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Rebranding Construction Careers

THROUGH ITS STAND-OUT COMMUNICATION PLAN, ONE AGC CHAPTER IS CHANGING HEARTS AND MINDS

BY AARON BOUCHANE
WORKFORCE & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT MANAGER
AGC OREGON-COLUMBIA CHAPTER

Common topic in construction workforce development circles is the need for a communication plan that does two things: 1) promote construction careers in a manner that makes them more desirable to a younger population, and 2) overcome misconceptions influencers (partners, teachers, mentors) have regarding skilled trade careers. This is no different in Oregon.

In 2014, the AGC Oregon-Columbia Chapter launched the Build-Oregon website. It was the first opportunity to brand Build-Oregon as the statewide entity that seeks to change perceptions of construction careers while also providing information and resources for individuals to take a first step toward a career in construction. In addition to the website, informational resources were also created, including construction career trading cards, a poster and a career roadmap.

As 2020 starts, AGC has taken full control of the Build-Oregon brand, marketing strategy and outreach efforts.

AGC also embarked on an outreach campaign to promote the Build-Oregon brand, the website and the informational materials. A key component to the outreach campaign was reaching a younger demographic through social media platforms, traditionally not something the construction sector has done well. With the help of a social media marketing contractor, AGC created Build-Oregon accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn, and an online marketing strategy that included content creation geared toward a younger and more diverse demographic and paid online advertising.

In 2018, after increasing its workforce development capacity, the chapter created a new Build-Oregon logo, upgraded the website, and updated the informational resources. The goal was to provide a fresh new look that was more attractive to a younger audience.

As 2020 starts, AGC has taken full control of the Build-Oregon brand, marketing strategy and outreach efforts. One exception is its partnership with Feathr, which provides effective and easy-to-use online marketing tools at a reasonable cost for associations. Build-Oregon’s brand is currently being promoted in three ways: 1) website promotion through paid online advertising, 2) posting of pro-construction workforce articles through Build-Oregon’s social media channels and 3) distribution of Build-Oregon resources in print and electronically. While AGC has learned much over the last few years, it’s still learning new things every day and is always looking for training opportunities that support these activities.

So, is it working? Is the chapter changing hearts and minds? Looking only at the data, AGC is happy with these efforts. Last calendar year it had approximately 650,000 impressions (how many times Build-Oregon ads were seen) and 123,000 reached (number of people who saw Build-Oregon ads). This resulted in 3,700 click-throughs (people clicked to the targeted website) at a cost per click of about $1 — this remained steady throughout the year. It has also seen a steady increase in Build-Oregon website traffic, and last year it distributed 250 Build-Oregon posters and 500 sets of trading cards. This year it anticipates an increase. It’s hard to know the true impact of these efforts, but AGC and its members know that a broad and effective construction career communication effort is vital to develop the future workforce this industry needs. AGC Oregon Columbia Chapter is happy to lead this effort.