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In a competitive and homogeneous market, how can we differentiate a construction company to recruits?

Gibbs & RegisterBrand/Web/Photo/Videovisit website

Insights at a glance

  1. In the midst of labor shortages, it’s increasingly important for construction companies to differentiate themselves.
  2. Firms need strong brands to break through common misconceptions held by the younger generation.
  3. Construction companies are making big changes to attract and retain younger workers.

Construction Industry Insights

Labor Shortage

Between 2006 and 2011, the construction industry lost over two million jobs, and in 2010 the industry had a 26% unemployment rate. Although jobs have slowly returned as we leave the recession behind, many of the skilled workers have not. They left out of necessity and didn’t return once the economy rebounded.

This has created a labor shortage in the industry for over a decade. According to the USG Corporation and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index, the shortage has forced 63% of firms to increase rates, 70% to struggle to hit deadlines, and 40% to reject new projects. In the face of these challenges, it is increasingly important for construction companies to stand out in crowded markets.

Negative Perceptions

To make matters worse, the younger generation is less likely to view construction as a viable career path. According to a survey of contractors, young workers have negative perceptions of the construction industry. Apparently 61% of millennials and Generation Zers view construction jobs as “dirty” jobs, 55% believe they only require mindless strength, and 52% see them as temporary jobs instead of careers.

Despite misconceptions, there is an opportunity for construction companies to re-educate young workers on the advantages of pursuing a career in this high potential industry.

Recruiting and Retention

To attract and retain qualified workers, firms are making big changes. According to a survey from the Associated General Contractors of America, 60% of respondents have increased pay, 29% have offered incentives/bonuses, and 25% have improved employee benefits.

In addition, 55% of firms have recognized a need for on-the-job training and opportunities for advancement. The challenge, however, is balancing these employee-focused programs and higher pay with a caring culture that retains employees once they have been trained.

This marks a distinctive opportunity for companies who are willing to rebrand themselves to become more appealing to future generations of skilled laborers.

Client Challenges

Gibbs & Register (G&R) is a civil and sitework construction company serving municipalities and businesses across Central Florida.

To differentiate their company in a competitive and homogeneous market during a labor shortage, Gibbs & Register required a new brand foundation to engage a younger generation of skilled laborers, educate recruits on career opportunities, and substantiate the quality of their innovative work to prospective clients.

Our Approach

We started with excavation. Through collaboration with the G&R team, we unearthed and reformed key components of their brand identity—things like target audience personas, brand values, archetypes, and more. Once a strong foundation had been set, we started building a dynamic brand that could scale across all pieces of collateral while engaging young workers.

Our Solutions

Branding

To connect with recruits and clients, G&R’s messaging needed a new direction and voice, one that could emphasize their family-friendly culture and value-through-innovation service model.  Throughout the website, headlines play off construction verbiage in a fun, down-to-earth way to create a more approachable brand. The new messaging direction also emphasizes the benefits of working at G&R in an attempt to inform younger workers of promising career opportunities.

From a design perspective, G&R’s color palette needed a different coat to set them apart from the shades of blue common in the industry, and their brand mark needed to be overhauled. We reimagined and modernized it, combining a bold color scheme with simple, sturdy geometry to construct a timeless, scalable mark for the brand.

Website

Many of G&R’s competitors target prospective clients through their websites. Considering the labor shortage and G&R’s need for younger skilled laborers, we took a different approach. On the home page, the second, third, and fourth viewports target potential recruits searching for a career. We also streamlined the application process, so recruits can easily review openings and apply on the site.

To optimize the website for an increasing number of hispanic recruits, many of whom speak little English, we implemented Spanish translation functionality on the site. The website also features a custom CMS solution, allowing G&R’s internal team to easily add featured jobs, manage the blog, and edit content to connect with their target demographic.

Although G&R’s projects come from returning clients predominantly, the website solution needed to reach prospective clients as a secondary audience. The bottom of the Home page features top projects, while the Project page showcases key projects in a grid layout, making it easy to view all projects at once or navigate from one to the other.

To better target prospective recruits and clients alike, we created custom video and photo assets for the website. The videos, especially, are a point-of-difference in the regional market, giving G&R’s target audiences a unique glimpse into company culture.

Impact

Everything on the new website is unified behind unique messaging, and modern web functionality has improved the UX for clients and recruits alike. From creative to content, the new brand is cohesive and distinctly Gibbs & Register, helping them stick out in the regional construction market.

Recently launched in May 2019, G&R has already reaped the benefits of their newly branded website. Prior to launch, they received 10 application submissions per week on average. Post launch, they have received 6–12 applications per day and the applicants are higher quality. These results meet G&R’s need to educate and recruit more skilled laborers. We look forward to seeing how the new brand and website continue to make a measurable impact for G&R over time.

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