As we approach the half way point of the year, no -one could have predicted what was about to happen to our vast yet diminutive planet.
In this article, we’re avoiding cliché topics about the fall of commerce as we know it – that subject has been covered by almost every business in existence (or not, as time may tell). Yet, we wanted to focus solely on the rise of our industry and what we need to do together to literally re-construct our loved and cherished sector.
As a professional who has worked for many years in marketing (in construction, and many other industry sectors), it’s the ‘what happens next’ that really intrigues me…!
I’ve written several articles about the change that we the construction industry should be making. In truth, most of these pieces probably felt like fanciful ideology and wishful thinking. There have been many times over the last 5 years where some of my own rhetoric felt as if it could be possible to achieve – but alas, in reality, it was ‘business as usual’ for many construction companies, and the ‘we’ve always done it this way’ narrative continues to take full effect. Then 2020 happened…!
Let’s be frank, for many, this year is catastrophic, and there’s no doubt the ripples will run for years to come. But ripples also represent a welcome disturbance, and if you choose to follow the same narrative, ripples can become waves, and waves bring new life and invigoration.
This shot in the arm could actually prove to be the best thing that ever happened to our industry, in fact, to most industries. For the most part, our industry got lazy, in fact worse than that, it got greedy – we’ve lived in a world where ‘money trumps people’ every time…!! We’ve got exactly what we deserved, and whether we like it or not, we all had a part to play in this satirical tragedy.
For the very first time in a long while, the power of people could bring about a necessary re-evolution of construction. For one, our industry is already beginning to talk about ‘us’ as a collective culture (and not, mine, mine mine…). The level playing field in which we all now begin to build from, has by its very nature, placed many of us on a level footing. No longer is biggest best – in fact, biggest is now just as much at risk as smallest. Business owners of smaller operations can stand toe to toe with CEO’s of large corporations – this is parity of the purest degree. From hear, we not only begin to speak a similar language, we break down walls that have existed for decades.
Now the story is ’Be the Best, and Better Together’ – we genuinely need each other. But ‘Best’ isn’t achieved by short-cuts and personal business agendas, that’s still ‘Greed’. Best is achieved by re-investing everything we stand for back into our industry. We must begin to trust each other and embrace the notion of education through shared understandings. The CFO who hasn’t been knee-high is mud onsite, is now unrelatable. This CFO cannot change the effect at the top, without affecting change at the bottom…! Our inability to walk in our companions’ shoes has seen us grow further apart and increasingly disparate – change is in the air.
Marketing cannot survive by outreach alone – those days are gone. Marketing, now more than ever, needs purposeful strategy. The business of building our ‘internal brands’ is our very own “one small step for man, and one giant leap for mankind” storyline. It’s literally taken a global pandemic for us to look inside ourselves and ask; what do we do, and why do we do it.
Amongst the smouldering ashes lays a very optimistic ground swell, and a revitalised way of thinking to embrace change, together. Marketing in the construction world now has a new responsibility, indeed an obligation. Now, marketing is about internal connectivity and the ability to own our story, and also to understand the part we play in the construction sectors’ monologue.
It’s also about attracting the next generation of talent and minds to our industry. As we know, the skills gap conversation has been flogged to death, but in the midst of the commercial apocalypse sits our green shoots of hope and learning. Internal marketing encourages leaders, management, site personnel and office staff to be united with one voice – this is true ‘workforce’ in play, this is marketing…
When we built our Hybrid Generation initiative here at Poppet Construction, we first stripped bare everything to identify our reason and our purpose with this industry. This helped us establish our core values and recognise what we could do to add genuine value. We felt so passionately about transforming existing thinking, that we build our own platform. When you fuse together the years of gained knowledge and experience, with the youthful exuberance of mindsets untarnished, it’s a fascinating explosion of talent and ambition – literally a Hybrid Generation.
So, the moral of this story is very simple – if we don’t know who we are and what we stand for, how are we expected to connect outwardly to our clients and external partners – the answer is, we can’t.
Marketing in a Post Pandemic world will bring much needed selflessness, and more collaboration – let’s affect the change together, it will be worth it.
Marketing Director Poppet Construction