Guidance for AEC Technical Staff
Did you know public relations is not solely a marketing activity? Every project construction site is a space to reinforce the firm name. Every innovative and unique project design can be the impetus for a written article, speaking engagement, marketing collateral, or award submission. Technical professionals, your intimate familiarity with design, projects, processes, and the solutions provided is an untapped gold mine for public relations.
Here are six ways to obtain name recognition and promote your expertise or project:
- Review your current projects. Is there anything unique about the project? Did you solve a problem that provided an innovative outcome? Communicate these activities to your marketing team.
- On-site promotion – even during the design phase. Job site signs, branded hard hats, vehicles, vests/jackets—all of these items let the community-at-large know your firm is part of this project in their neighborhood, on their commute, or by their child’s school. Coordinate with other consultants and the contractor as well to share the cost.
- Alert your marketing staff of all project milestones. Give them details for a press release, project description, blog article, and social media posts. Bring them to the site to record a video of project events. Teach them about the technical process of project completion and the challenges overcome.
- Negotiate participation in client-organized public relations events. Consultants and design team members are often overlooked when the owner/client is organizing promotions. Be vocal and coordinate early in the process so the owner and contractor know you would like to participate. Include project public relations activities as an agenda item in your project coordination meetings throughout the project.
- Work with your marketing staff to create a project memento. Ideas could include a framed rendering or a plaque for installation in the lobby. One client created Challenge Coins for a fire station project. Don’t forget to submit the project for an award submittal. Nothing looks better on the owner’s wall than a framed certificate of award. Be creative!
- Hold a project press event. Offer tours of the site and facility. Let the owner of the project do your marketing for you by joining the tour and singing your praises. Your attention to detail and responsive service will speak for itself.
Public relations can be a good way to influence the image of your firm, but the story cannot be told without your intimate and hands-on understanding of the project’s journey. You have the knowledge needed to help the marketing team tell the story.