At WHYFOR, we’ve been guiding clients through strategic, insight-driven marketing plans for more than a decade. Over that time, we’ve worked across a number of different industries, from real estate to wellness to tech to advocacy and construction. And within each one, we’ve learned a few truths along the way — because while every business faces the same six challenges, those challenges can include critically important nuances based on the industry.
Right now, experts have noted that the construction industry is facing challenges related to:
- Project delays
- A shortage of skilled workers
- Access to supplies and materials
When it comes to the construction industry and the clients we’ve worked with, we’ve seen recurring marketing themes that need to be consistently addressed. They’re that important.
- Relationships need nurturing. It’s important for those in the construction industry, which spans a large spectrum of services, to consistently nurture their relationships — internally and externally. We’re talking about clients, vendors, subs and employees. It’s those relationships that could potentially impact revenue, as leads come in and bids are requested for projects. Personal recommendations, for example, improve conversion rates by 5.5 times. And if those relationships lead to new opportunities, it’s easy to see the connection between relationships and revenue. By understanding and appreciating the relationships within the industry ecosystem, construction companies can maintain a solid standing among competitors who pay less attention to those details.
- Reputation matters. A construction company’s reputation could be its lifeline in a close-knit industry. Word travels fast, and negative ones travel the fastest, creating the potential for a company’s reputation to impact its relationships, which would ultimately trickle down to impacting revenue. It’s why the work that a construction company does, establishing its reputation in the industry, is so important to its success. Reputation can be managed effectively in a number of ways, from PR to digital community management, but it starts with the actual work — which means reputation needs to be managed first from within, among employees, before it ever becomes an issue externally.
- Recruitment is vital to sustainability. Without the right people, a construction company can’t do the work it needs to do, especially in an industry that is experiencing rapid growth and consistent labor shortages — according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And, without the right people, construction companies can’t do the work the way they need to do it to maintain its reputation and its relationships. It’s why recruitment is quite possibly the most important ingredient for sustainability, especially in an industry with 830,000 players, according to statistics. By having a clear understanding of internal needs, streamlining internal processes and targeting the right people with employment opportunities, construction companies have a much better chance at onboarding the type of people who match their culture, share their same vision and understand their importance to the overall success of the business. And when it’s done right, recruitment has the potential to positively impact relationships and reputation — the other two critical keys to success for construction companies.
There is no secret formula to marketing for construction companies, but there is nothing lost in putting focused energy into any of these three areas. Interested in learning more? Request a case study on one of our construction clients. We’d be happy to share with you what we did for them and how those results elevated their level of success.
Anyone with a pulse will know that the real estate market is hot, white hot, at the moment. Trending topics include discussions about whether or not a bubble exists and if it will burst while potential buyers are offering everything short of their first born to secure a home among a field of bidders.
In addition, industry experts at Realtor Magazine and CRE are pointing to a list of potential challenges facing the market, including:
- Labor shortages
- Rising interest rates
- Remote work
- Affordable housing
At WHYFOR, we get it. When it comes to real estate, every player is challenged to rise above and stand out in a highly competitive space. It can be daunting. But, our real estate experience has shown us a few things about the importance of using insights and integration to influence behavior.
Here are three things we know about real estate.
- Understand your personas: It’s important to know who you’re talking to. Are they a young couple looking for a larger home to accommodate a growing family? Is it a newly-single parent looking for a fresh space to call their own? Or, are the owners older, hoping to downsize but still have room to entertain at the holidays? Personas dial in audiences with precision. Understanding them helps brands shape the content, particularly voice and substance, of what they’ll share with each individual persona. And there are so many different ways to understand an audience, from income level to timing to geography to passions. An outdoorsy persona likely wouldn’t be interested in high-rise living, for example. And the same could be said in reverse. It’s that in-depth understanding that makes marketing more powerful and more effective.
