AEC Advisors

AEC Advisors

BRANDING / CASE STORY

AEC Advisors

/ SERVICES

Discovery & Recommendations
Brand Foundation
Brand Identity
Collateral
Voice & Messaging
Digital Marketing

VISIT WEBSITE

/ OBJECTIVE

Like most start-ups, AEC Advisors used minimal viable branding for its first few years. But the firm has ambitious plans and needed a re-brand to communicate where they are headed, not where they’ve been.

LecoursDesign was hired because we are branding and AEC industry experts; Our clients are also AEC Advisors clients.

/ IDEA

Architecture, Engineering, Construction, or Consulting is often written A/E/C. The new logo is a play on this. The angle up and to the right is also a graphical reference of adding financial value (something that AEC Advisors do).

/ LOGO MEANING
AEC Logo Meaning
Color Palette
/ SEAL MEANING
AEC Business Cards

Brand foundation & messaging by LecoursDesign.

/ PURPOSE

We help A/E/C firm leaders to confidently address financial issues and opportunities, so they can focus on clients, projects, and people.

/ VISION

We elevate our industry to be the most respected and valuable, over the next decade.

Purpose video by Josh Miles

/ CORE VALUES

Share your individual best for the benefit of all.
Combining diverse strengths powers our team to reach elevated outcomes.

Aim to surpass your former self.
Small incremental improvements compound into radical transformation.

Use empathy as your superpower.
Understanding others’ needs is our first priority. Then we provide authentic advice.

Make integrity contagious.
Every choice we make reflects who we are; as individuals and as a firm.

Be responsive; Act intentionally.
We are responsive with our team as well as our clients.

/ BRAND PERSONALITY

We’ve established five brand personality attributes to guide all future marketing communication materials and activities:

Focused

Trusted

Sincere

Best-in-Class

Progressive

/ POSITIONING STATEMENT

As AEC Advisors, we focus on M&A and corporate finance. The industry trusts our data, expertise, and network to build stakeholder value.

/ CLIENT TESTIMONIAL

“Thank you all for making this happen for our company. Helping us elevate our brand and hit our goal to roll it out at our biggest event of the year: the CEO Summit. I tell people that hiring LecoursDesign was the best decision we made to take us to the next level.”

Tyler Albright

Co-Founder & Partner, AEC Advisors

Michael Wall Engineering

Michael Wall Engineering

Michael Wall Engineering
We’ve Done That, Twice!

C L I E N T

Michael Wall Engineering (MWE)
See Site

S E R V I C E S

Discovery, Insights & Recommendations,
Positioning, Core Values, Website Design,
Website Development

T H E  B R I E F

The original website we designed for MWE in 2012 was dated, especially on mobile. As part of a larger marketing overhaul, we launched a new responsive website for a great experience on desktop, tablet and mobile.

C R E A T I V E  C O N C E P T

MWE already had a bold logo and color palette. We embraced the angle of the “3 sails” logo and the saturated red, yellow and black throughout the new site.

Home Page

Results

3 months before launch (old site) vs. 3 months after launch (new site).

Increase in website sessions

41%

}

Increase session duration

53%

i

Total pageviews

2x

Increase pages per session

53%

We are very happy with the site and get lots of positive feedback from clients, recruits, and employees. It’s been very beneficial to our business  especially during this time when we can’t interact with folks in person.”

–Michael Wall, PE, Principal

Brand Foundation

T H R E E  U N I Q U E S

Lecoursdesign led a half-day workshop with firm leaders to generate a lengthy list, then narrow firm attributes to three unique differentiators:

Electrical Engineering – We are singularly focused on electrical engineering, not mechanical and plumbing.

Southern California – We understand the ins and outs of the Southern California marketplace.

We’ve Done That! – With deep expertise in a diverse range of electrical capabilities, it’s easy for us to say, “we’ve done that!”

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

From the three uniques, we developed a positioning statement that differentiates MWE from their competition.

B R A N D  P E R S O N A L I T Y

Before designing the website, we created five brand personality attributes to guide all future marketing communication materials.

Approachable

Dependable

Accomplished

Imaginative

Sophisticated

Market Page

Project Page

About Pages

Contact Page

Old Site (Before Redesign)

Bullivant

Bullivant

Bullivant is a West Coast 
firm of defense lawyers

C L I E N T

Bullivant Houser

S E R V I C E S

Discovery & Recommendations
Brand Foundation
Core Values
Naming
Branding
Signage
Print
Website: See the Site

W H Y  N E W  B R A N D I N G ?

