Whirlwind’s construction marketing tips

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whirlwind steel blog
The Whirlwind Steel blog provides a diversity of product specific and generally-useful information
social media lightbulb
This Whirlwind Steel blog posting advocates leveraging of social media accounts

The Whirlwind Steel blog (one of the entrants this year’s Best Construction Blog competition) has posted an entry that rightfully catches our attention:

4 Tips to Make Your Construction Brand Stand Out from the Crowd

There, actually, are five tips, and while I have differing perspectives on some of the details, the general ideas are worthy of sharing here:

Knowing your brand

Do you even know what your brand is, what it represents or the energy/feelings/adjectives you want others to have or think of when your company’s name is mentioned? Everyone wants to be reliable, trusted and professional – go outside that standard construction box and start honing in on the qualities that make your company different from others. If you don’t really know what your brand is, take a moment to read 5 Tips to Branding Your Construction Company.

Use consistent branding via your website, logo and promotional materials.

Years ago, there was a pretty crazy modern art installation. It was a huge glass tank, filled with crumpled, compressed, and seemingly unrecognizable pieces of trash. However, it was very easy to look inside the tank noticing, “That’s a Wheaties box! And that’s a piece of a Pepsi Can. Hey! That small corner is part of a Doritos bag!” These mainstream, corporate brands have done such a thorough job of using the same colors, logos, graphics and imagine – their brands are recognizable even when the audience sees a mere snippet of packaging.

This is the same kind of thoroughness and continuity you should create via company colors, graphics, logos, website design, vehicle signage – aka your company’s “packaging” – so customers easily recognize you. Does your website continue the same colors, text styles, fonts, shapes and proportion as your logo? Do your company vehicles have bold, noticeable signage that continues those visual themes? How about business cards, print materials, surveys, coupons, etc.? All of these should have continuous and adaptable visual effects so customers can more easily distinguish your visual brand from others.

Change your logo.

You may find it’s time to change your logo, especially if your construction company was founded 15 or more years ago, when digital marketing and social media were less important in the big picture. If your logo doesn’t exemplify who you are or doesn’t work well across the marketing spectrum, start from scratch and use a trusted marketing professional to design a new one. Ideally, elements of your former logo would be included, but this might not be possible.

MB: There are some ways to reduce the costs and stress in making this change. ¬†While we have a long-range contract with a graphic designer who provides the logo design service as part of his responsibilities, there are various options to structure “competitions” to encourage a diversity of choices. You can then narrow down your finalists with a voting process. We used a survey tool to ask clients, contractors, employees and others for their opinions.

Re-Evaluate your marketing budget.

If you said, “What marketing budget,” this tip should be placed top of your list. Experts recommend budgeting up to 10% of your company’s revenue on marketing. This figure will be slightly lower for smaller construction companies. The point, however, is that your company should be prepared to spend money to make money.

MB: I think 10 per cent is high — if we are separating marketing from sales and business development. The distinction, in case you are wondering, is the difference between outward generalist marketing initiatives¬†and direct one-on-one and personal relationships. If marketing and business development are considered within the same bucket, 10 per cent may be reasonable, and the resources — at least in time/sweat equity — may need to be much greater for smaller/startup businesses.

Leverage social media accounts.

The more you leverage social media accounts, like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, the more you will be able to connect with your customers – both past, present and future. This is key to brand development and consistency. Social media accounts are essential for modern-day branding success.

MB: Certainly social media is important and you will need to develop systems to both decentralize the process — with reasonable management controls — and ensure that you have policies in place and processes to respond quickly and effectively to put out social media fires. What do you do if there is a negative posting on Facebook or Yelp? Can you respond effectively and decisively to make things right or cause the problems to disappear — without earning a backlash for heavy-handed responses.

Overall, I think the advice here is worthy of your consideration. What do you think are the most important aspects of construction marketing for further discussion?

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