders and innovators. Oh, and we dropped the Construction moniker as well.
With this meaningful differentiation setting them apart from their competitors, Greiner is better positioned to win more projects. Take a look at what we did below:
So, when it comes to choosing the right marketing agency for your AEC firm, it makes sense to go with people who are experienced in all things Architecture, Engineering, and Construction, rather than an agency that does a little bit of everything.
Having trouble differentiating from your competitors? It may be time to review your brand.
Boosting Brand Awareness and Recognition
With the competition solidly bested, it was time to focus on brand awareness and recognition. Ultimately, what this comes down to is ensuring your audience is able to find your business when and where they need it. (Hint: this is so much easier when your firm looks and feels different from other firms).
We were able to take their differentiator (onlyness) and wield it into a powerful marketing tool. Greiner became known for educating its clients and industry partners with their “Trends Series”, in which they would present modern construction and design trends – as well as current pricing of commodities.
So what did we do?
We took it digital.
By rebranding “Trends” into “The In Practice Series”, we gave the series its own identity and captured similar sentiment via a sit-down, interview-style web series. From there, we are able to bolster online visibility (social media, SEO), improve brand perception (continual, high quality content), and get Greiner into more conversations (hand-selecting the right guests).
A strong brand ensures consistency throughout your business so that every touchpoint, every proposal, and every client interaction furthers your brand. Not only will clients be able to find you easily, but there’s also a better than average chance they will actively seek you out for their next project.
Increasing Employee Retention
It won’t just be clients seeking you out either. With a higher level of brand recognition predicated on education, talent was more likely to come flooding in. And, given the current labor shortage and general madness of the past few years, it’s hardly a bad thing to have talented construction pros banging on your door, resumes in hand.
But surely a strong brand can’t bring in talent, let alone keep them around, right? I mean, that’s what HR is for. Au contraire! How your employees (and prospective employees) engage with your brand matters. So, your firm needs to strengthen its brand in a way that actually helps acquire and retain talent.
In helping firms through this process we:
Start with interviews. We speak with several staff members as well as several in leadership to gain an unbiased perspective as to what attracts talent and what pushes them to leave.
Then we map out the talent journey. Having already spoken to your talent, we work with you to define the typical journey new talent takes and brainstorm ways to bolster each key part of the journey.
We also give feedback. With insights collected, we provide informed observations and recommendations to improve the overall retention of staff. We also learn why talent chooses an organization and can help teams get that messaging across to the front lines.
Lastly, we measure retention. In monthly meetings, we are able to hold your team accountable for any agreed-upon changes. We also measure the effectiveness of those changes with surveys and overall retention metrics.
Summary – Why Branding Matters in Construction
It’s clear that branding matters, regardless of industry. In the AEC space, whether you’re up against tough competition, you’re worried about brand awareness, or are having trouble retaining employees, it may be time to take a good, hard look at your brand.
– Carve out a niche space in your industry
– Boost awareness and recognition
– Hire from a greater talent pool
Be sure to subscribe to our blog for more AEC branding and marketing content – you won’t want to miss it!
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