What: Successful coordination, publication and promotion of a highly data-driven report (derived from construction industry research) exploring procurement practices within the finishes, fit-out and interiors sector of UK construction.
How: Utilising a mixture of existing contacts and industry publications with a key focus on the outcomes of the report and influential names that were part of it.
Being part of any construction industry research is exciting as you never really know what you will uncover as long as you maintain an open mind with no preconceptions. But what happens when there are preconceptions and known issues within a certain industry sector like the procurement within fit-out?
Very flippant, but what I mean is that sometimes it is necessary to explore a hypothesis you understand to be correct to have the evidence to legitimate your theory (or add fuel to the fire) and procurement practices within the fit-out sector are one of these times.
Three well-established organisations were all active participants in backing the report and its findings:
University of Reading - Researched and Written by
FIS (Finishes & Interiors Sector) - Commissioned by
AMA Research - Produced by
The requirement here was to explore current procurement practices in the UK fit-out sector with its main purpose to furnish the ongoing procurement practices debate with data, producing impartial, data-driven insights and giving voice to those who work within the fit-out sector.
The main challenges of a report on this detail:
1 - Get the right people to participate in the survey and interviews.
2 - Collation and visualisation of the findings.
3 - Publishing and awareness to the right demographic.
Surveys and interviews can be tricky things to get right and it’s important that impartiality during this time is respected. Even when it comes to reporting, that impartiality is still required so as not to skew findings. Although not responsible for either the actual interviewing or written analysis, the following three stages highlight our participation in making this project successful.
As with any in-depth research, surveying and data collection are the most critical parts which also take the longest. Over a 3 month period, both in-depth interviews as well as an online survey were conducted. To get to the right demographic (the ones that will offer the most insight) a mixture of direct marketing by way of email and social media was used to gain a mixture of participants and to make sure that not only known contacts were used (i.e. through direct marketing).
Visualisation and Creative
Over a period of 5 months, the results were scrutinised and analysed to create a 65-page report that needed to be designed in a way that was easy to read and didn't miss out on any of the specifics. In partnering with The Creative Workshop the report was produced with each of the three participating organisations' brand guidelines taken into consideration (University of Reading, FIS (Finishes & Interiors Sector) and AMA Research), which meant one singular report could be used by each organisation, rather than three different looking reports needing to be produced.
Alongside the report, further visuals were created to make it easier to utilise with presentations and discussions.
The report launched on the 27th Feb 23 to coincide with the FIS Annual Conference which included a presentation of the findings by Professor Stuart Green who was the main researcher and the author of the final report. This was an excellent way to generate interest within the main target audience. It also allowed us to collect soundbites from various participants (Stuart included) that could be used to gain further awareness post-conference.
Prior to this emails and other digital comms were sent to all participants and active subscribers of the three organisations with a dedicated landing page created where pre-ordering a download of the report could be done and post-report downloads, which are still available today.
A PR briefing was created and successfully run by Fabrik on the day to make sure the right trade publications received the correct information and a copy of the report.
With nearly 300 responses, enough qualitative and quantitative data were gathered to produce findings that although not surprising, justified the need to change the procurement practices that are currently creating an unsustainable supply chain, where cost not quality is the determining factor.
The 65-page report outlined 9 recommendations being downloaded nearly 200 times and covered by a variety of sources such as The Times, Construction News, SpecFinish and Buiding, Design and Construction Trades.