Content marketing for thought leadership in the construction industry

SR 99 construction bypass and ramp looking south

A friend who works with in construction industry is skeptical. He’s not convinced that ‘inbound marketing’ [blogging and other social media tools] can be applied to the construction industry. I respectfully disagree! I’ve seen content management and marketing for thought leadership applied to everything from Agriculture to Yoga and I believe it will work in the construction industry as well. Why?

Here are some of my beliefs:

  • Most companies have great stories and content — they just don’t use it as well as they could…
  • At the core, all great marketing is great storytelling
  • At the end of the day, every business is a people business

First, though what is this ‘thought leadership’? A simple definition might be a public display of expertise that can be easily found by people who are searching for it. How does a brand accomplish this? Though effective content management and content marketing. Because of my core beliefs, I think any company — even a construction company — can use the content they have or can create to tell great stories that attract people to their brand.

In his thought leadership classic ‘Brand Stand‘, Craig Badings tells the story of Dick Dusseldorp, a thought leader in the Australian construction industry before the phrase ‘thought leader’ was cool

During the 1970s and 1980s, when union action on most construction sites in Sydney were crippling the construction industry, the sites on which Lend Lease was building suffered no such misfortune. This was because Dusseldorp’s philosophy was to create a community of interest between Lend Lease’s key stakeholders. When other companies around him were banging heads with the unions, with resultant long delays and cost overruns on projects, Dusseldorp was sitting down with the workers and unions and discussing their issues. The results were agreements, jointly committed to by workers and management, and a share in the resulting rewards for buildings completed on time. He was a master at getting people to transcend their traditional conflicts and work towards mutually beneficial goals.

Badings, Craig (2009-07-08). BRAND STAND (Kindle Locations 237-243). BookPal. Kindle Edition.

How did he do it? In part he used content management and content marketing along with other communication skills to position his firm at the thought leadership center of his industry in his country. Speaking of Dusseldorp’s organization Lend Lease, Badings says…

It launched a website… along with a four-part DVD series, using a former TV journalist to interview a number of independent third parties about their views on the future workspace and its impacts across business, design, people and location. As a result, Lend Lease reached those who made decisions about office space and helped stimulate and frame the debate around the impacts and implications of future work environments in Australia. Through the series, the company engaged communities linked to its industry and positioned itself at the centre of this debate. It is the logical place to be as a leader in the construction industry, but Lend Lease has done it in a way that doesn’t push the company’s point of view. It took the approach that it would rather invite leading experts in this field across various disciplines to participate in and frame the discus-sion.

Badings, Craig (2009-07-08). BRAND STAND (Kindle Locations 224-231). BookPal. Kindle Edition.

Joy Davis, CSI, CCPR, of CSI in Albuquerque, says…

“In many ways, construction is a relationship-driven business, and at the root of every great relationship is trust. No single person can know everything about construction, so we need trustworthy experts we can turn to who can help us achieve our goals. Thought Leadership is a strategy based on the idea that you can be your clients’ preferred expert – a person they trust, and whom they think of first when they have a question, or a new project.” Source: Thought Leadership and Social Media in the Workplace

Every business — not just construction — is a people business, but because of the critical nature of construction projects trust may be even more important. How can that trust be most effectively engendered? Content management and marketing for thought leadership may be an answer that the construction industry has overlooked! Comment, call or ‘connect’ so we can talk about how this applies to you and your organization…

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