As an industry where competition is fierce and success relies on a steady flow of new contract wins, the construction sector is one of the most highly competitive marketplaces for companies to enter and, more so, to thrive in.
Latest figures reveal the construction market is worth nearly £164 billion in Britain alone, with just shy of 30,000 unique construction companies, employing almost 3 million people between them, and it's a sector that's only continuing to expand year on year, having already doubled since 2000.
But despite the growing market, only a third of construction companies survive past the five-year point in business, the lowest success rate of any industry type in existence. With cash flow issues being cited as one of the primary causes of collapse among construction organisations in operation today.
So, faced with a higher than average probability of failure, and an increasingly competitive marketplace, how can today's construction companies ensure success when the odds are stacked against them? Particularly if you're a new player, competing with established organisations, in an already saturated sector?
Having worked with several construction companies over the 36 years Merchant has been in business, we've had to rise to this challenge on more than one occasion, most recently through our work with global property construction consultants Gleeds, and Hampshire-based groundworks supplier Mackoy.
While Gleeds has been around for 130 years and currently offers its consultancy services across six continents, Mackoy is less than a decade old and very much still at the early stages of its operation. Despite their differing propositions and years in service, both companies engaged us looking to reposition their respective brands after a period of rapid growth. In the case of Mackoy, this had seen the groundworks and civil engineering contractor's turnover reach eight-figures in just seven years. While for Gleeds, the company's expansion into more than 20 countries was the trigger for its re-evaluation of its B2B brand position.
Bringing Gleeds back together again
Over 130 years in the retail and construction sector Gleeds has accomplished some impressive feats, from helping the likes of Marks & Spencer acquire new commercial sites in oversees markets, to having a hand in the delivery of London 2012 and Crossrail, a subsidiary of Transport for London, jointly sponsored by the Department of Transport. So it goes without saying that Gleeds has been instrumental in bringing some of the largest construction infrastructure projects in the world to fruition.
When we met Gleeds, the company was operating 79 offices across 20 unique countries, and had developed 15 individual microsites to support its localised presence. While this had initially seemed like a great solution for managing each of Gleeds' separate global markets, an unforeseen counter effect was a dilution in the Gleeds brand. Each website was autonomously managed and edited by a local stakeholder, which had inadvertently resulted in 15 contrasting brand voices. In addition the CMS for each website was long outdated, and causing increasing frustration for content editors, not to mention limited in its digital capabilities.
As a result Gleeds wanted to consolidate its 15 websites into one all-encompassing new site, to unify the brand on the global stage, but while still having the functionality to service each of its local market stakeholders. It turned to us to find the perfect solution, and build a brand new dynamic online home for its B2B operations.
Setting Gleeds up with an enterprise-grade CMS
An enterprise-grade CMS or enterprise content management (ECM) is a scalable, flexible platform, offering modern businesses a great solution for website hosting. The technology's propensity to change makes it ideal for content editing, and a great longterm solution to support websites that will continually grow, evolve and host a wealth of information over their lifespan. For Gleeds, who needed a website capable of handling its business operations across six continents, migrating to an enterprise-grade CMS was a no-brainer.
User experience (UX) was another big consideration when it came to redesigning Gleeds' all singing new website. Not only did we have to engage one target market, we had to appeal to hundreds of thousands of users based in 20 unique countries worldwide. Ensuring Gleeds was as digitally relevant to a site visitor in Asia as much as in Europe or the U.S.A.
To do this, our developers built Gleeds a brand new backend with the bespoke functionality to identify a user's country of origin by its IP address. We then leveraged this by building Gleeds an intuitive homepage that draws in content relevant to the users' location. This feature ensured that no matter who accessed the Gleeds website, the homepage would always present market-relevant information, helping the user to have a truly localised experience.
Creating Gleeds a new global resourcing portal
Another key part of our website overhaul for Gleeds involved its recruitment drive, specifically the way it managed global candidate applications across its 79 offices. We integrated a third party resourcing application into a redesigned careers page for Gleeds, giving the company a centralised system to manage its resourcing requirements for every one of its locations worldwide. This together with the enterprise CMS we implemented, and our new sitemap, has succeeded in realigning the fragmented Gleeds brand across its portfolio. Bringing Gleeds digitally up-to-date, and ensuring the global construction consultancy maintains its market-leading position at the forefront of the sector.
