The power of effective communications in construction

ProTenders analysis finds that Kingdom will continue to lead GCC construction market with a strong pipeline of urban projects

The construction market is a key driver of the UAE economy, but has recently come under substantial pressure due to the prolonged slump in oil prices. Despite the prevailing climate, the construction industry remains resilient and the outlook for the sector remains cautiously optimistic. Effective communication, therefore, forms an integral component and requires a significant level of attention and organisation in order for businesses in this sector to be successful.

A Research and Market report notes that residential construction was the largest market in the UAE construction industry during the 2014-18 period, accounting for 33.1% of the industry’s total value in 2018. Moreover, the market is expected to retain its position in the next five years, due to government efforts to balance housing demand and supply through the construction of housing units. With day-to-day business operations becoming even more tedious, and revenues and profitability at risk, it is easy for business owners to lose sight of other important aspects of the business, such as marketing and strategic communications.

Tip #1 – Define a constructive thought leadership strategy

An effective thought leadership strategy can deliver the right content to decision-makers. To be able to stand out in an oversaturated property market, it is important for businesses in this industry to showcase their expertise and leadership through the production of best-in-class content on relevant topics.

Outbound marketing such as TV commercials and large billboards used to be the most effective channel for advertising. The paradigm has now changed, with thought leadership and content marketing attracting investors more organically. According to HubSpot, company websites that put out 16 or more blog posts per month get nearly 3.5 times as much web traffic as those that release four or less posts per month .

Quality content has the potential to help construction industry marketers cost-effectively drive ROI. The key to attracting the right clientele is providing thought leadership content that places the audience at the centre of the platform. Engaging with like-minded professionals and investors on platforms such as LinkedIn provides an additional opportunity for business owners to inspire and connect with others. Topics can range from white papers and opinionated pieces on the cutting edge of construction technology, to the advancement of 3D modelling and virtual reality for people looking at building their career in the construction sector.

Tip #2 – Build relationships via public speaking

The construction industry is rapidly changing to meet the expectations of the built environment. Trade shows such as Cityscape and The Big 5 are examples of conferences and events that can help generate new sales leads, deepen connections with existing contacts and glean more information across developing markets. The industrial, commercial and real estate sectors have a lot to gain by networking and relationship-building at the mid-levels of their organisations.

The quality of stakeholder relationships will depend on the quality of the communication involved. It is important to establish the right standards, processes and outreach to the right stakeholders and partners on business services, agreements and new offers.

Winning industry awards, or even being a finalist, can offer a magnitude of benefits. Building and construction awards add prestige, improve market visibility and differentiate organisations from the competition. Business awards can also help generate additional sales and help motivate staff.

Tip #3 – Re-architect a brand position to main strong perception

A jack of all trades is master of none. Many companies in the construction and property industry don’t realise just how much this pertains not just to prospective employees or subcontractors, but also to them.

Effective brand communication employs both creativity and strategy to build and maintain strong perceptions that can increase an organisation’s bottom line. An effective and targeted brand positioning strategy includes a strong media relations campaign, a sound digital strategy, and event and content marketing to bring on board new investors and partners, as well as strengthen employee relations.

Clear communication is essential if appropriate messages are to reach the target audience. Multi-faceted communication across internal and external channels on projects can bring on board new investors or improve relations with current ones. Becoming an expert can provide credibility and produce greater profit margins, while positioning a business across a niche service can attract the right investors.

Tip #4– Build online and offline awareness to create interest

The construction business is without doubt an offline business; however, a majority of investors, architects, developers and construction workers continue to spend a significant number of hours on social sites and on the internet, making it mandatory for businesses to market online.

Aside from a construction company’s brand, a business website should be responsive, adaptable and searchable across a wide range of devices including mobile, tablet and desktop. More than half of the UAE’s population access the internet via mobile devices, making it imperative for websites to be mobile-optimised.

Marketing in the construction industry can be a challenge; however, if properly executed, it can build a positive reputation within the industry, attract key prospects and influencers, increase online domain authority and search visibility, and contribute to overall business objectives and lead conversions.

Anastasiya Golovatenko is an account director at Sherpa Communications

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