THE IMPORTANCE OF BRANDING FOR TENDER DRIVEN CONSTRUCTION FIRMS
Securing contracts through a tendering process is a vital business development strategy for most construction firms, and for good reason. However, taking a proactive brand building approach to your business growth as well, will unlock many new opportunities that may not otherwise have been available.
The lengthy, tender-driven processes underpinning the construction industry can present a unique set of challenges for a business. The process often lacks the personal touch that many clients look for when trusting their projects to a construction business. This seemingly impersonal approach can often feel as though you’re asking customers to simply ‘trust your word for it’ when it comes to speed of delivery, costs, and the overall quality of your work. As a result, it could be assumed that tendering would favour the company that offers the lowest prices while ticking social procurement boxes.
Thankfully, with the right brand building strategy, this doesn't have to be the case. In fact, a well thought out branding strategy can establish the foundations of your success long before you’ve even submitted your tender — without relying on undercutting competitor prices and reducing profits.
Why branding matters for building & construction businesses
In a fiercely competitive industry, telling a brand story that highlights your strengths is essential to differentiating yourself from the competition. This puts you in a stronger position where the value you offer is tied to more than just the prices you charge.
B2B Branding also helps establish and nurture the vital relationships that are often lacking in the tender process. This can help you develop trust with an otherwise ‘cold’ prospect who has no prior experience of your work, or personal connection to your brand. With a strong branding strategy, you can build recognition and fame, elevating your brand in the minds of customers, and fostering the feelings of familiarity that get your business on the tender shortlist.
Brand heuristics: your key to success
In psychology, heuristics are a form of mental ‘shortcut’ that the brain subconsciously takes in order to make quick and efficient decisions. Heuristics can be a lifesaver when an important decision needs to be made but there isn’t a lot of time to make it. In our day-to-day lives, however, these shortcuts often lead to unfounded biases and baseless assumptions that we don’t even realise we’re making.
A brand that can leverage these biases to tip the odds in their favour are more likely to achieve their goals — or win that multi-million-dollar contract. Here are just some of the key biases that branding can tap into, giving your company a distinct advantage over the competition.
People tend to unknowingly place greater value on information that’s easier to recall. This means customers often value a more prominent brand simply because it springs to mind more readily. By making yourself the brand that everyone’s talking about, you become the most obvious choice when it comes to selecting a contractor. You can take advantage of this heuristic by building a memorable brand that your customers instantly associate with your industry.
Customers who are regularly exposed to your brand are more likely to trust it over a less familiar one, even if they’ve never engaged with you directly. This effect is related to the availability heuristic. Take advantage of the mere-exposure effect by consistently getting your brand in front of your target audience to maximise exposure and brand recognition.
As a species, we tend to overlook the familiar and remember the unusual. To capture the audience’s attention, brands need to differentiate themselves from the competition. Unique branding choices surrounding names, colours, imagery, and other design elements are a great way of taking advantage of the bizarreness effect to make your brand stand out from the crowd.
5 steps to a successful branding strategy for building & construction businesses
There are many elements to a successful branding strategy, which can make the brand building process quite time-consuming. But with in-depth research and careful preparation, the payoff can be huge.
Here are 5 vital steps to mastering your branding strategy:
- Research and brand positioning
Research and converse with architects, project management consultants, end-clients, and any other individuals who may be able to offer insights into their key pain points to learn how your construction business can play a valuable role in their everyday business.
- Ideation and creative concepting
Start generating ideas as to how you can break the mould and stand out in the industry. Take advantage of the bizarreness effect and try to find a creative way of differentiating your brand from the competition.
- Test brand hypotheses
Use data and insights to guide branding decisions. Be flexible and willing to shift your approach if you don’t get the response you anticipated. Now’s the time to perfect your branding before you’ve committed too much time and money to a strategy that doesn’t pay off.
- Create distinctive brand assets
Sometimes you can't be truely different, but you can be distinctive. Seek to produce designs, copy, audio, video, photography, and other key assets that capture your distinctive creative concept and brand identity.
- Maintain a consistent voice and launch with intent
Prove to your customers that your branding is more than just a logo. Your brand identity should flow through every aspect of your business, from website content to social media sharing of project images and updates, right down to the way staff respond to email queries.
How to grow your building & construction firm’s brand presence
Ongoing investment in brand communication is essential to the continued growth of your business.
Les Binet and Peter Field, two of the world’s leading thinkers on brand effectiveness, recommend that B2C companies dedicate 60% of their marketing budget to mass reach brand advertising, and the remaining 40% to narrowly targeted, segmented campaigns focused on immediate sales. This 60/40 split reveals that you should be placing a greater emphasis on marketing your brand rather than marketing a specific product or service. It’s important to note, however, that this number is closer to a 50/50 split in the B2B space, so you’ll need to consider your target market and the types of projects you undertake when allocating your budget.
So what does brand communication look like in the construction industry?
- Exploring and leveraging industry research and customer insights
- Producing valuable and useful content that sets your brand up as a thought leader in your industry
- Leveraging your strengths and transforming them into tangible assets
- Tapping into the familiarity bias by using media to spread your brand’s message, increase reach, and build trust
- Maintaining a consistent brand experience across all platforms. This includes interactions with staff and stakeholders
- Continuously measuring, testing, and gathering insights, and adapting to changes and developments in the industry to improve results
Win contracts before you’ve even bid on them
As a builder, you don’t work with blunted tools, so why settle for a branding strategy that has no edge? With an insight-driven brand strategy acting as the foundation for your success, you can cut through the competitive noise and prove why you’re always the best building firm for the job.
While the tender process is designed to drive rational decision-making, never forget that humans are emotional creatures who regularly take logical shortcuts without even realising it. It’s important to leverage the natural heuristics and subconscious biases that we all have, so that you can keep your brand top of mind — and top of your prospect’s shortlist.