Pre-pandemic, commuting workers and visiting travelers provided construction projects with built-in audiences to monitor and observe progress on a day-to-day basis. Now, with normal activity curbed because of COVID-19, facilities are being built without spectators, and architecture and construction marketers are left to find new ways of promoting projects and maintaining visibility.
In the absence of traditional marketing and business development avenues, social media has become a “go to” channel for expanding project messaging beyond “just the facts.” With studies showing that the pandemic and subsequent shelter-in-place mandates have driven an uptick in social media usage, now is a good time to share project stories and communicate broader community value.
Some of the creative ways firms can promote projects include the following.
Virtual milestone celebrations
Milestones are still great for generating buzz around a project and celebrating these touchpoints in a project timeline can cut through the monotony and isolation of pandemic living. With careful planning and coordination, virtual celebrations are an opportunity to highlight the collaborative efforts of all project stakeholders – owners, donors, project teams and end users – in shaping facilities that help enhance the community. Video-friendly platforms, like Zoom, can be used to seamlessly facilitate and captured socially distanced celebrations with multiple speakers. Recordings can be easily shared on company websites, social media channels and used for other marketing activities.
Bring followers behind the scenes
Just because people aren’t walking by your project every day doesn’t mean they can’t follow its progress. Remind followers how your firm is helping to create a brighter future by showing the thought and planning behind the project’s creation. Consider providing a sneak-peek glimpse of schematics or renderings from the planning stages or creating an interview series with project team members talking about different aspects of the project’s development. Showcase your firm’s experience in executing innovative techniques and applying creative solutions during a pandemic.
Call upon local artists
As businesses have boarded up windows and doors in many cities across the country, murals and other forms of artistry have emerged as symbols of support and hope. Blank exteriors, including jobsite coverings, can become literal canvases for artists to display works and bring attention to timely issues and causes. Some have seen these efforts garner national exposure – often boosted by sharing via social media channels – grow. Leveraging loyal artist followings can expand your project’s visibility to new viewers and audiences.
Social media marketing is a great way to bring the community in for a view from behind a design and/or builder lens, and a branded hashtag campaign can help viewers follow progress with real-time updates. With so much uncertainty about the future, messaging should incorporate how, once completed, the project will meet today’s needs and how will it continue to serve and provide value in the future. Are there flexible features that can be highlighted? Breakthrough sustainable materials? Inventive technologies or operational pivots being employed? While post pandemic fallouts remain to be seen, for now, the forward-looking nature of project progress can provide viewers with a sense of hope and a way to continue feeling connected to the surrounding environment.