This article first appeared in the Daily Post‘s business section.
Construction PR and community engagement is still vital activity for schemes across the UK, with organisations turning to digital solutions to combat COVID-19 restrictions.
Projects largely carried on throughout lockdown with the workforce adhering to government guidelines, which meant communication with relevant stakeholders should have continued to be a priority.
Attention for many in the sector is now turning to the added value elements, often put forward in the tender, and how these can still be delivered with the usual impact and outcome.
Visiting schools, colleges and universities to deliver talks and inviting learners to site is challenging and may not be possible until the new year at the earliest.
Record videos interviewing trainees and those who are progressing up the career ladder to be watched in the classrooms or remotely. Discuss how to get into the industry, what to expect when they are in the role and tackle myths and misperceptions.
True engagement is two-way. Liaise with the teacher about whether it’s possible to arrange a live Q+A session or if participants can submit questions to be answered by the company.
Conduct a virtual site tour with an employee walking through the scheme and talking about different features of the work involved. Show challenging aspects, key health and safety protocols and educational parts such as the importance of foundations.
Filming content has the added benefit of being able to reach more pupils and students than ever before as the video can be shared with multiple organisations.
Complement this with print collateral to reinforce key messages and allow people to access the information in their own time or if they don’t have access to the internet.
Tailor the design and layout to the target audience: a magazine-style publication will look and feel different for undergraduates compared to a year 9 class about to choose their GCSE options.
In addition, offer to hold mock interviews over a video call to provide valuable practice and feedback for those considering applying for a role in construction.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, meet the buyer events were a popular method of engaging local suppliers and talent as part of boosting the economy around a project.
Connect with the same people online by allocating time slots to allow them to find out more. Promote these opportunities via the same channels and partners as before to maximise take-up.
Also, sponsorship in the community is still a viable option for businesses seeking to support organisations. In fact, the argument could be made that it is more important than ever before with most income streams stopped or severely limited.
Identify relevant charities and groups and review how you may able to support them at this time.
In addition, it is still possible to carry out pro-bono or heavily discounted work from landscaping at a care home to extending a car park for a sports club.