No matter what industry you work in, branding is an absolutely vital consideration - but it can be more than a little overwhelming, particularly in the construction industry. Whether you’re putting together your branding for the first time, undergoing a rebrand, or planning a new marketing strategy, the sheer number of things to consider can make it easy to lose sight of a few fundamentals.
I'm not going to try to tell you how best to actually brand or market your construction company - that’ll depend entirely on the specifics of your products or services, and the nature of how and where you work. Instead, we thought it would be useful to provide a bit of advice to act as more of a reference point as you go about your branding efforts.
Here are 5 of the most important branding and marketing considerations for construction companies:
Before you employ the services of a design or branding agency, you need to determine a few basics. Namely, you need to ask yourself the question ‘what does the branding of my company need to achieve, and how will we achieve this?’ Branding serves several purposes, but fundamentally it acts as an easily recognisable identity for your company. To make the most of this, an effective branding and marketing strategy is necessary.
When you’re putting this together, outline some key goals and determine how you will measure these. This could include a few of the following, as well as countless others, specific to your own business needs:
Growing your following on social media by a defined amount
Growing an email list, for something like a monthly newsletter
Gaining a defined number of new business leads
Increasing turnover by a defined amount by a set date
It’s also important, when you’re determining this, to undertake some competitor research. The best way to find inspiration and opportunities when it comes to branding and marketing is to find out what the companies you’re competing against are up to.
You can take a look at their social media and content strategies, their visual branding, the kind of tone of voice and brand identity they use, and more. The key is to get a sense of how others in your niche are pitching themselves and, most importantly, find a way to make sure you stand out from them.
As well as what your competitors are up to, it’s very important to have a clear idea of who you’re pitching to. Depending on the services you offer, your customers could be other businesses, architects, homeowners, local councils, or more. Make sure not to lose sight of who you’re trying to appeal to, and don’t attempt to shoehorn them into your own branding efforts. Give your customers what they’re looking for, don’t try and force your own idea of what makes good branding and marketing upon them!
Pick the ‘low hanging fruit’
If you’re going to be successful in your marketing, you’ll need to make the most of every opportunity you have. This is particularly true if you’re a small business, or don’t have lots of time or budget to allocate towards your marketing - it’s all about the ‘low hanging fruit’. This refers to opportunities for marketing or spreading awareness of your business that don’t require a huge input in terms of time, money, or effort.
For instance, there’s a good chance your business either works directly or closely with construction sites. The hoardings which are used to shield the public from the site represent a fantastic opportunity for out of home marketing in the form of hoarding graphics - but it’s surprising how few companies make use of this, and leave the hoardings blank.
Outdoor advertising like this is a great opportunity for construction businesses, and things like printed scaffolding covers or building wraps can serve to show the public - and your potential customers - not only that you exist, but that you’re highly active too.
Similarly, things like social media and online presence are not only essential, they’re virtually free and are easier to establish and maintain than ever before. You can build a website, and set up your social media profiles in an afternoon.
Create a digital presence
Of the aforementioned strategies, a digital presence is one of the most important - in fact, essential - aspects of branding and marketing for any company, not just those working in construction. Particularly in this industry, however, there can tend to be a bit of hesitant attitude towards these channels, as they’re not seen as particularly relevant in what is traditionally a hands-on field.
Whoever your clients are, they’re almost certainly engaged in all things digital - and you need to be too. When a potential customer researches a business, they usually look to the internet to learn more, which includes browsing websites, and checking social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
This doesn’t mean you have to be a tech wizard, or hire a high-flying social media manager for your small business. You don’t need to be posting top-quality original video content on a daily basis, generating thousands of views (unless you have the means to, in which case, definitely do so!).
Instead, it’s important just to make sure these profiles exist, are up to date, and are regularly maintained - at least to the extent that anyone searching for your business can find you, and see that you are active. Something as simple as posting a weekly Facebook update, a Tweet every day, or the occasional Instagram image can make all the difference.
All of these things take very little time or expertise, but they can make all the difference.
Develop a brand persona
It can be useful, when working on your branding, to think of your company almost as a human being, with its own distinct personality. A really effective strategy is to develop a brand ‘persona’, which includes a distinct set of guidelines as to how you’ll pitch your business. From this, you can develop a few key aspects of you branding, including your tone of voice.
You might adopt a friendly, approachable tone if your clients are homeowners. Alternatively, if you’re trying to appeal to architects, you may use more technical language to demonstrate you’re an authority in your area. Imagine how your company would speak to a potential client if it was a person having a conversation.
With this in mind, you can put together a brand tone of voice/brand identity document, which you can distribute to all of your employees - particularly those responsible for the actual marketing of your business, and things like your website and content. This is important because everyone who works for your company serves as part of its ‘face’, and they all need to be unified behind your central messaging. This is important for one very simple reason…
If there’s one thing your branding and marketing need to be, its consistent. If a potential customer is exposed to your business - by finding your website, seeing a piece of outdoor advertising, or even being referred by an acquaintance - that first impression is vital, and needs to be reinforced the next time they encounter you.
If your messaging or branding is inconsistent, it can be hard for potential clients to get a true sense of who you are and what you do - that’s why the aforementioned strategy planning is so vital! The last thing you want to do is confuse your potential customers, so make sure the kind of phrasing, messaging, and visuals you use across every channel is uniform and consistent.