Cut the box-ticking if you want sexy construction
Construction has to get over itself. A bit like Rod Stewart in 1975 it is busy worrying about its sexiness levels. Yet it talks only to itself and when things go wrong it doesn’t have the right people in the right places to make things work….
Rod Stewart aside, the construction industry has an image problem. Or so I am told. The video game industry had a problem of a similar nature. Film, TV and music were taken seriously, but nobody wanted to work in games as it wasn’t glamorous enough. Apparently.
I hear a similar echo from construction. We need to do this. We need to do that. We need to make people love us!
Firstly, it is hard to make people love you, no matter what you do. This vocab needs a tweak.
Secondly, if we insist on making the reference point ‘sexy’ in a context of Saturday night TV, it will never change. If you seek comparison against major media industries through which the population largely requires only dreams and escapism, you will struggle to affect change. Your conversation may well continue to be circular.
To be truly sexy you have to have something extraordinary; you have to inspire and you have to be discoverable in the places where your target market resides.
The audience will never come looking for you. Voluntarily. Without reason.
So then. Outreach. The industry decided recently to spend £5 Million of the Levy money on a campaign called Go Construct. This was designed to change some things.
The campaign was launched towards the back end of last year.
I didn’t commission an agency Reading service for the campaign. I would be interested to know if the people behind the campaign had one. However, Google the campaign and see where the coverage appeared. Apart from construction trade press it appeared precisely nowhere in the consumer media.
Put another way, your potential audience did not get exposed to the messages or the campaign through the media which they consume. Of their own free will.
OK, I understand there are programmes through schools and colleges and the like. That’s good and that’s important. Additionally though any decent marketeer knows that you have to make sure a campaign finds its way to its audience through media they consume of their own free will; not through a place of learning, not through a parent or careers advisor.
That’s where the ‘sexy’ starts to become apparent. That’s the area where the messages of a campaign or ideas are of their audience, subtle and engaging, pervasive to the places your audiences goes. It talks and listens in tune with the market place.
If the industry wants to be sexy, it has to consider the detail of the executions that are undertaken on its behalf. It has to be smarter.
Wayne Hemingway fronted the Go Construct campaign. He’s a brilliant man, don’t misunderstand me, but he is not target demographic.
What about a presence and touch points at half a dozen major music festivals in the summer ? For a tenth of the cost? In the demographic and of their community.
Grays runs a training Academy, The Construction Skills Academy. It worked because it was independent; it sat outside of places of learning in the first instance; young people could find it for themselves through our marketing. They then became engaged with the industry, with the pursuit of a trade and in turn with education and self improvement through construction.
We can make construction sexy; we just have to start thinking a little more originally. Box ticking messages, marketing and campaigns are exactly that. They do not serve us well. Construction can do better.