- Understand where they are on their journey: Once you understand who your brand personas are, it’s important to understand where they are. A couple nearing retirement may still be a few years away from purchasing a second home, or they could be ready to pull the trigger on a purchase immediately. The details in the circumstances map out how a brand should market to a potential client — from voice and tone, to opportunities to buy to the all-important “call to action” statement. Those same variables can be applied to any type of marketing, from digital ads to blogs to email campaigns. Understanding the point along the journey also helps with user experience elements, from digital ads to landing pages to website development.
- Understand the pain points each persona is experiencing and what questions they may have: Personas are actually mosaic individuals, if that paints a picture of the character traits that are poured into each one. Knowing that, it’s safe to say that a number of different but potentially related pain points could bubble to the surface, with a similar volume of purchase-related questions. When it comes to real estate, consider questions related to:
- Cost and timing
- Amenities and aesthetics
- But also consider what, specifically, they may be searching for:
- Custom estate
- First or second home
- Land that could be developed at a later date
By addressing personas with an informed perspective, it builds a stronger relationship and more trust between the prospect and the brand — lending the brand greater influence on the prospect.
Want to see more? Our case studies bring these truths to life.
Everyone is familiar with a house of cards. And if not, they’re familiar with Jenga, either from childhood or from the play area at your favorite bar.
Both things capture the same theory — that a missing card or a misaligned wooden brick could turn a solid structure into a fragile one and send it tumbling to pieces. The same can be said for business.
And that’s the idea behind H.A.L.O., the proprietary business system developed by WHYFOR’s founder and used to assess and find solutions for one or more of the six challenges every business faces. Because every business, regardless of industry, faces the same universal challenges.
We’ve talked about how relationships can impact reputation and how reputation can impact recruitment. See? Jenga. One loose brick, or one challenge in one area of a business, can hamstring other departments or initiatives.
And sometimes it happens without anyone ever even realizing it. Because not all of the six challenges, the ones we refer to as the six Rs, have the same voice. They don’t all get paid the same level of attention. Some stay in the background, making it easier to overlook their impact.
One example is retention, the last of the six Rs in our H.A.L.O. series. Retention, as in employee retention and client retention — both of which are pretty critical to successful business operations.
For both scenarios, why would a business struggle with retention? Greener pastures, or at least the perception of it, could be one reason. And what’s in those pastures?
From an employee perspective, likely more money, better benefits, better alignment with values, more convenience or more inner fulfillment. From a client perspective, it could include spending less and getting more, better results, improved service and better alignment on values.
Either way, revenue growth depends on retention. Current labor statistics indicate it is a worker’s market with a record-breaking 10.1 million job openings in the U.S. as of the end of July, according to Forbes. And competition for business has never wavered as those seeking service are perpetually interested in receiving the most for the lowest cost possible.
So it’s fair to say that those who cannot retain employees will have a difficult time retaining clients, too. And if retention is a challenge, it’s very possible that reputation will suffer, which will undoubtedly impact revenue.
That was the sound of several cards falling after just one was pulled from its position.
But there are solutions for retention challenges and the H.A.L.O. business system bakes them right in. It begins with understanding why retention is a challenge and then determining how to adjust to improve the situation.
It may mean improved communication or an adjustment of roles or it may involve switching health insurance providers. The point is, everything is unknown until the work is done to dig in and expose the sore spots. And the same goes for client relationships.
H.A.L.O. helps with both. To learn more about our H.A.L.O. business system, download our one-sheet.
On the surface, recruiting appears to be a numbers game. There are countless statistics attached to workforce development, and let’s not forget an employer’s desire to cast a wide net to attract a large pool of candidates — forgetting momentarily that quality trumps quantity when it comes to filling vacancies.
But recruitment, a critical piece of WHYFOR’s H.A.L.O business system, should be viewed as more than a task that needs to be completed to fill a seat. Consider, for a moment, its ability to be an influencer. Less the Instagram influencer and more the influencer of success for other elements of a business.
We’re talking about revenue, relationships, reputation and retention. Yes, recruitment impacts all of those things — and probably more — which is why it deserves more attention, on a deeper level, than it receives.
