Based in based in Carp – a rural community – in Ontario, Canada, Ken White Construction recently took an innovative approach to building its business: It combined a new branding campaign with a heavy use of social media platforms.
“The move has really been paying off,” says Taylor White, the company’s director of business development. “Social media has completely reshaped our business and gotten our name out to heights and places that it never would have been otherwise. It is also helping us attract employees.”
Ken White Construction is a third generation, family owned and operated business. It was founded in 1968 by Ken White, Taylor’s grandfather.
The mission of Ken White Construction “is to provide integrated construction services to residential and commercial clients to the highest standards of quality, service and customer satisfaction,” Taylor states. Those services include septic systems, foundation excavations, road construction, demolition and site preparation.
Ken grew up on a farm. In his twenties, he started doing some trucking on the side. He then bought a track loader and began doing construction work. Over time he added trucks and equipment and eventually formed his company.
Ken’s son David grew up working in the family business. In 2000 he became its president and owner. Sadly, Ken died in 2001.
David’s son Taylor also grew up working in the company. After some college, he left the company for a time. He moved to Alberta, Canada, to work in the oil patch. Taylor came back to Ken White Construction about six years ago and was tasked with helping grow the company.
Making the Most of Social Media
While the worker shortage continues to be problematic for the construction industry, it is not an issue for Ken White Construction, notes Taylor. “One of the most effective ways we have been able to attract workers is the use of social media. Everybody we have hired in the past two years has come from social media.”
Along with spotlighting its vehicles, machines and workers in action, social media is used to show that “family is the foundation of our business and all employees are treated like family,” he points out.
“Our social media targets a young demographic. I show our company culture, demonstrate that Ken White Construction is a fun place to work while getting things done and doing it safely. I also show how we keep employees interested and engaged. All that helps us retain employees.
Taylor launched the Ken White Construction YouTube channel about two years ago. Shortly thereafter he began posting on both Instagram and TikTok.
“We have created a following of more than 150,000 people on all three platforms combined,” noted Taylor.
Take That Naysayers
At an early age, Taylor had a love for filming and editing and was always filming his friend doing things, like riding dirt bikes. “When YouTube came out, I wondered how I could use it to market and grow Ken White Construction. I created a video niche to basically showcase our jobs and equipment, and I post regularly.”
When Taylor began using social media, many of Ken White Construction’s competition in the rural Carp area were questioning the move. They thought it made no sense.
“I didn’t care about what people thought,” he says. “I knew what I was doing would work and was in the best interest for our business.
“The exposure we have received has been amazing. Believe it or not, we sell merchandise to Slovakia, Germany and Russia. I wish my grandfather were around to see that.
“Businesses in the construction industry need to understand that social media is a huge force,” asserts Taylor. When a company posts to social media, those who like or follow the company often share the posts. All of this creates attention and increases visibility for the company’s brand and business.
A Strategy for Differentiating
Ken White Construction recently did a branding makeover to more effectively make itself known to the public, stand out from competitors and attract employees.
The purpose of the new branding was twofold, says Taylor. It was designed to create – at first glance – eye-catching machines and trucks. It was also intended to create a stand-out business.
“The idea was to have a brand that would attract people and make them want to come to work for Ken White Construction before they even knew about the company and what it did,” he explains. “What I started doing was making things cooler and more aesthetically pleasing.”
All the company’s machines and trucks are painted a shiny black. The trucks are decked out with chrome accessories.
“This attracts people because it is something they do not see very often. People that come to work here do so because they want to run the really cool-looking equipment and trucks.”
Ken White Construction has a workforce of 18 men and women. “Our 10-year goal is to have 100 employees, says Taylor. “We are making certain that everyone understands the path the company is on.”
Safety is a Top Priority
There is a strong emphasis on safety at the company, points out Taylor. “Safety is always a top priority and we are constantly improving our safety training and safety standards.”
The company recently switched over to cloud-based services for safety training, especially for its tailboard meetings – held every morning at jobsites – and its weekly safety meetings. The company continually invests in programs to help employees understand the hazards, work procedures and specific precautions associated with the jobs they do.
Like many companies in the construction industry, Ken White Construction is “particularly interested in technology that makes our everyday tasks quicker and more efficient, reduces costs and increases safety and productivity, Taylor says.
An emphasis has been on technology that simplifies and automates information capturing and integrating data into company systems in real time. The company recently brought on board ClockShark, a time tracking and scheduling software that tracks employees time and locations while out on the jobsite and runs payroll quickly and accurately.
Workforce efficiency has been improved by issuing iPads to its mobile workers, he adds. This enables workers to upload completed safety compliance sheets, jobsite photos, plans and other information and send it directly to the office.
Within the next year, the company plans to incorporate GPS technology on its machines.
Keeping Up with Industry Trends
To remain a successful business in the construction industry, Taylor stresses the importance of keeping up with new trends, developments, equipment, vehicles, software and technology. This, he notes, can be a daunting task.
He says industry trade shows, like CONEXPO-CON/AGG, help him stay “on top of things.” There are always a variety of educational sessions, plenty of opportunities to see the latest product, technology and equipment innovations, plus participate in product demonstrations. Additionally, there are many opportunities to network.
Subscribe to the CONEXPO-CON/AGG 365 weekly newsletter to receive more great stories like this.