For this edition of the Fast 5—a Q&A series spotlighting the insights and expertise of construction industry experts—we spoke with Vanessa Williams, director of brand at Rackley Roofing Company in Tennessee, about increasing brand awareness in a community and why it’s worth creating in-house technology to use with your roofing clients.
What do communications pros for roofing companies often get wrong when connecting with current and potential employees?
Williams: One of the things that I did not personally understand before joining the roofing industry is that we need people on the roof, but there is so much more to roofing. It takes an entire team of dedicated individuals to support the team members out there, making it happen every day.
We need potential employees to understand that there is no limit in the roofing industry; we have jobs of all shapes and sizes. Additionally, and something I especially recognize as a woman in the roofing industry, we should not put restrictions on anyone. We need to market jobs to the individual regardless of the position.
What steps can a newer roofing company take to create or further strengthen its brand identity and presence?
Williams: My advice would be never to underestimate the company brand. Brand awareness is so important whether the company is new or if they have been in business for a while. Every individual should feel ownership of the brand—employees, customers, vendors or anyone that has a relationship with the company.
Get the brand out into the markets the company serves. When people see your brand taking part in the communities where they live and work, it becomes familiar. When the COO is as well-known and recognizable as a local news anchor, you are probably doing something right. If you see team members displaying the company brand in their vacation pictures on Facebook or at the local football game, it’s clear your team understands the company culture.
Think outside the box, know your audience and understand that if your brand is on something like a race car, potential customers see it every time the car goes around the track—by fans both in person and tuning in from all over the world. The brand will help sell the company.
What is the value of a roofing company creating and using their own in-house technology, as Rackley does with RoofCheck and RoofView?
Williams: Creating a process like Rackley RoofCheck and RoofView gives the company distinction by offering the customer a product they won’t be able to get at another company. This process also allows us to collaborate with the customer as a team to service and maintain the roof system until the roof needs replacing.
RoofView also allows the customer access to a customer portal, which creates transparency and allows our clients to see what is being done in real-time to their roofs. This capability assists us in building a strong, long-term relationship with our customers as we help them maintain their assets.
How does your knowledge and expertise from 25 years in the automotive industry support you in your current role as a leader of a top roofing company?
Williams: Working in the automotive industry was such a great learning experience. I was able to see so many changes over my 25 years. Still, one thing remained constant: the culture of an organization and the people supporting it are the most important aspect of any business.
Without being cliché, people are any organization’s greatest asset. I have always had a passion for people, and in my current role as director of brand, I have the opportunity to work with people at all levels of the organization and beyond. I might be on the roof today, at the racetrack tomorrow and traveling between offices the next. But wherever I am, I get to share the Rackley core values and culture with people inside our organization and everyone I meet along the way.
How does being an active member of National Women in Roofing support your personal development and the growth and expansion of the Rackley team?
Williams: Joining National Women in Roofing has allowed me to meet and network with like-minded women. Since I am newer to the industry, NWIR provides a wealth of knowledge, experience and support from women who are veterans and are excited to mentor and build up other women. I was able to experience NWIR day in 2022 as a NEWS winner, and it was one of the best experiences of my career. I have met people at all levels of the roofing industry and have enjoyed getting to know so many amazing women.