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Brand to withstand tough times

In construction, the word ‘recession’ has not just been worrying, it many cases it has been crippling. By Sharon Henderson

And when companies are suffering redundancies, wage cuts and all kinds of streamlining simply to stay alive, talk of brand building may sound flippant, even downright derisory.

But the truth is that even in a recession there are opportunities to secure new business and achieve growth. It’s simply that there are fewer of them so, to win out, companies have to try even harder to make their brand stand out. 

The good news is that building a strong brand is not all about big ad campaigns and swanky events. A brand is much more than just a logo, it is how you’re perceived in the marketplace – from quality of product to customer service. Simply making sure you’re at the top of your game isn’t enough, however: you’ve got to make sure your potential customers know it too.

The growth of Rok since 2000 from a regional contractor in the South-west to a major national construction company is a prime example of how brand building can enhance a company’s overall success. The company was known as EBC (Exeter Building Contractors) and re-branded in 2001 to Rok with the tag-line ‘the nation’s local builder’. 

Since then it has grown rapidly through acquisition.The new brand reflects the company’s values and it’s winning and retaining more customers as a result.

Branding is about continuing to invest in not only sustaining, but also building equity that can be leveraged to deliver the loyalty that will sustain a brand, no matter what the circumstances. And that’s never been more true than in the current economic climate.

To be successful you’ll need to start from the beginning by gaining employee buy-in and ensuring that the whole team delivers consistently on product and service. Then get the communication right: know what benefits your customers are looking for and make sure your communications are on message and consistent. And lastly, know your brand, make sure you know what sets you apart – and make sure everyone else knows it too.

When you’re firefighting to survive it can be hard to keep focusing on fundamentals like the brand. But without a strongly defined purpose and proposition a company can become largely invisible over time and, whatever the fortunes of the construction industry over the next couple of years, that’s a hard position to fight back from.

Sharon Henderson is managing director of construction marketing agency Quest www.questconstructionmarketing.co.uk

Construction News is running the Built Environment Marketing Awards which includes prizes for best use of direct marketing and best website. The deadline for entries is 24 July. More details at www.cnplus.co.uk/bema

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