We spoke to marketing specialist Marie Grieve who advises businesses within the digital built environment on how to tell their transformation stories.

Marie is the founder of Costello Palmer Communications, a London and Partners Mentor and a speaker on our resilience during a global pandemic panel debate this week.

Where did your career journey begin?

Fresh out of university, after completing a degree in Marketing I was paid to shop for a living – not bad for a young twenty-something with a penchant for new shoes!

It wasn’t quite that glamorous really, I was a “Mystery Shopper” for a market research company. This was my first experience of the corporate world, being part of a successful business, run by a strong female leader. I gained many skills in this role, resilience, for one, as this job required me to travel significantly and appreciate the value of time management, as well as the importance of data in analysing business performance.

Fast forward several years and, armed with a strong branding background, I was asked to launch a new range of building materials. I secured the placement of the products in four leading international building supplies stockists in the first six months and won a major NHS contract. This was my first venture into the world of construction and I have never looked back.

How does Costello Palmer Communications fit into the AEC Industry?

We’re a marketing consultancy, working primarily with clients in the built environment and PropTech, specialising in digital content and creativity.

We work with leading names in these sectors, growing already established brands and inventing new ones. We work our creative magic on products and services to help our clients achieve their business goals.

We make it our business to be the best in the game, which means our clients get the very best in insight, strategy and creativity to give them a competitive advantage.

We understand the need for greater adoption of digital construction methodologies, worldwide and we support many clients on their digital transformation and show them how to engage with new audiences.

What areas concern you the most from the impact of the coronavirus crisis?

For me the greatest concern is the social impact of the pandemic combined with the pressures we are facing from plummeting incomes and jobs disappearing, the question of sustaining food supplies and grocery pricing increases, not to mention children’s loss of education.

There are many alarming stories of businesses failing, but there are just as many success stories, and if we are all to ride this wave together, we need strength and a willingness to see opportunity in the face of adversity.

Although it may be difficult at times, I always try to maintain a positive attitude, to be confident and remain calm. I also think we should not be afraid to ask for help. In such uncertain times we need support, no one can do this alone.

This social impact, however, is having a positive effect on the business community, with growing interest in purpose-led organisations among a younger generation of entrepreneurs who want work in an environment where more attention is given to a growing a sustainable future, and questioning the way we traditionally operate, in favour of being socially responsible.

What do you see as being the key factors to developing resilience and strengthening a business?

There are invariably some winners and some losers in the covid war. Sectors such as food retail have quite clearly witnessed increased demand, whereas the hospitality sector has sustained significant injures.

Without a doubt, the emergence of the coronavirus has driven the global economy into one of the worst financial downturns we have witnessed. However, regardless of which sector we are in, we should see this as an opportunity. Businesses should invest in the very initiatives that can help get us out of this crisis, such as research and development, employee upskilling and critical internal infrastructure.

Rather than cutting costs, visionary leaders will see the long-term opportunity of investing in sustainable growth.

Resilience is less about maintaining a steady state and more about adopting an agile and dynamic approach. Transformative behaviours and having the ability to recognise to the changes to economic climate is crucial. Businesses who consider this approach and invest in their people and processes will be the long-term winners.

If there is one thing you have learned in the past 12 months, what would this be?

It is vital to communicate. Possibly the worst thing that challenges stability and confidence is uncertainly. For business leaders, the need to have exceptional communication is essential. Communicating with your teams, stakeholders, clients and suppliers is essential so that they understand the current position and the future of our businesses. Words are free and can be one of the most powerful tools we have, put this to good use and avoid any ambiguity on how others see what is taking place.

As a result, we have learned to become better communicators and understand the need for increased human interaction (socially distanced of course).

Marie joined Digital Node Director, Rebecca De Cicco, and a panel of other global AEC industry specialists for a discussion on resilience and business leadership on Thursday 28 January. To hear more from Marie and how to position your business to successfully defeat coronavirus, watch a recording of the panel debate.