It’s time engineering engineered itself a future
Someone was on the radio the other day bemoaning the fact that the best engineers are leaving this country to go abroad where their talents will be better used and recognised. And he wasn’t talking about ‘new’ engineering of the ‘micro’ or ‘genetic’ kind. He was talking about the more traditional kind of engineering – designing and building things that work.
This is nothing new. When it comes to engineering, Britain seems culturally built to make the very least of something at which it can be the very best.
You have to think back almost a couple of centuries to when engineering and engineers had the status they deserve. The days of Isambard Kingdom Brunel are probably the last time engineering had its proper and rightful place in the national imagination. And that, at a time when a national reputation for engineering travelled the world quite literally in the form of railways, bridge building and all the other things that helped expand the Empire.
Engineers are rightly proud of their achievements. And with good reason. In a world where a Rolls-Royce powered plane is landing every 25 seconds, engineering is still making the world go round. It is vitally important to the UK economy and recovery. As well as providing almost 1/5 of UK GDP, it provides much-needed jobs outside London and the South East. It supports thousands of SMEs through the supply chain. It is a source of billions of pounds worth of investment in UK manufacturing facilities. The industry takes on graduates and apprentices, and provides crucial support to UK universities.
But in today’s globally competitive environment where reputations are made and slayed on the web and through other communications as well as out there in the real world, pride is no longer enough.
Engineers must somehow articulate what they do in a way that benefits the business long term and the sector as a whole needs to find the right people, messages and tone to make it more relevant and prevalent.
Here at MGA, we are working with a number of clients in what could broadly be called the engineering sector to do just that. We have helped ESAB, the world’s second largest welding and cutting company, to articulate their brand and set some ground rules for everything from packaging to pricing. With Murphy we have developed a new positioning and advertising campaign raising their profile from being hands-on deliverers to being thinkers and having ability to provide complete solutions. And for Heli-One, the world’s largest independent helicopter support company we have positioned them to be purveyors of ‘Knowledge at your service’ – articulating it all through the web, a press campaign, brochures and an internal campaign.
The message to engineering companies? Let great communications show the world how good you are. Or continue to let your capabilities hide in the workshop or factory.