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Archaeology business Headland needs to unearth a different image
#1
Headland has a bone to pick with companies who dismiss it as a Time Team-type outfit of amateur enthusiasts, writes Andrew Stone of the Telegraph

Read the whole article here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/busin...image.html


This quote at the end I found very telling... pay peanuts as they say .. :o)

Quote:?More than ever the focus is on cost. There?s an obsession on day rates. Sometimes this is all we are asked for. This is a very poor measure of value to the client whose bill, at the end of the day, will be much more dependent on pragmatic decision-making in the ?eld and at planning meetings, client focus and advance warning of problems.?

?We have to ?nd better ways to promote awareness with clients of the need to get us involved early in the process, converting our relationship with the client from a last-minute distress purchase."

Even more interesting is the comment of the business experts:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/busin...dland.html

Now this is intersting because it is an outsiders view and actually reflects the whole damn lot of us... :0

Unfair? or Hard truth? you decide.

Here is a taste:

Quote:Andrew Colwell, Group marketing director, B2B

Headland is a commercial business struggling to be seen as such when attempting to do business with other commercial entities. To this extent ensuring that its image, positioning, key messaging and external communications are all well presented, articulated and targeted will be critical if it wishes to differentiate itself.

Once it understands the key challenges and drivers facing the property developers and builders, it can then ensure that its own messaging is created with this in mind, thus ensuring that what it has to say resonates with its prospect audience.

Looking at Headland?s website it doesn?t look and feel like a sector-leading business that turns over more than ?12m. Visually it looks more academic than commercial.

A thorough review of its identity and key messaging would help immensely. Client case studies and commercial testimonials need to be produced so that it becomes much easier for its prospects to understand how Headland can add real commercial value and not just simply an additional cost.
For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he
Thomas Rainborough 1647
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#2
I think the article is absolutely correct and Headland deserve praise for highlighting the discussion on how archaeology needs to improve its image and thus improve its prospects. All these things are connected but at present companies cannot unilaterally start trying to charge more on the basis of quality because they will be undercut by those that don't care. For larger projects there is likely to be greater control but for smaller ones it seems that the cost cutting free-for-all is becoming worse, in my experience at least.

Note as well that none of the comments from the business experts say anything like 'archaeology, what's the bloody point of that?/why should anyone pay for that?/you should think yourselves lucky to have such a job' and yet the way some archaeological organisations cost for jobs and treat their staff that seems to be what they are thinking. We need to think more highly of ourselves otherwise we will we be in a permanent downward slope of putting off talented people year after year and losing any will to continue.
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#3
RedEarth Wrote:Headland deserve praise for highlighting the discussion on how archaeology needs to improve its image and thus improve its prospects.

I whole heartedly agree with that. I think it was brave and very forward thinking.



RedEarth Wrote:none of the comments from the business experts say anything like 'archaeology, what's the bloody point of that?/why should anyone pay for that?

I noticed that too.. so perhaps we should be bolder in our approach.. but at teh end of the day we (a collective we) have to come up with a clear concise and recognisable brand and reason. Offers? Or should we just follow Headlands example! Perhaps
For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he
Thomas Rainborough 1647
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#4
david Wrote:I noticed that too.. so perhaps we should be bolder in our approach.. but at teh end of the day we (a collective we) have to come up with a clear concise and recognisable brand and reason. Offers? Or should we just follow Headlands example! Perhaps

I'm not sure I follow regarding brand and reason. Brand is surely an individual thing for each organisation, as for reason, that surely requires greater emphasis from curators and perhaps bodies like the IfA. Do other similar professions have to justify themselves to the degree archaeologists do? Curators or those in a similar position could certainly help by providing greater information to developers - I must have about 1 in 10 ringing up in a state of bafflement, confusion and often outright contempt over the way they have been informed about the archaeological requirement. At the end of the day it's not my job to explain to them and I'm not even sure what to say in some cases - this isn't quite on topic I suppose!
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#5
I should explain.. (see this : Archaeology is a Brand! The Meaning of Archaeology in Contemporary Popular Culture))

Archaeology is firmly 'branded' as ... fill in what here_______________

So what is it you do, why do you do it...? To say to a developer, you do it because they (the planning department) told you is never going to work? You are partially right that the curatorial staff and IfA should be making it clear what commercial archaeology is... where is this general 'brand' its all a bit fluffy.

