The Buzz Bin’s “On Purpose” feature explores the thinking behind the strategies and tactics top marketers employ in pursuit of business goals.
Today, we talk with Pat Mosher, senior vice president of corporate communications and brand optimization at HNTB, an infrastructure solutions firm celebrating 100 years in business.
For Pat, content marketing is a key component of brand building in a specialized, highly competitive and high-stakes industry. PadillaCRT has worked with Pat and HNTB for a little more than a year. Since day one, we’ve been impressed with her team’s disciplined and “client first” approach to content marketing.
Buzz Bin: Not many companies continue to put the time into developing high-quality print magazines and newsletters for clients, prospects and influencers. Why does HNTB?
Pat Mosher: The answer is simple: our intended audiences find our publications valuable. We have publications that include our clients discussing their programs, which is of interest in our industry. They appreciate having a forum to share their successes. They are asking to be a part of these publications. Our primary and truest marketing publication, Designer, showcases our clients’ projects. It’s oversize to show big projects in a big way. And the production quality is a manifestation of the HNTB brand: high quality.
We also have publications, THINK and SOLVE, which are meant to be more like business journals. They include thought leadership stories on topics of interest in the industry at the moment. Or, stories focus on more provocative subjects to spur thinking about how our country develops and maintains infrastructure. With each issue that goes out, we get feedback from readers that they want more copies because they want to share with their boards, colleagues, etc. Even the names of these publications are meant to communicate a message about our brand: as infrastructure experts, we help our audiences think through their issues and then work with them to solve their challenges.
We have electronic versions of these publications available as well as an HNTB publications app to meet a variety of reader preferences. For HNTB, the format of our communications is dictated by what we think will be most effective for our intended audiences; it is not a cost-driven decision.
We’re not interested in talking about how great we are; we want to communicate value to our clients by talking about things they need help with.
How does the content you create reflect and communicate HNTB’s brand?
Our primary audience – HNTB’s clients and those who oversee them – want to work with a firm that they trust and know as one that that has the expertise to complete their projects and programs successfully. Developing infrastructure is complex. We’re an infrastructure solutions firm, so we want to demonstrate that we have the expertise to complete the most complex projects and provide solutions to challenging issues associated with delivering these projects. Therefore, our communications strategy is to show our people and firm as infrastructure experts – the people who know infrastructure. We’re not interested in talking about how great we are; we want to communicate value to our clients by talking about things they need help with.
How does HNTB measure the success of its content marketing?
The best indication of our effectiveness manifests itself when our clients ask to participate in our publications because they see them as a viable means to help advance what they are trying to accomplish. Or when our people tell us they are using our communications – both our earned media and our own materials – as part of their marketing strategy. Our people go to win, so they will use every valuable resource, including communications, to do so.
PadillaCRT is one of the largest employee-owned communications agencies in North America. We help national and regional clients achieve their purpose, because purpose is a powerful way to meet business goals, build brands and protect reputations.