We are living in an unprecedented time that has taken a large toll on every existing industry — one of the many understatements of 2020. While there were a handful of state and local governments that have considered construction nonessential, many have allowed construction work to resume following safety protocols. However, the domino effect of material delays and shortages are likely to keep pushing back projects for a consequential period of time.
Naturally, many of us have experienced anxiety and uncertainty over the course of this year. During this testing time, it is crucial to support our teams with empathy and encouragement. Let’s consider this as phase one of where the construction industry stands and make a transition to phase two: proactively using this time to ensure you emerge stronger following the pandemic. Here are four key ways your organization can secure a brighter future over the next year:
Combat COVID-19 Challenges Through Clear Communication
In ordinary times, the people who have a vested interest in your company — such as suppliers, lenders, investors and boards of directors — need to know what’s happening with it. In these times, they need twice the communication. The COVID-19 virus and the repercussions it has had on the global economy have caused a lot of uncertainty. To secure continued support for your organization, show, don’t just tell, stakeholders what the plan is, so that they know that you’re moving forward with confidence.
Build and Maintain Thought Leadership in the Industry
It’s more important than ever right now to continue building trust and expanding your credibility within the industry, beyond just your stakeholders. The companies that will come out on top at the end of this are the ones who demonstrate their knowledge of and commitment to the industry by taking the reins and guiding their audience through the chaos — rather than those that “go into hiding” when business slows down. While developing a thought leadership strategy, consider the following questions:
- How might your expertise ease your audience’s fears?
- In what ways can you lead the construction community through the crisis?
- What unique ideas and solutions do you have for the construction industry moving forward?
Implement PR and Content Marketing Strategies to Keep Your Business at the Forefront of Consumers’ Minds
Don’t wait until the coast is clear to start brainstorming public relations and marketing strategies. While other organizations may be hunkering down, you could be taking advantage of this time to develop new marketing messages, content and channels. This can gain you a lead on competitors, and in turn, bouncing back from the pandemic will be more seamless. Consider a few of the most common tactics:
- Publicity — Know your target audience and keep sharing stories and insights with the media relevant to that audience. Whether you have run a survey, debuted a new product or technology or secured a project in a new location, show how your organization is emerging post-COVID and what strategies you’re using to get there.
- Blog posts — These can be anything from lessons learned from the trials and tribulations your organization experienced, to stories about inspiring work your organization did during the pandemic, or best practices to keep moving forward. This is a place to candidly share how your organization is making a difference.
- Social media content — Similar to the blog, share new project launches, photos of offices that have been reconfigured for COVID-19 safety, videos from your CEO, customer testimonials, tips on how to work productively from home and more. Keep it populated on a regular basis to show your audience the day-to-day.
As an old saying goes, “No one gets anywhere by burying his head in the sand.” It’s tempting to sit back and wait for this to play out, but you’ll only fall further behind by doing so. Now is the time to roll with the punches and keep forging ahead as best you can. I promise you it’ll be worth it in the end when your construction company emerges with a strong client base and even stronger confidence.
Jeff Bradford is the president of integrated public relations and marketing agency The Bradford Dalton Group, heading up the Nashville office.