Playing a Home Game: Successful AEC Public Relations


We know the magic of playing on one’s home field or court, whether you’ve been a fan or a player. The support shines and imbues the home team with confidence and, in a lot of ways, a better chance at winning. This is what successful Public Relations (PR) can do for an Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry firm. With a strong and positive public perception, it is easier to find and win work. PR is well worth the investment.


Pick Your PR Focus

Public Relations span a broad range of tactics and potential approaches, and picking and choosing which complement your team’s strength is to your benefit. From content creation to public interactions, authenticity, creativity, and expertise are your friends.


Marketing Communications

Promoting the firm’s own work should be familiar to all of us, as it’s one realm of PR we have the most control over. From social media plans to less digital ideas, self-promotion relies on a consistent view of branding and intention.


Your marketing communications tools include:


Digital/Online Relations

The digital network is expansive and ubiquitous, and it benefits all firms to ensure their business and work is trackable on the internet sphere. Having an organized, positive digital footprint is a foundational first step for all modern marketing, and curating PR in that sphere is crucial.


Digital and online relations include:


  • Social Media: Using social media networks to keep a firm and its work visible to followers

  • Websites: A digital portfolio and platform for potential clients and others to scope out a firm and contact them


Event Management

The AEC industry is tight-knit, and there are many events held year-long. It benefits every firm to have members attend, for networking or otherwise. The benefits are even more clear if a firm is aware of events in advance and gets involved.


Event management includes:


  • Speaking Opportunities: When a member of a firm is invited to speak at an event as an authority or thought leader

  • Trade Shows/Exhibits: Events where industry members display, demonstrate, and discuss their work


Media Relations

Communication is key with the media, whether someone else is writing about your firm or it’s your own marketing team. Be sure to know the differences and advantages between each tool within this category, give your writers enough information, and make certain you oversee their creation and final drafts.


Your media relations tools are these:

  • Press Events: Events that invite journalists to learn more about a project, service, or firm

  • Press Releases: Brief articles featuring important information or a particularly noteworthy event 

  • Feature Articles: Detailed articles exploring a service, project, or more

  • By-Line Articles: Authoritative articles informing readers of an expertise


Community Relations

This category has too many advantages to pass up. Networking is key in all areas of work, and marketing is no different. With these tools, you are able to make more direct impressions on people and create lasting relationships that get to the heart of marketing: the success of everyone involved.


Community relations includes:

  • Association Involvement: Obtaining membership with an industry association

  • Awards: Submitting projects to competitions and receiving recognition/accolades

  • Sponsorships: Providing monetary support for an association or organization


Visual Mediums

Seeing is believing. When it comes to marketing, providing visual evidence for others’ assessment is crucial, but even when there’s no particular evidence to provide—say you’re hiring and need to make a social media post for it—viewers will zip right on past a block of text. Add visual interest, and where possible, make those tie directly to your work and branding.


Your visual medium tools are these:

  • Photography: Static visual images used to display something to hook or inform a viewer

  • Video: Short or long-form recordings used to visually describe a variety of subjects

We talk a lot about marketing mentality, and PR plans follow the same idea. Look for opportunities and openings to deservedly broaden and improve your firm’s public perception. That way, winning the home games is a cinch.


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About The Author

Elise McGregor

As an editor and writer, Elise knows both sides of the process. An increasing number of years under their belt tweaking and creating for the AEC industry has left them with a passion for all the details—from construction processes to declaring achievements. They have a thorough eye, a quick mind, and a reliable internet savvy to boot, allowing a clever attention to detail that whips everything into tip-top shape. Elise is a freelance consultant for the AEC industry.

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