Any HR professional knows the numbers.
- Every vacancy costs an employer $500 a day.
- Almost half of businesses say their best hires come from employee referrals.
- More than half of job candidates don’t receive any communication in the months after applying for a position.
- A staggering three-quarters of employers have said they hired the wrong person for a position.
- The average job opening receives 250 resumes.
- About 4 million Americans left their jobs in April of 2021 to pursue something better.
Even for someone who likes math, those are a lot of digits to digest. And, when you tack context on to them, it’s even more challenging to process all of it. But understanding the impact a company’s recruitment efforts have on revenue, relationships, reputation and retention is non-negotiable.
Take, for example, revenue. If a company’s approach to recruitment attracts the wrong people — people who aren’t fully qualified or aren’t talented enough to do the job as it needs to be done — revenue can suffer. If you look at how recruitment impacts retention, there’s a similar theme.
The wrong people won’t stay, which keeps a company on that workforce development merry-go-round indefinitely.
If a recruitment process is cumbersome, devoid of information or handled poorly, it can negatively impact a company’s reputation among job candidates and the market in general. And, once a reputation suffers, the trickle-down effect means relationships could be impacted in a negative way.
In short, poorly executed or haphazard recruitment initiatives could be a sore spot being overlooked by companies struggling to find success simply because recruitment has the ability to initiate a cascading, domino effect on most other aspects of a business. And as part of our immersive and holistic H.A.L.O. system, we ask the questions that get us to the root obstacle.
Most business leaders focus on revenue as an issue, but by understanding how every element of a company is intertwined, our approach very often discovers an alternate influencer for success.
Recruitment is just one of them.
Learn more about our H.A.L.O. business system, our process and how it may help diagnose and solve for recruitment issues, download our one-sheet.
When it comes to people, character is often tied to reputation. Wise quotes are regularly offered that suggest the importance of worrying more about one’s character than one’s reputation — since reputation is developed through an outsider’s lens.
But when it comes to business, that lens is basically everything. A brand can’t afford to disregard the quality of its reputation by simply hoping its character will keep it afloat in the marketplace. Why?
Because brand reputation influences other factors for success, a tested theory we leverage as part of our proprietary H.A.L.O. business system. One look at cancel culture proves that. A brand can be here and then be gone, like that, based on an outsider’s view or experience — based purely on its reputation.
Which means, the quality of a brand’s reputation can impact revenue, relationships and recruitment. And no business leader wants any of those to suffer.
Reputation has been labeled by some as being more valuable than money, while others have noted how difficult it is to build it and how easy it is to obliterate it. Of course, when we at WHYFOR hear about the connection between character and reputation, we can’t help but think of what we refer to as brand anatomy.
That anatomy, a brand’s DNA, could be correlated to its character. And when it comes to marketing, understanding and developing brand anatomy is a critical first step to building a larger strategy for tackling any one of the six problems every business faces, including reputation.
And, to add urgency to the issue, time is of the essence as more people spend more time engaging directly with brands and businesses. According to Hootsuite, 875,000 new users around the world begin using the internet every day. On average, users spend about seven hours online daily. And HubSpot reports 5.6 billion searches are conducted on Google every day.
Those numbers don’t simply illustrate online volume, they illustrate potential — for engagement, for search, for visibility, for share of voice and for reputation issues to improve or worsen, depending on a brand’s strategy to manage it.
This is where H.A.L.O., with its holistic approach, proves itself incredibly valuable. With a thorough analysis of a brand’s anatomy and a panoramic view of a brand’s reputation challenges, strategies can be developed to elevate it by investing in tactics such as:
- Improving a social media presence
- Earning secondary endorsements through public relations efforts
- Ensuring a quality product
- Managing an improved customer experience
- Facilitating authentic, positive online reviews
And honestly, all of that just scratches the surface. With a good understanding of how a brand’s reputation can impact other elements of business success, it is imperative that our H.A.L.O. strategies trickle down and through any other operational arm of a business — from sales to operations and HR to frontline customer service.