Helping the South's leading groundworks supplier look the part
Another construction client to seek our help in raising their brand profile, and transforming their digital assets in 2018 was Mackoy Ltd. Despite only establishing in 2011, Mackoy groundworks & civil engineering had achieved serious strides within the construction sector. A family-owned operation based out of Hampshire, Mackoy had consecutively tendered and won contracts to develop groundworks infrastructure for the UK's most prestigious and influential house builders. Clocking up a £30 million turnover just seven years from launching, and repeatedly winning new business contracts in key counties throughout the South of the UK.
But in successfully nurturing their groundworks operation and achieving the success most new businesses can only dream of, Mackoy had reached a point where it needed professional brand management and digital marketing support. Which is where our expertise in construction marketing came in.
Getting to know Mackoy & the wider groundworks sector
One thing was a given when we met with Mackoy: the company was great at what it did, and knew the industry inside and out. In fact, it hadn’t taken Mackoy any time at all to make inroads with Britain's biggest property house builders, with the company receiving its first major contract from Bellway just a year into its groundworks and civil engineering operations.
Essentially what Mackoy needed help with was telling their story and getting it heard. With an MD who'd started the company from scratch in his mid 20s and taken it to an eight-figure turnover in just seven years, the company had vastly outgrown its existing website, and were missing a wealth of content opportunities to boost its search engine ranking.
Our track record of successfully repositioning construction companies around the world made us the perfect fit to reposition the Mackoy brand in the way MD Mike Mayock envisioned, a vital step in helping the company achieve its next set of business objectives. We started out in the same way we approach each new client who contracts our services; a series of discovery sessions to get to know Mackoy's business better. These meetings with Mackoy's key leadership stakeholders, including MD Mike, not only revealed insights about Mackoy's operations, history and its future objectives, they also gave us a greater understanding of the wider groundworks sector in general.
Coupled with these face-to-face meetings we also conducted our own competitor and market research to further bolster our knowledge of the groundworks marketplace Mackoy was operating in. The information we extracted during this investigative stage of our relationship formed the foundation of the strategy we developed to reposition the Mackoy brand across its entire suite of online and offline assets, including building the groundworks giant a new b2b website. Mackoy was so impressed with our plan it awarded us a monthly retainer to execute the activity that would help take its groundworks operation to the next level.
How we transformed Mackoy
One of the great things about working with a full-scale digital marketing agency (as Mackoy quickly discovered) is the access you get to a ready-made team of creative experts. This is the value we at Merchant bring to our clients, and whether it's working within the construction sector, oil, commodities, logistics, or indeed one of the many other industry areas we have expertise in, we know exactly what it takes to transform a brand, and bring our clients results.
With Mackoy, this was no exception.
In a few months we'd:
- Designed, built, developed and launched the groundworks supplier a bespoke new website, hosted on an enterprise-grade content management system.
- Storyboarded, shot and edited a fantastic promotional day in the life film, showcasing the incredible scale of Mackoy's groundworks and civil engineering remit.
- Visited several Mackoy worksites over the course of a week to create an extensive professional bank of original photography assets, made up of hundreds of unique images.
- Written and optimised over fifty original blog posts, helping to boost Mackoy's search engine ranking for dozens of key search terms.
- Taken complete ownership of the content, design and printing of a bespoke corporate brochure, providing a key takeaway for Mackoy to leave at its business meetings.
- Repackaged key employee engagement and stakeholder communication tools, including the Mackoy Good Practice Guide, contained on all Mackoy worksites, and internal Health & Safety newsletters.
- Created an entirely new brand identity for Mackoy, and developed a comprehensive set of brand guidelines, to protect the brand's integrity.
- Created a series of engaging employment campaigns to help Mackoy attract quality candidates to fulfil its new contracts in key locations around the South of England.
- Took ownership of Mackoy's Facebook and LinkedIn social media feeds, creating organic and topical updates to drive engagement and boost followers, alongside moderating comments.
In achieving all of the above, not only did we secure Mackoy meetings with key companies on the groundworks suppliers' target list, we also helped Mackoy successfully bring in new business. Proving the valuable ROI our outcome-driven digital marketing brings.
Gleeds and Mackoy are just two of the companies we've helped to reposition over our 36-year tenure in the digital marketing sector. To see how we've also helped iconic global brands like Gatwick Airport, NHS England, Kingfisher plc and i-Ride, take a look at our Case Studies page.