If you have one in ten ringing up in bafflement... why is it? and as you say:
RedEarth Wrote:I'm not even sure what to say in some cases
SO a clear idea of what this industry is... and is not.

Is it time to have an amicable divorce between archaeology (research/academic/local group) and archaeology (commercial/development/consultant) where they still meet at the weekends and see the kids.

As I was trying to provocatively say in the Crisis thread... there is no clear distinction in these elements, and so, I would be baffled myself if one minute a bunch of archaeologists turn up, ask to dig in my field for nothing, and even pay for camping and then two weeks later another group could turn up and charge me commercial rates for evaluating another part of my field where I was putting a shed... hmmm... I can't see the difference except that one group paid and the other sent an invoice. They had the same tools.. same recording methods, same vague idea about the past being quite interesting and important... so why the difference. It is (imho) unclear... there is no distinctive attitude to commercial firms, other than the herris fencing and hi viz jacket pulled up over freezing and wet head.

Indeed one of the commentators comments was that the Headland website gave the impression of an academic site not a professional commercial company. No wonder the client is confused.
For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he
Thomas Rainborough 1647
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#6
Headland Archaeology? Who the hell are those handsome devils?

This dovetails nicely with the ?archaeology and the global crisis? thread. On there the question was whether or not the commercial wing of the profession has gone too far in distancing itself from its natural constituency of public support. The general feeling was that that would be a bad thing as archaeology is undertaken in the public interest. On here the question is whether or not commercial organisations should embed themselves further into the business economy. I suspect that the general feeling here will be that that would be a good thing, as it would finally put archaeology on a parity with other similar professions.

But isn?t this all part of the identity crisis outlined in the article? Can we have our cake and eat it? Can we keep changing hats depending on who we?re speaking to at the time? What gets lost if we jettison the public? Is this an either/or proposition? Questions, questions, questions...
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#7
and symptomatic of the crisis in identity :face-confused: xx( my brain hurts
For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he
Thomas Rainborough 1647
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#8
I think only archaeologists could over complicate things this much. I would quite happily say to a developer that it is being carried out because the planners say it has to be. Anything else just confuses the issue. Do people who carry out bat surveys or assessments of the impact on badgers worry about the divorce between academic and commercial archaeology, the philosophy of branding, or how much public support they have.

On the subject of archaeology's natural ally in public support, that's great, but public support isn't going to pay the sort of costs of are currently ploughed into commercial work. Developers can afford it. The public might like archaeology but if you told them that they had to pay ?50 to visit every EH site in order to pay for development control work, or that they had to pay extra tax to cover it they would probably find they were a lot less interested all of a sudden. Is HLF funding an answer? I don't think so, besides which that's effectively a tax on the desperate that pays for the reasonably well off to have fun.
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#9
RedEarth Wrote:Do people who carry out bat surveys or assessments of the impact on badgers worry about the divorce between academic and commercial archaeology, the philosophy of branding, or how much public support they have.

probably... I have not asked them. I would guess that a developer would feel the same if told, you can't build there, its got a bat living in that tree.

as I said - saying... oh, they told me to do it does not create a strong idea of why you are doing it...

I also think we are getting confused between public support and public funding.

recently I advised a person who was about to evaluate a sensitive site beside a village... you could do well to communicate with the villagers..
the reply (perhaps in jest) was "fk em... I'll just give them the line about doing a job for the client, nothing to do with me... and if they don't like it... fk em!"

Public support may not be needed in times of plenty but sure helps to make an essentially non-essential product essential - if that makes sense- and public funded work is what I and others do with community archaeology or in local groups (which is very different from commercial archaeology - but a damn good training ground for prospective commercial archaeologists to start, seeing as there is little training in unis and the same in commercial companies )
For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he
Thomas Rainborough 1647
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#10
A canny bit of PR by Headland, nothing more...
[INDENT]Shiny assed county mounty, office lurker, coffee junkie and facebook scanner[/INDENT]
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