Everything is connected. And when it comes to the fragility of brand reputation, particularly in this era, success depends on everything being buttoned up, tight.
Learn more about our H.A.L.O. business system, and the process we use, by downloading our one-sheet.
Relationships are funny things. In life, the way we categorize our relationships generally runs along a spectrum, from loathing to loving — for any number of reasons. In business though, it seems there are poles.
There’s little room for indifference, especially when it comes to the end user. Something or someone or some brand is either loved or hated. There is no in between.
Think about it. In general, we’re hot or we’re cold when it comes to the relationships we form with brands. If you doubt this theory, read any thread of comments on any brand’s social media. The opposite ends of the spectrum will jump out immediately, as will the quality of social media’s collective sarcasm.
And that’s just one type of business relationship. What about the ones formed within an organization? And what about the ones that organizations form with other, like-minded or like-missioned organizations?
They’re all important. They’re important because business is built on relationships, but also because every kind of relationship has the ability to impact revenue. And every relationship has the ability to influence a brand’s reputation.
This should start to sound familiar if you’ve kept up with our series of blogs detailing our proprietary H.A.L.O. business system. And if it doesn’t sound familiar, let’s just say every business leader should recognize that the obstacles a brand or business is facing is no different than the same six challenges every other brand or business faces.
Everything is connected, including relationships, revenue and reputation. One weak link can create slack in the proverbial chain allowing progress and forward movement to bottleneck. No one wants that.
It’s why an inward look, as part of our H.A.L.O. process, is so crucial. And it’s why that inward look needs to be holistic instead of reserved for only certain departments. Nothing should be overlooked, since everything has the potential to influence revenue.
When it comes to relationships, we look at an organization’s:
- Internal marketing and communications
- External marketing and communications
- Internal processes such as HR and benefits
- External, B2B partnerships
- Client-centered, or B2C, exchanges — including the sales process
- User experience across all platforms and interactions
- Referrals and testimonials
When you think of your brand’s relationships, and cross reference that list, have you covered all those bases? Because, if we’re being honest (and good relationships are built on honesty), that’s just a short list.
Relationships run deep. Not unlike the ones in our personal lives, business relationships have context and history and future implications. Sometimes they result in exciting collaborations and immediate referrals and sometimes they take time to marinate before they turn into something unexpected down the road.
But one unwavering variable is the truth that they are always important, in every setting and across every platform. Because relationships impact revenue.
To better understand how your brand’s relationships are impacting your organization’s reputation, revenue and retention, dig in to our H.A.L.O. business system a little deeper. Our one-sheet offers more details.
Brand recognition is that seemingly eternal marathon. Unless you’re Nike or Uber, it’s tough to stop running in search of the finish line where everyone knows you. And then when you become the Nike or Uber, your recognition efforts morph into reputation management.
To gain the brand recognition they’re looking for, business leaders may think they need to sink large sums of money into advertising, blow up their social media feeds or score some PR hits.
And then what if none of that works?
Recognition is one of the pillars of our proprietary H.A.L.O. business system, the one we started talking about in a previous blog. It’s one of the six challenges faced by every business. Why?
Because statistics indicate it takes up to seven interactions for people to remember a brand, yet it takes only seven seconds to make a first impression. That means that any efforts to build brand recognition that aren’t rooted in strategy could seriously backfire in the most detrimental of ways.
Which is to say, you could turn someone off before they even give you a chance to prove yourself – as a brand.
Where many agencies may dive directly into tried-and-true tactics promising to solve recognition challenges, we take a different approach. Our H.A.L.O system requires that we go deeper to understand the root causes of recognition challenges — and, spoiler alert, the root causes may be something other than what is expected.
Brands may not know where their audiences are, and even if they do know where they are, they might not be speaking to them in a way that fosters brand loyalty. That creates problems which result in inefficiencies and leads to losses and frustration.
