Murraysmith

Murraysmith

MSA rebrands to become Murraysmith

C L I E N T

 

D I D  W E  D E S I G N  T H E  L O G O ?
Yes!

S E R V I C E S

Strategy
Marketing Audit
Brand Audit
Core Values
Positioning
Launch Consulting

Branding
Personality Attributes
Naming
Logo Design
Messaging
Brand Style Guide

Print
Stationery & Forms
Tradeshow Booth
Direct Mail Postcard
Advertising
SOQ Package
Technical Report Template

Web & Digital
Website Design & Development
(see website case story)
Email Marketing

C O L L A B O R A T O R S
Petra Ives
John Dennis

T H E  B A C K S T O R Y

After speaking at the SMPS Pacific Regional Conference in Portland, David was approached by Irina, the marketing director at Murray, Smith & Associates, Inc. (MSA), a nine-office, 155-person civil engineering firm in the Northwest. Handing him her business card, she confessed, “I know we need your help.”

 

 

While MSA marketing team members understood the value of branding, several owners were reluctant to invest in a rebrand. Business was strong and memories of a failed attempt at DIY rebranding and a false start with a consultant unfamiliar with A/E/C marketing lingered.

To help MSA make an informed decision, David proposed the firm commit only to the Discovery Phase, including a review of its strategic plan, a brand audit rating 75 brand touchpoints, personal interviews with recent hires and a competitive audit.

 

Challenge

The Discovery Phase uncovered the use of two brand names: MSA and Murray, Smith & Associates, Inc., contributing to confusion in the marketplace and a lack of focus.

Internal and external interviews revealed a brand identity that had gone stale. Inconsistent versions of the logo compounded the problem.

Based on the Findings & Recommendations Report we prepared, MSA employee owners agreed to move forward with a rebrand. The firm’s primary rationale for rebranding was to attract and retain talent, though the work would also benefit marketing and business development.

Solutions

S T R A T E G Y,  T H E N  B R A N D I N G

A strong brand is rooted in brand strategy, which means having well-articulated Purpose, Vision, Core Values and Positioning statements.

During a half-day workshop with the newly formed branding committee, we engaged in group prioritization exercises to narrow a lengthy list of firm attributes to three unique differentiators:

Just the Right Size – We are large enough to employ diverse talent to solve your biggest challenges, yet small enough to genuinely care.

We Keep Great Company – We take care of our people so they can take care of you.

We’re Invested – We live where we work­—so we take project success personally.

P O S I T I O N I N G  S T A T E M E N T

From those three unique differentiators, we developed a positioning statement that defines the firm type (engineering), who it serves (communities) and how it is unique (public infrastructure and we live where we work).

C O R E  V A L U E S

Our workshop also yielded seven core values, which we later expressed on craft beer coasters to reinforce the themes of “just the right size,” exceptional quality and focus on the Northwest. Each coaster is letterpress printed (a craft printing technique) with the value on the front, and more detail about its meaning on the back.

We Make it Hap­pen (Ser­vice)
We In­vest in Us (Im­prove­ment)
Our Work Goes On The ‘Fridge (Qual­i­ty)
Mul­ti­ple Minds > 1 (Col­lab­o­ra­tion)
Work That Works For You (Flex­i­bil­i­ty)
We En­gi­neer Fun (Fun)
We Give a $#!T (Pas­sion)

B R A N D  P E R S O N A L I T Y

Before developing the new firm name and logo, we established five brand personality attributes to guide all future marketing communication materials and activities.

Imaginative

Dependable

Relatable

Sincere

Fun

N A M I N G

After presenting more than 75 potential new firm names, we refined the list to seven semi-finalists. A loose trademark and URL availability search helped narrow these options to four finalists. Ultimately, MSA wasn’t comfortable with an entirely new firm name, so we proposed retiring MSA and Murray, Smith & Associates, Inc. in favor of Murraysmith (one word, one company, capital ‘M,’ lower­case ’s’). The -smith suffix suggests being thoughtful makers, much like the honored tradition of a blacksmith, goldsmith, or alesmith. While Murraysmith would typically be used as a noun, it could also be used as a verb (as in, “Murraysmith that curb detail because our works goes on the ‘fridge.”)

