By Jennifer Sumner
What is the difference between an engineer and a marketing professional? Maybe not as much as you’d think. Engineers must translate simple requests into complex designs and engineering solutions. Marketing professionals must translate those complex engineering solutions into easily understood communications. While similar, they can sometimes be at odds.
For nearly two decades, I have collaborated with engineers, young and old, and at times this has been quite a challenge. I jokingly tell my friends, when an engineer sees me coming, they duck inside their cubicle, quickly picking up their phone as to not be disturbed. They’re likely cringing on the inside wondering what I could possibly want now. With a smile on my face, I greet them and explain, “Yes, I need your help again.”
As a company, our goal is simple, yet complex – to differentiate ourselves from our competitors, showing our value to current, as well as potential, clients. We understand our value, but a potential client may not. Content marketing plays a vital role in bridging that gap. We want to communicate with clients based on what interests them, while also serving as an educational resource for them.
For example, if you are making decisions regarding the purchase of a building, KGEI can provide a building evaluation. This allows the potential buyer to understand the total investment, including the condition of the building’s systems and potential repair/replacement costs. We can also be a resource on choosing the right HVAC system, changes in building codes and the amount of energy a building should be using.
As a marketing professional, the biggest lurking question for me is, “How can I validate the knowledge and skillset our engineers offer?” I see their value each and every day. I overhear the collaboration among team members, searching for the best solution to meet a client’s expectations for their HVAC system or discussing why energy efficiency is crucial within a particular building. I have stopped by late at night to pick up my laptop and observed an entire team of designers and engineers working diligently to meet a deadline despite a list of changes they received mere hours before. I see the satisfaction on their faces when they receive word that a project was awarded LEED Gold.
This industry is definitely focused on technical knowledge and credentials, as it should be. But, just as important is understanding that our team is driven by passion, and I’m proud to communicate that as our brand and our value. KGEI’s marketing ideas do not come out of thin air; they are related to experiences and solutions encountered in our everyday work lives. That is where the collaboration between the design team and the marketing team is imperative.
Similar to most building owners, I do not have a technical background, so I must ask questions about projects in order to understand exactly what our design entailed. What were the owner’s expectations? Why did we choose a particular system? What are the energy savings for the building? Is the building LEED certified? Were there issues related to the building envelope? How did we provide value to the client? How does this building benefit our community? A thorough understanding of the project allows me to convey its significance and our brand to our clients.
KGEI’s purpose-driven brand – to be the best comprehensive engineering firm in the region – shows through a collection of images and ideas representing our organization. We strive to provide value to our clients. Our logo, a K and G intertwined, communicates our emphasis on teamwork, both internally, in how we are organized, and externally, in how we communicate with our clients. The word engineers is at the base of our logo, because we understand that engineering is the solid foundation for our projects, but not the focus. The logo is strong, clean and well-designed, all characteristics of how we approach our work. We influence our brand through consistency in our engineering as well as our marketing.
It may be virtually impossible for any consulting firm to differentiate on brand alone, but there is no doubt that the way our firm presents and communicates is critical to how our clients perceive our value. I believe wholeheartedly in the competence of our engineers and am proud to showcase the projects that are living proof of just how crucial our team members are to the overall success of a building, the impact that building has on the local community, and the marketing initiatives that follow. The engineers are the “brains” behind the content and project experience we possess.