The architecture, engineering, and construction sectors are increasingly competitive in markets at every level. Relationships are certainly helpful for business development efforts, but having the experience to show you can handle a new project is crucial to securing work. Firms that can successfully differentiate themselves are far more likely to be on the winning side. But, how exactly does an A/E/C firm stand out from others? One proven technique is weaving together a strong narrative that showcases previous work and positions you as a leader in the field. Identifying those successful project is a great step, although it’s just the beginning of a longer process.
If your architecture, engineering, or construction firm has a great case study to share, there are a number of ways to highlight that success. A blog post is always good and including case studies or representative matters on your website can be helpful. However, to truly supercharge your business development efforts, consider these three strategic communications strategies:
- Award Submissions: Recognition can be a powerful thing. Whether from local news outlets, industry publications, or trade associations, award-winning projects become highly credentialed (it’s like getting a valuable seal of approval). Not only can you tout your project and firm as having received the award, but the honor itself can become a great news trigger for additional media placements. We’ve covered tips for submitting awards in the past, including finding award programs, drafting award nominations, and managing the awards process. If you’ve got a truly impressive project, find the appropriate award program and go for it.
- Thought Leadership Guest Articles: Exceptional work usually indicates that your firm solved a daunting challenge, took a new approach, or provided truly innovative solutions. These types of results make for great guest articles. Sharing your lessons and best practices not only promotes your firm, but it positions your team members as thought leaders in their field. Consider how you can repurpose a project for guest articles. For example, engineering firm Draper Aden Associates has developed multiple guest articles and two profiles connected to an innovative strategy the firm developed for a complex stormwater and erosion control issue. This content provides exposure for the firm and major firepower for future pitches. Here’s another tip: consider partnering with your client on a guest article to further show value to your relationship.
- RFP and RFQ Content: Far too many firms simply include brief project summaries in lengthy RFP and RFQ documents. Potential clients often glaze over those bland summaries. Rather, take content developed for awards or thought leadership pieces and use that in your RFP or RFQ. By crafting a more compelling and engaging narrative, your proposal will get more attention. Furthermore, showing that your firm has received awards and press attention for your work will solidify you as a leader in the industry with impressive credentials. So move past the same old summaries and develop content that truly captures your project’s significance.
Utilizing the strategies outlined above will ensure that your firm stands out from the pack when you’re competing for new business. Ultimately, these approaches will boost your bottom line!