L O G O  E X P L O R A T I O N

I N I T I A L  L O G O  P R E S E N T A T I O N

We presented the first round of logo exploration in grayscale to focus on the raw form and avoid any color bias.

 

3  L O G O  F I N A L I S T S

We refined three finalists in color and also developed a mock business card and custom pattern exploration.

 

F I N A L  L O G O

C O L O R  P A L E T T E

T Y P O G R A P H Y 

C U S T O M  S E R V I C E  I C O N S

B U S I N E S S  C A R D S

All employees receive business cards with three different backs to honor the three unique brand attributes. The cards are efficiently smaller than conventional size because Murraysmith isn’t a conventional firm. When an employee hands a card to a prospect, the recipient might remark, “that’s an interesting size.” The employee can then proudly reply, “actually, it’s just the right size” while handing out the version with “Just The Right Size” on the back.

S T A T I O N E R Y  &  F O R M S 

AEC Firm branding

B R A N D  A P P L I C A T I O N

T R A D E S H O W  B O O T H

 

AEC Firm Tradeshow booth design

 

P R I N T  A D S,  C U S T O M  P A T T E R N  B A C K G R O U N D

I N T E R N A L  L A U N C H

An often overlooked, but critical component of a successful rebrand is building support within the firm before the external launch. Having an entire firm of brand ambassadors to evangelize the firm’s message is considerably more effective than an isolated marketing campaign.

Two and a half months prior to the launch date, employees from all eight offices participated in a half-day strategic plan update that included presentation of the brand strategy and an unveiling of the new logo and website preview.

 

In the five days leading up to the launch, employees received a daily email message answering frequently asked questions and reengaging the entire firm as brand ambassadors. These emails were timed to coincide with the distribution of new business cards and other launch tools.

 

E X T E R N A L  L A U N C H

Results

9 months before rebrand launch vs. 9 months after

Increase in staff growth

40%

Increase in staff retention

6%

Increase in LinkedIn followers

32%

Increase in project hit rate

10%

Marketing team, I have been a part of four rebranding efforts at other firms. All involved a rollout to offices and clients around the country. I can say that your work has resulted in the smoothest and best-communicated rollout I’ve seen. It really does reflect our core values, and positions Murraysmith as the company of choice.”

–Murraysmith Principal

New Clients

+12

!

Increase in gross revenue

30%

Increase in earnings

42.5%

Recognition

 

LecoursDesign/Murraysmith earned three national awards at the 2018 SMPS Marketing Communications Awards: best rebrand, best website and best recruiting/retention promotion.

We loved the fun, engaging, impressive impact on recruitment and retention. It was comprehensive in approach and implementation. Great job! Logo and materials look great, and the entry was very responsive.”

–Awards Jurors

 

How can we help you?

Murraysmith

Murraysmith

Murraysmith named Best Website at SMPS Marketing Communication Awards

C L I E N T

 

D I D  W E  D E S I G N  T H E  L O G O ?
Yes! See branding case story.

S E R V I C E S
Strategy
Marketing Audit
Brand Audit
Core Values
Positioning
Naming
Branding
Website Design & Development
Email Marketing

V I E W  T H E  S I T E
www.murraysmith.us

C O L L A B O R A T O R S
Petra Ives
John Dennis

T H E  B A C K S T O R Y

After speaking at the SMPS Pacific Regional Conference in Portland, David was approached by Irina, the marketing director at Murray, Smith & Associates, Inc. (MSA), a nine-office, 155-person civil engineering firm in the Northwest. Handing him her business card, she confessed, “I know we need your help with branding and a new website.”

 

Challenge

Current Site Repels Talent

When a recent hire declared, “If I were choosing a firm solely based on its website, I would never work here,” it was clearly time for a new site.

The existing site didn’t effectively convey the firm’s culture. Though there were lots of facts, it lacked emotional appeal. Small, dated images and an awkward navigation system contributed to a poor user experience. And the site wasn’t optimized for mobile and tablet users.

Primary Goal: the new site is to attract talent by showing what it’s like to work at Murraysmith.

Site Updates Are Impossible

Since the site was hard-coded without the use of a content management system (CMS), nobody within the firm could make updates. As a result, fresh content that users value and Google rewards in search rankings was not being added.

Goal: Instead of updating the site every twenty years, allow staff to update the site daily. Build a custom site, then train staff on a fun-to-use content management system.

