New Positioning & Brand Name to Highlight the Firm’s Collective Talent
Operating for more than 50 years, Graham Hoffart Mathiasen Architects (GHMA) of Vancouver had a reputation for designing buildings of simple elegance. In 2010, the firm merged with Renaissance Architects in Kelowna forming a new firm known as GHM Renaissance Architects. The merger provided growth opportunities, however, each office continued with their own brand identity. Over time, the firm recognized that the new name and lack of brand inconsistency was causing confusion, affecting success in bidding for new projects.
PROBLEMS & CHALLENGES:
An existing name that wasn’t memorable
One company in two cities whose offices had different names
The desire to shift away from a partner-oriented name
The need to develop a fresh new brand identity under the new name
Lacking a clear definition and understanding of their target audiences
A website that was not driving or tracking results or accurately representing the firm
A complete rebrand – positioning, naming and visual identity development
Development of core messaging
Target audience definition
Website content analysis & reorganization
Approach & Solution:
As it often does, the question of ‘the right’ name led into broader considerations regarding brand equity, market positioning, communications clarity and the firm’s five-year vision. It was decided that a complete rebrand was in order.
The scope of this project provided the opportunity to close the gap between the two office cultures. Understanding that team-members are the firm’s most valuable brand advocates, the partners wanted to ensure that all of their team members were invited to participate in the initial brand discovery sessions. Including everyone in these conversations drove some fantastic insights and clarity for who they were, how they wanted to be perceived moving forward, their unique process, and the overall value they deliver.
We followed up these sessions with client interviews to uncover existing client perceptions of the firm. The results drove an even deeper sense of clarity on how to adjust and improve the brand – but also the firm’s sales, marketing and service.
With both external and internal insights to guide the repositioning, we worked with the core project team to:
- Clearly define their multiple target audiences;
- Evaluate their competition and differentiation strategy;
- Develop their strategic positioning; and,
- Create their core messaging.
The firm was now well equipped with a clear and concise brand definition with which to evaluate new possible names to appropriately represent the firm. The staff helped to come up with the story of what their work: to help clients see their new space before it is built. The name Thinkspace (Architecture, Planning & Design) conveyed this perfectly.
The creation of a bold new brand identity, supporting marketing collateral and website followed the adoption of the new name.
Through the process of clearly defining the firm’s target audiences, evaluating and differentiating from their competition, and developing core messaging and strategic positioning has allowed the firm to feel a strong sense of pride and confidence. This newfound pride and confidence allows their team to leverage marketing and sales opportunities and assists in both pitching and landing new clients.
Increased revenue through more successful bids as one united firm
Increased project and speaking opportunities with the firms repositioning as a market leader
Synchronization of the Vancouver & Kelowna offices and leadership team
Saved time, energy and money through brand guidelines, core messaging and templated materials when responding to project bids and RFPs
Increased team efficiency and productivity through a unified team culture between the two separate offices
Greatly reduced market confusion as the firm executed a leadership transition
“During our brand discovery sessions, we appreciated your openness and willingness to listen, without forcing opinions or ideas. You extracted ideas, generated conversations and distilled things down to the essence to build a bold new brand for the firm .”