Is branding positively impacting construction?

Onsite performance might still be the most significant driver behind contract wins, but effective branding is becoming increasingly important for Middle East construction firms

COMMENT, Business

Like it or not, we live in a brand-conscious world. This is nothing new. For many years, the consumer industry has relied on brand trust and recognition as much as it has innovation and product quality. Of course, slick branding cannot compensate for a substandard product, but by the same token, the best product in the world is unlikely to succeed without an effective brand to back it up.

It could be argued that business-to-business (B2B) sectors like construction have remained somewhat shielded from the rise of branding. Of course, contractors, consultants, and suppliers have relied on their reputations since time immemorial, but these reputations have been built on proven track records and word of mouth. Perhaps the same could be said of successful consumer brands, but by and large, the element of salesmanship within this domain has remained more pronounced.

Nevertheless, today’s construction industry is taking branding increasingly seriously, with sizeable budgets set aside for strategies and implementation.

Yet generally – and in my opinion, fortunately – the aforementioned element of salesmanship has remained largely absent from the construction sector. Instead, the industry appears to be cherry-picking the best aspects of its reputation-based heritage in order to imbue its branding with an underlying philosophy of added value. The result? A potent combination of substance and style.

Last month, a selection of stakeholders from the Middle East’s construction sector discussed the importance of branding at Construction Week: Leaders in Construction Summit UAE 2015. As panel moderator Paula Murphy, Arcadis’ global head of marketing and communications, put it: “Your corporate identity and your logo are very much part of your brand. But when we’re talking about brand today, we’re really talking about a reputation and position in the market.”

Later that month, Arcadis decided to transform this philosophy into action with the launch of a single corporate identity for global markets. This week, three of the firm’s chiefs sit down with Construction Week to explain what this new brand means in practical terms for Arcadis’ clients, both internationally and locally.

Encouragingly, the company’s rebranding operation runs far deeper than name alone. Arcadis has embarked on a top-down restructuring process for its organisation, enabling it to draw on global expertise to meet local requirements. In short, this should result in a broader service offering for customers, irrespective of their location.

And when taken within this context, branding is no bad thing. On the contrary, such efforts should serve to strengthen client offerings. Providing the construction sector continues to focus on substance over style, branding can act as an extension of a company’s onsite performance.

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Construction Week - Issue 767
Sep 01, 2020