Solutions

S T R A T E G Y,  T H E N  D E S I G N

The project began with a Discovery Phase that included an audit of the current 20-year-old site as well as several competitor websites to assess how MSA compares in the digital landscape. This competitive audit revealed how much the site lacked in terms of modern website attributes.

Because a great website is rooted in brand strategy, we summarized the website strategy in a five-page strategic brief outlining the why, what, who (both users and internal resources), when and how of the new site.

P O S I T I O N I N G  S T A T E M E N T

From the strategic brief, we develop the positioning statement shown on the left.
It defines the firm type (engineering), who it serves (communities) and how it is unique (public infrastructure and we live where we work).

B R A N D  P E R S O N A L I T Y

Before developing the new firm name and logo, we established five brand personality attributes to guide all future marketing communication materials and activities.

Imaginative

Dependable

Relatable

Sincere

Fun

U S E R  P E R S O N A S

The primary goal of the new site was to attract talent by showcasing what it’s like to work at Murraysmith. To ensure the site effectively communicated with prospective employees, we developed two fictitious user personas.

Ben, 36 Seeks a Sr. Civil Engineer Role

Unhappy with slow advancement at a global firm, he knows he could become a senior leader quickly at Murraysmith. He wants to get to know the firm leaders he would be working with and see some hero projects.

Katie, 22 Seeks Engineer-in-Training Role

About to graduate from Oregon State, she finds a blog post on the Murraysmith site titled “How to Interview at Engineering Firms.” She wants to know if there are openings in her hometown of Boise, ID.

N E W  D E S I G N  A N D  P H O T O G R A P H Y

Through graphic design, color and typography, the new site reflects the firm’s new core values, unique attributes and brand personality. Fresh, custom photography by Klik, demonstrates that MurraySmith is a fun place to work. The site’s responsive design provides an optimum user experience on desktop monitors, tablets and mobile devices. The main navigation at the top of each page is simple, with only four buttons and a powerful search feature. As users scroll down a page, the main navigation “sticks” to the top of the page to minimize scrolling. The footer of every page includes a sitemap to help users find exactly what they’re looking for and discover something new.

E A S Y  T O  U P D A T E

A custom, fun-to-use content management system allows staff to quickly update the site on an ongoing basis.

N E W  U R L

For simplicity, memorability and consistency with the new Murraysmith brand name, we recommended a new URL:

www.murraysmith.us

The previous URL, www.msa-ep.com, automatically redirects to the new site.

Results

 
9 months before website launch vs. 9 months after

Increase in staff growth

40%

Increase in staff retention

6%

Increase in LinkedIn followers

32%

Unique site visitors in 1 week (goal: 2500)

14,000

The new website is the most important recruiting tool we have. Every candidate we talk with at career fairs and interviews mentions how impressive our website is and how they are excited to join the culture that is reflected on the site. In January, three out of 10 people hired sought us out because of our website. It makes my job easier.”

–Murraysmith HR Director

New Clients

+12

!

Increase in gross revenue

30%

Increase in earnings

42.5%

Recognition

 

LecoursDesign/Murraysmith earned the “best website” award at the 2018 SMPS Marketing Communications Awards.

The web­site and rebrand­ing is fresh and unique. Great research and plan­ning, tied nice­ly to strate­gic plan! They clear­ly set out to rebrand their web­site as a recruitment/retention tool—did a good job at each stage. Out­stand­ing results!”

–Awards Juror

How can we help you?

KAA Design

KAA Design

KAA Design is California Contemporary Architecture

C L I E N T

KAA Design

S E R V I C E S

Logo Design, Stationery Design,
Email Marketing, Print, Website UI
Brand Style Guide

T H E  B R I E F

Develop the visual brand identity for this Los Angeles-based residential architecture firm.

KAA Design is a design studio dedicated to advancing the California lifestyle through contemporary architecture since 1988.

C R E A T I V E  C O N C E P T

After several name and logo updates, we recommended returning to the firm’s roots: the red square, elegant serif and sans-serif typography, and highlighting their projects.

Primary Logo

Secondary Logos

Business Cards

Color Palette

Typography

Website User Interface

Email Marketing

Print

LecoursDesign is a branding and digital marketing agency helping A/E/C* firms attract clients and talent.
* A/E/C = Architecture / Engineering Construction (but you already knew that)
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