Rebranding Construction For The Next Generation

It’s February 8th 2022. I’m drinking my third latte of the morning. I slept poorly last night, tossed and turned. So, coffee comes to my rescue.

Over the past two months, I’ve held two deep dives. Discussing how the construction industry can rebrand itself to attract the next generation. We focus on the 14-17 age segment. Sometimes younger. Sometimes older.

They’ve been a great insight. And since it started, I got about 6 or 7 random DM’s from people wanting to join future discussions. It’s a nice feeling when that happens!

People from both large & small companies have attended. This adds to the narrative of the discussion. It allows us to discuss macro opportunities, as well as SME opportunities.

The topics we discuss are usually around the following areas:

  • Why teens don’t want to go into construction after school.
  • Hidden labour markets e.g. armed forces, ex-offenders.
  • Why do construction companies suck on social media?
  • How EDI (equality, diversity, and inclusion) impacts the next generation.
  • How a lack of talent will impact projects & profitability for 2022 & beyond.
  • Apprenticeships & training.

I’m not a recruiter nor a construction manager (although I worked 3 summers with the tool belt on!). I’m a marketer. So, I’m an outsider I guess. But, when hosting these discussions, I hear many words pop up time and time again. Words like “digitization, open days, workshops, communication, sustainability, inclusion” and so forth.

And these aren’t my words. These are words from experienced construction executives!

A lot of these conversations focus on all the good things that the industry does. But how poor they are at promoting these values.

I wrote an article recently about why construction companies need to act like media companies to attract talent. I sent it on to one of the construction federations here in the UK. They didn’t agree with my hypothesis. They felt storytelling and social media were a small part of the equation.

It’s the biggest part of the equation. Did you ever wonder how Virgin Group gets over 150,000 applicants a year? Because they are brand not sales driven. They are value-adders, storytellers, consumer people.

To make a sale or attract talent (same thing in my eyes), you need to have all the correct apprenticeship schemes & training programmes. But, if you don’t have people’s attention, you don’t get their consideration.

Kara Thompson at Vengrove put it like this “the industry is archaic”. Creatively backwards. And has a mindset of “what got us here, will get us there”.

So, one practical takeaway from this is: If you are part of a company that is doing good work – record it, write about it, tweet about it. And don’t expect anything in return. No links to job applications or your sales departments.

If you add enough value, serendipity will take over.

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