Report Published On Market Client Demand for Accredited Heritage Practitioners
Icon was consulted as part of a research report commissioned by HEF into clients’ attitudes towards accredited heritage experts
The research was undertaken by Loud Marketing on behalf of the Historic Environment Forum. The research project was funded by Historic England and led by the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists.
A working group was set up by the HEF called the Client Demand Task Group. The CDTG included representatives of the main professions and owners of heritage. The aim of the CDTG was to investigate ways of stimulating demand for skilled / accredited historic environment trades and professions. The research focussed on perceptions of skilled practitioners in the heritage sector and proposed changes to the ways that we communicate with a range of clients.
Among the insights include suggestions that:
- There is a lack of informed demand, but the client landscape is complex and therefore any approach to resolving this must take into account this complexity.
- Language and the use of certain terms and phrases do not help. Many clients are confused and many terms and phrases have little meaning to them.
- Clients do appear to appreciate the heritage assets in their care and their responsibilities and obligations. However, some private clients “have no idea what they have bought” and some commercial clients “simply don’t care”. Others use specialists “where necessary”.
Asking trusted contacts for a recommendation is the main way most clients find specialist suppliers because they are perceived as unbiased. Searching websites is the next stage and is the first stage where a recommendation is unavailable.
The report also published several recommendations including:
- Collaboration: Pan-sector advocacy via deeper collaboration between professional, trade and craft bodies, heritage bodies and local authorities to drive awareness and understanding amongst clients.
- Education: Messages about the benefit of using specialist suppliers should be delivered through a series of marketing campaigns focussing on targeted personas including; private clients living in non-listed homes of merit, professionals and businesses involved in conveyancing, professionals and businesses involved in cost management, local authority officers in touch with clients.
Icon’s CEO, Alison Richmond, has said: "Loud Marketing has done a great job of looking at the heritage sector from outside in, revealing a very complicated picture of accreditation schemes that are not well understood by clients and telling us that we need to sharpen up our presentation of skilled heritage professionals to the public".
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