Because banner ads and social media posts only gain traction if they include strategic messaging and are deployed in a way that meets a target audience exactly where it is.
We’ve seen it happen with a number of clients. We’ve watched them come to the table with revenue struggles, which we discover are actually tied to recognition problems, which — through our work — we find are rooted in outdated, misaligned messaging for an audience that isn’t fully understood.
As an example, of course.
Recognition challenges might also drive back to a subpar visual presence involving lackluster creative, missing or deficient SEO initiatives or misaligned relationships. Solutions may involve creating strategic partnerships, investing in insight-driven SEO strategies and reimagining the brand’s look and feel.
So, if it’s starting to sound like everything fits together, there’s a reason for that. Everything does fit together, which is the very essence of H.A.L.O. It’s a Holistic Approach that produces Leveraged Outcomes.
More than that, a well-researched strategy gives a “why” to every marketing move. And at WHYFOR, we only like the moves we can measure. Despite popular opinion, recognition can be measured.
We’ll show you how.
To learn more about how our proprietary H.A.L.O. business system can help your brand recognition, download our one-sheet.
We’re not angels at WHYFOR, and we don’t think we are, so don’t let our fun wordplay fool you. H.A.L.O. is our system. It’s how we do what we do. It’s what sets us apart from every other agency out there.
And we figured it was time to pull back the curtain on it.
Because we don’t need anyone assuming it’s an actual halo. It’s not. H.A.L.O. stands for Holistic Approach Leveraged Outcomes. And we’re going to pull those concepts apart to make sure brands and the professionals leading them understand how and why our approach to marketing is different and, most importantly, effective.
For starters, H.A.L.O. is not a marketing scheme. It’s not a plug-and-play or a template. It’s a business system, one that looks at an organization or brand on the inside and out, from operations to communications and everything in between. One that examines a brand’s DNA, analyzes its audiences and researches the best way to reach them.
And that’s just the beginning. Actually no, that’s all more toward the middle. That’s more like the thick of it.
H.A.L.O, from the get-go, recognizes that every business, every brand, every organization faces the same five challenges. No matter what — business leaders face the same five issues. (Yes, that was worth repeating).
And each of those five issues have the ability to impact revenue, which is a universally accepted goal. Increase revenue, period. It’s what every sales meeting boils down to, what every forecast points to, what every organization needs for growth and prosperity.
Our H.A.L.O. system is also our logo — that geometric shape with a Y in the middle. It’s the platform we use to connect the dots, to show business leaders how one issue influences another and how any deficiency can negatively impact revenue. If we could have two logos (which we’d never advise) it might include a light bulb, because those are the moments we experience with business leaders as we work our way through our H.A.L.O. system.
Our approach boils everything down instead of building everything up. It bypasses all the marketing buzzwords and formulaic philosophies used by most agencies in favor of terms everyone understands.
We use words like “relationships” and “retention,” “recruitment” and “reputation.” Clean, simple, universal concepts that can easily be understood across any organization.
Because simple doesn’t mean “less than.” To us, it means it’s accessible. And accessibility is key to adoption and adoption is key to success.
So over the next few weeks, we’ll dive into each of the five issues we know every business and every brand is facing. Yes, we understand there is nuance and context to different industries and different products, but the root issue is always one of five things.
We’ll unpack it all and illustrate how our H.A.L.O. system unearths the obstacle and ties together tailored solutions. So, check back for our next installment, and until then, take a look at our H.A.L.O. one sheet.
It summarizes our unconventional approach.
Life is full of questions, even if you don’t live with toddlers. Can I make a U-turn here? Why are acid-washed jeans popular again? How did I spend so much money on that?
And (gulp) what is my purpose?
That last one is a big one. It’s one every business asks, too. But the real question is, why should the CEO of one business spend even one second caring about the decided purpose of another organization?
Because that purpose will very likely define the spirit of any relationship he or she forms with that company.
