The Love Construction campaign started by Construction News is a fine reminder of what’s great about our industry and, if we work at it, should see more school leavers selecting the construction sector as the employer of choice in the medium term.
But perhaps we should consider extending the concept to ‘Love my Business’. No, I don’t mean setting up a Twitter hashtag – but actually making sure that people like and want to do business with you.
In the same way as people are saying what is great about construction, why not take some time to think about what is great about your business, for both employees and customers.
Start by writing an honest list of everything that you love about your business, you can then ask your colleagues and perhaps even your customers to contribute.
Review the list and ask yourself what’s missing, what should be there to make your company stand out from the crowd in order to make it a great place to work and a great company to use.
The chances are that if you added these factors to your business you would see less staff turnover and more customers. And because people liked working for your company, most would deliver a better service to your customers. A win-win situation.
The things you want your company to be, combined with those features that you already have, constitute your company or band vision.
You need to work at ensuring everyone in your company is aware of these, supports them and is committed to achieving them.
All of your communications should reflect this, so that when people here your company name, or see your logo, they associate it with all the good things you want to project – just as we do when we hear of John Lewis or Mercedes.
Of course it has taken these companies many years to build their brand identity and you will have to work at it. It is important that you reinforce these features at every opportunity in all of your marketing communications: literature, adverts, mailshots and project stories.
Third-party testimonials are one of the most powerful communications tools, as they are more believable than a company making statements about itself.
For example, if technical expertise is an important feature of your brand identity, project stories should include a quote from the architect or other decision-makers saying how good your technical support was and how it helped them.
Consistency is crucial
Although it is the substance of your brand which really matters, it is also important to project a consistent image.
That means defining your company identity: colours, fonts, logo, standard layouts and using this consistently on all of your communications, from business cards and letters through to literature, websites and vans.
This consistent identity links everything together and is the shorthand by which your brand will be recognised.
But take care of your reputation – it only takes one negative comment to undermine years of work, as Starbucks and Google have recently learnt.
Chris Ashworth is managing director and founder of Competitive Advantage, a consultancy providing strategy, training and market research. He is a chartered marketer, member of the government’s Green Construction Board Promotional Working Group and serves on the organising committee of CIMCIG, the Chartered Institute of Marketing Construction Industry Group