With significant transformation in the last 10 years, this law firm’s brand was stuck where they’d been, not where they’re headed.

New offices, strategic plan, core values, vision, purpose, positioning and a refined brand name made this the right time to create new branding.

C R E A T I V E  C O N C E P T

We created new branding grounded in this positioning: West Coast, Defense Lawyers, and Collaborative Teams 

See below for symbolism of the new logo.

3 Brand Territory Explorations

“B”  T H E  S H I E L D

C I R C L E  O F  T R U S T

R E L I A B L E  S Q U A D R O N

New Logo

Logo Meaning

Stationery

Branding Process

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 branding committee, we engaged in group prioritization exercises to narrow a lengthy list of firm attributes to three unique differentiators:

West Coast – We have deep knowledge of the law in CA, OR, and WA.

Defense lawyers with hands-of trial experience – We actually go to trial,

Collaborative Teams – Many minds contribute to resolve our client’s challenging legal issues

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 (West Coast defense lawyers), how it is unique (hands-on trial experience and collaborative teams).

We are a West Coast firm of defense lawyers with hands-on trial experience. Our collaborative teams guide clients in resolving challenging legal issues.

C O R E  V A L U E S

We Are a Team
By working closely together, we achieve the best possible outcomes for our clients.

We Are Respectful
Mutual respect is the cornerstone of how we interact with each other and our clients.

We Are Tenacious
We rise to every challenge —perseverance, determination, and grit define us.

We Are Fun
We are serious about our work, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

We Are Creative
Partnering with clients, we explore all possibilities to achieve successful outcomes.

B R A N D  P E R S O N A L I T Y

Before developing the visual brand identity, we established five brand personality attributes to guide all future marketing communication materials and activities.

Authentic/Relatable
Innovative
Reliable/Trusted
Tenacious
Fun/Playful

Custom Patterns

Website

Bullivant Website About Page

Before

After

Bullivant Website About Page
New Home Page

Social Media

SC Builders

SC Builders

SC Builders Website

C L I E N T

SC Builders, View Actual Site

S E R V I C E S

Website Planning, Prototyping, Design, Illustration, and Development

T H E  B R I E F

Create a site to hire and retain top commercial construction talent.

Establish branding for the website that becomes the benchmark for all SC Builders’ marketing communications.

Boost repeat business from existing clients.

C R E A T I V E  C O N C E P T

Develop an evolved Careers section featuring outstanding SC staff to attract talent.

Utilize video to allow prospects to hear directly from SC Builders staff.

Before

After

Results

6 months after launch of new site vs. 6 months before

i

Increase in Careers section pageviews

880%

Increase in top young hires

30%

Increase in Projects pageviews

422%

Increase repeat business revenue

9%

illustration for SMPS Awards Program

SMPS National Marketing Communications Awards – Award of Excellence, Best External Website

Anna Black and David Lecours holding trophy for best website

From SC Builders’ Client

The new website looks AWESOME!!!!! It is honestly, hands down one of the best ones I’ve seen in the past few months. Vibrant, easy to read fonts, easy to move through it, great employee testimonials – I’m using it as an example for a couple clients in the next two weeks. Seriously – great job! I hope you get huge kudos and positive response because I was blown away. And I’ve seen a lot of websites.”

Project Pages

Careers Page

From a Prospective Hire

I was already familiar with SC Builders, but the website made it much easier for me to make the decision—it reinforced my decision. I’ve noticed that other construction companies have unclear or inconvenient websites with hodgepodge information, but I really appreciated your clear user interface. It felt like the content had a natural and logical flow. All the questions I had were answered.

About, Before

SC About Before

About, After

SC Builders About page

Office Page

Team, Before

SC Builders Team Before

Team, After

SC Builders Website Team Page

News Page

Design Elements

Graphic Elements, Buttons

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.

 

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%

You always have been so fantastic on what you did for us; more so, the story behind Murraysmith and how you went about the process and how we are able to align where we are going. The story, foundation and process is more important than anything else. You are and have been amazing so it is easy to give you a great recommendations.”

–Chris Rayasam, Murraysmith CEO

New Clients

+12

!

Increase in gross revenue

30%

Increase in earnings

42.5%

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.

B E F O R E

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.”)

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

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

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

 

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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