Purpose statements, like values, should serve as a guiding force. It should be the bottom brick on every professional pyramid. It should reflect the honest commitment behind every company.
It should. It doesn’t always.
Purpose statements are sometimes developed, fine-tuned and cast aside. Sometimes they don’t even see the light of day as certain businesses run out of steam after crafting value statements and taglines. But purpose is the critical fuel that drives inspiration and moves ideas forward.
At WHYFOR, our purpose is to empower people to succeed. Four words weighted with context and passion. Not a manifesto, not a billboard, not a schnazzy, buzzword-filled tongue-twister that leaves people confused and clueless.
Just a simple truth.
What does that mean? It means we’re not here to make clients feel uneducated or out of touch. Instead, we’re here to make them feel stronger and more confident. We’re here to make sure they understand the “why” behind the strategies we develop and ensure they can digest the analytics derived from every move we make.
Because if we can’t measure it, we just don’t do it.
And since we’re invested in the success of our clients, we take the time to understand how success is measured — not by us, by our clients. We’re successful if our clients are. That’s how our whole purpose works.
One of the more rewarding opportunities we have in client relationships is helping them find their true purpose. It should come as no surprise that a number of brands and businesses don’t know their actual purpose.
They think they do. And they might be close.
But they benefit from taking the time to unravel who they are and what they offer as a means of uncovering their authentic purpose — their bottom brick. Everything builds off of it. We would know.
Our purpose, empowering people to succeed, gives us license to treat clients in a different way than other agencies do. Here, clients aren’t ranked by notoriety or retainer. They’re not evaluated and distributed based on importance. We’re all in, every time.
And it means we feel comfortable working with clients to build their own in-house marketing and sales teams or strengthen the ones they have. Because we want to empower them to succeed, with or without us.
Isn’t that something?
Looking to feel empowered for success? Let’s talk.
It can be difficult to feel integrity. A lot of companies list it as a value — as in, they value integrity among their staff and as part of the relationships they have with clients. But how do you know, for certain, that such an aspirational concept is real, beyond just letters on a page?
Integrity is equated to authenticity, to courage, to success, to character — and Warren Buffett has classified it as the singularly most important trait needed when hiring an employee. There’s a widely circulated quote about integrity by C.S. Lewis that reads, “Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one else is watching.”
That’s what we’re doing over here at WHYFOR. Quietly exercising our integrity.
We do it in a lot of ways. By doing what we say, by refusing to nickel-and-dime, by creating work that works in new ways instead of doing work that’ll do, and by investing in outcomes with an understanding that success is a mutual thing. It’s what any client would want from a strategic marketing partner.
A client looking for the kind of partnership that stands out for the novelty of its passion, honesty and commitment may find that type of professional integrity rare but beneficial to have over the long haul.
Integrity, it seems, walks softly. But not without confidence. Because doing the right thing is always going to be the right thing.
It’s part of the reason we’re proud of our affiliation with a non-profit founded by one of our staffers. For Your Record launched late last year and in June will begin offering financial grants to domestic abuse survivors to cover the costs associated with court filing fees and public records request fees.
The organization needed a mailing address that wasn’t a home address, for a variety of reasons. And WHYFOR never hesitated, for a different variety of reasons — the first being our integrity.
It’s just how we operate. Supporting a project that will support a community in need means we’re contributing to the greater good, which is one of our missions. Because we’re more than taglines and email campaigns, as we’ve mentioned.
This is how we’re built. WHYFOR is a company that reflects the spirit of its values — one that works hard, thinks big, gives back and follows through. Other places can say that, too. They can say it. But do they mean it? Do they live it?
Not all of them. Words, even ones labeled “values,” can be said or written very easily — even when they’re hard to come by. The writing or the saying is the easy part.
The living is the hard part. That’s where the effort is. But for us, it takes no effort because it’s genuine. And isn’t that the best indication of a perfect fit — where values embed themselves so seamlessly that they can’t be sidestepped even if someone tries?
We think so.