Big business

Our stand at Highways UK
'Tis the season to be busy! These last few weeks have seen a number of diverse activities being undertaken by the Kier Central Marketing team. In order for us to support a business of over 24,000 employees there is a constant need to not only oversee group-wide initiatives but also to ensure that the business is joined up, becomes manageable and is not operating in silos.

Nowhere can this be more evidenced than in our recent involvement in supporting events. These have included attendance at Highways UK, Scotland Build 2015 and our annual drinks reception at Lincolns Inn. With pre-event event communications, AV requirements, promotional goods and  marketing collateral all overseen by us we have been putting in a lot of overtime!

Tote bags from the North!
My main responsibility was overseeing the stand for the first ever Scotland Build 2015 conference at the SECC in Glasgow and to kill two birds with one stone I also used the opportunity to deliver some social media training to our Scottish colleagues. The ease of jumping on a plane from Luton airport meant I was door to door in less than two hours and satiated my desire for an airport visit (duty free is a great place for Christmas shopping!)

The Expo itself was extremely well attended with over 250 visitors to our stand on day one. This served to further highlight how well regarded Kier are in the industry with the large majority desperate to get onto our supply chain. I'm glad I'd managed to tuck away a full Scottish breakfast to sustain my energy levels throughout the day!

The Great Hall at Lincolns Inn
Another big event we've been involved in was the annual reception at Lincolns Inn in Holborn. This is a truly breathtaking building where Kier kick off the Christmas season by inviting clients past and present for drinks and an address from our Chief Executive. My team were tasked with ensuring our latest videos were on show and it was all hands on deck to hand out name badges, greet guests and network with our high profile guests. I lost count of how many times I was asked to take photos of people on the red carpet!

By managing all of these events centrally it really helps to add continuity to the experience of those who engage with Kier. All of our messaging can be made consistent and we especially gain comparable analytics from our pre/post event communications. By building in a robust model and program in our email sends at the beginning the data we collect is then key to following up any leads and providing a professional and customer focussed experience for all attendees.

As well as the importance of getting out and about, meeting colleagues, and getting an understanding of the different challenges of the regional businesses, I've been developing workflows to help us manage our channels more effectively. These focus on shared goals across the business and I feel that this is where digital can really add value to coordinate and monitor the great work being done nationwide. The whole ethos of digital is to test and learn and by creating an environment where employees are not blamed for failure we can improve with each activity.

Hello Trello!
There are some great tools available to marketers to draw content out from the business (such as Gather Content) and I have spoken before  about the benefits of Trello to manage projects and content flow. It is with this in mind that I have setup a group content strategy calendar that all of the regional businesses can add to. By having assigned people in each area this flags up who has accountability for adding content and where the gaps exist. I've also used Trello's labelling to colour code each region so that at a glance I can see in the calendar that all areas are represented with a full spectrum of assigned colours.

All of this work is essential to curb the silo mentality before it begins. By planning far in advance the danger of no lead time, time for collaboration, and mistrust is avoided. Trust is the most important part of any relationship and by having everything out in the open a healthy form of competition emerges with a greater transparency about the goals and motivations that drive each team.
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