Based in more than 500 offices across 40 countries, the WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff brand employs approximately 36,000 people. It's expertise ranges from environmental remediation to enabling new ways of extracting essential resources.
Elaine Porter, communications and marketing manager, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff
We chatted to Elaine Porter, communications and marketing manager at WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff Africa, to find out what are the challenges the engineering sector currently faces, what she loves about the company's brand, and what inspires her.
What do you love most about working with the WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff brand?
Working with a highly respected professional brand, that really does make a difference in the world in which we operate globally. You can drive past (or on) projects our engineers have designed and brought to life every day, and that’s a very powerful story to be able to tell as a marketer. At the same time, our environmental experts help to make sure that development, especially in Africa where we need to advance so quickly, is also done sustainably with the future of our continent’s natural resources in mind.
How does a brand like WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff keep up with the rapid pace of evolving technologies?
Technology helps our experts to deliver solutions quicker and more effectively. We’re always striving to incorporate the latest design software and technology into the way we work. The most exciting developments at the moment are around 3D visualisation and allowing clients to walk through a 3D virtual model of their project before they even break ground.
What do you see currently as the main challenges and/or opportunities for your brand sector?
Engineers and scientists are often humble – it’s not always easy to get them to brag about the amazing work they do! But the work that WSP does is amazing, from designing renewable energy solutions to the latest Green Star SA rated corporate head office, to ports and roads that enable trade and boost economies… The challenge is sharing these amazing technical solutions in a way that is accessible to everyone.
Tell us about a typical day in your line of work. What does it entail and what are some of the highlights?
There really isn’t a typical day. Communication touches all parts of a business, from promoting services externally to driving culture and engagement internally. The highlights are consulting with the business on where the needs for communication support are, developing the right strategic solutions and implementing them successfully.
What does brand management mean to you?
Matching insides to outsides. It’s about ensuring that the brand message we put out there to promote and differentiate ourselves matches the user experience when a client (or employee or potential new recruit) interacts with someone from our business.
What brand marketing campaign have you noticed and been impressed by recently/ever?
I saw a presentation by Terri Brown on a rebranding campaign her company did for TUHF in 2016. The integration of internal engagement and external representation, and how the campaign was able to engage the hearts and minds of both employees and the public, was inspiring.
What are your own personal favourite brands?
I’m a huge fan of McKinsey. The expectation of thought leading excellence and business insight from an international consultancy, and the way they deliver this through all their marketing channels, is something I hold up as a benchmark, working in the professional services sector.
What inspires you, personally?
Human beings – how we think, what motivates and inspires us, how each person has their own unique blend of drivers – inspires me to think harder about the messages we communicate on behalf of the brands we look after.
Elaine Porter joined WSP as communications and marketing manager in 2013, having previously been employed as strategic communications manager at KPMG. In that role she managed the uptake and entrenchment of CEO-led strategic marketing and communications strategy, and headed up the strategic communications team, where she also served as a business coach and mentor. Her current responsibilities at WSP include providing strategic internal and external marketing and communications channels and support for delivery that aligns with the business strategy. She also works closely with the senior leadership team to support employee engagement and change management initiatives.
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