Taking on a challenge

It was announced this week that Paul McLaughlin has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of the Building & Engineering Services Association.

The former Coca Cola Commercial Director will begin his new role at the end of August and the industry may well benefit from someone with such a strong background in an environment where marketing is the key to success.

Selling itself has never been a strong suit of the building services industry – after all there is little, to the untrained observer at least, ‘sexy’ about runs of ductwork or chiller units.

But the legislative measures and energy efficiency targets cascading down upon the construction industry should serve to push the building services engineer into the spotlight.

From recommending the right products to ensuring they perform at their expected levels; consulting engineers and installers are the men and women with the knowledge and capability to keep buildings on course for the carbon emissions reductions they must meet in the coming years.

Choosing the products to install to reach those goals is the first task. Educating the clients as to why the need them and how they should operate them is the next.

This brings us back to the new Chief Executive of B&ES and his former life selling fizzy drinks. As illustrated by, Coca Cola’s marketing strategy is based on three key principles, the first two of which should chime with building services.

That first point fits perfectly with how building services needs to sell itself, because, whether a building’s occupants are aware of it or not, the services are undoubtedly an integral part of their daily lives.

From the moment they walk into a lift or the lighting flickers on as they come on to the office floor, the services of that building are affecting what they do and how they do it.

As far as affordability goes, this is also a marketing challenge because for too long the bottom line has ruled the roost on project spend. Affordability therefore needs to be viewed as a whole life concept, where investment in energy efficiency up front yields far greater rewards later on.

Selling those concepts is a challenge for building services and its representative bodes like B&ES – but they may just have welcomed a man who knows how to get the pitch right.