Big Project ME August 2019

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channel for advertising. The paradigm has now changed, with thought leadership and content marketing attracting investors more organically. Quality content has the potential to help construction industry marketers cost-effectively drive ROI. The key to attracting the right clientele is providing thought leadership content that places the audience at the centre of the platform. Engaging with like-minded professionals and investors on oniline platforms provides an additional opportunity for business owners to inspire and connect with others. Topics can range from white papers and opinionated pieces on the cutting edge of construction technology, to the advancement of 3D modelling and virtual reality. TIP #2 – BUILD RELATIONSHIPS VIA PUBLIC SPEAKING The construction industry is rapidly changing to meet the expectations of the built environment. Trade shows, conferences and events can help generate new sales leads, deepen connections with existing contacts and glean more information across developing markets. The industrial, commercial and real estate sectors have a lot to gain by networking and relationshipbuilding at the mid-levels of their organisations. The quality of stakeholder relationships will depend on the quality of the communication involved. It is important to establish the right standards, processes and outreach to the right stakeholders and partners on business services, agreements and new offers. Winning industry awards, or even being a finalist, can offer a magnitude of benefits. Building and construction awards add prestige, improve market visibility and differentiate organisations from the competition. Business awards can also help generate additional sales and help motivate staff. TIP #3 – RE-ARCHITECT BRAND POSITION TO MAINTAIN STRONG PERCEPTION A jack of all trades is master of none. Many companies in the construction and property industry don’t realise just how much this pertains not just to prospective employees or subcontractors, but also to them. Effective brand communication employs both creativity and strategy to build and maintain strong perceptions that can increase an organisation’s bottom line. An effective and targeted brand positioning strategy includes a strong media relations campaign, a sound digital strategy, and event and content marketing to bring on board new investors and partners, as well as strengthen employee relations. August 2019 |

Clear communication is essential if appropriate messages are to reach the target audience. Multi-faceted communication across internal and external channels on projects can bring on board new investors or improve relations with current ones. Becoming an expert can provide credibility and produce greater profit margins, while positioning a business across a niche service can attract the right investors. TIP #4– BUILD ONLINE AND OFFLINE AWARENESS TO CREATE INTEREST The construction business is without doubt an offline business; however, a majority of investors, architects, developers and construction workers continue to spend a significant number of hours on social sites and on the internet, making it mandatory for businesses to market online. Aside from a construction company’s brand, a business website should be responsive, adaptable and searchable across a wide range of devices including mobile, tablet and desktop. More than half of the UAE’s population access the internet via mobile devices, making it imperative for websites to be mobile-optimised. Marketing in the construction industry can be a challenge; however, if properly executed, it can build a positive reputation within the industry, attract key prospects and contribute to overall business objectives and lead conversions. Anastasiya Golovatenko is an account director at Sherpa Communications.


Behind the curve


ith the Middle East construction sector under growing pressure as a result of a tightening economy, construction companies should be looking at ways to streamline their business processes, improve cash flow management and tighten risk management. Those that sharpen internal

processes and systems today will be best positioned for an upswing in government and private sector investment in the years to come. The sector faces numerous challenges – challenging economic growth, shrinking margins, skill shortages, rising resource and labour costs – which means it’s under pressure to start innovating. INVESTMENT IN TECH IS BEHIND THE CURVE The challenges the industry faces are compounded by the fact that many construction groups have not digitised operations such as cost-consulting. This means they lack visibility into – and control over – the many variables, changes, people and equipment involved in any construction project. Middle Eastern construction companies should be looking for ways to use technology to drive higher productivity, achieve cost savings and improve project management, to weather a tumultuous time for the industry. However, the lean years of late have seen IT spending in the construction industry stagnate, despite the accelerating pace of innovation around the world. For example, adoption of wearables, 3D printing, driverless heavy vehicles, drones and building information modelling is rising in the global construction sector. To take full advantage of these advanced technologies, many local construction companies will first need to modernise their core back-office systems. They should be looking to tried and tested solutions for estimating, project control, enterprise accounting and operational costing. These solutions will enable them to drive down the cost of maintaining legacy applications, help them to become more agile and give them clearer real-time visibility into business performance. BREAKING DOWN SILOS Construction performance and progress cannot be monitored on financial data alone; engineering information is just as critical. Engineering control includes generating and managing allowable and actual quantities of resources, wastages, manhours of labour, production of equipment and time for construction activities. Without digitisation, an organisation has no clear indication of the status of a contract, because it doesn’t have real-time visibility into these factors. Today’s business solutions can break down the silos, enabling estimators and accountants to produce real-