Lowe

We helped a real estate company champion people as the most valuable asset in real estate.

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Challenge

In 1972, Lowe Enterprises was founded as a private real estate development, management, and investment company based in Los Angeles. Since then, the company has expanded into new offices around the country, building a broader range of properties and offering a wider range of services.

With growth came opportunity, but also difficulties communicating the company’s unique market position. New business units had been established, however its visual identity and communication assets (e.g., website) had become dated, and were no longer an accurate representation of the company’s culture and services.

As part of an initiative to establish a more cohesive identity, Lowe Enterprises changed its name to Lowe, and partnered with Innovation Protocol to evolve the brand for its next generation of growth.

Insight

In the midst of adopting a more unified business strategy, the company was also transitioning leadership to a new team, and needed to define its story in terms of the strengths of the company more broadly. This meant evolving from a benefactor and regionally driven brand, to a brand driven by its core values, competency, and ideology.

A deep audit of Lowe’s place in its ecosystem revealed that the company’s primary strength and differentiator lay in its people, who were recognized as bringing a special blend of innovative development and attentiveness to the needs of each unique customer, tenant, and local environment. It was based on this insight that we built the Lowe brand around the idea of Real Estate Beyond Buildings.

Solution

With a new strategic position, we developed new verbal and visual systems, as well as corporate brand guidelines to bring this message to market. These included a new articulation of the brand story and corporate values, a new visual identity, and the launch of new assets based on that identity, including a new website.

Outcome

Lowe successfully launched its new brand, which has been embraced enthusiastically across its branches nationwide. The website was redesigned and Lowe is actively developing content and assets based on the new brand system and guidelines.

Restaurants On The Run

We repositioned a food delivery veteran for the new era in food delivery.

Challenge

Restaurants on the Run delivers restaurant food through a proprietary, web-based ordering system. The company grew to become one of the nation’s largest restaurant food delivery services.

Restaurants on the Run relied heavily on promotions and discounts, as well as its reputation for customer service.  However, with competition intensifying, relying on functional benefits had the potential to commoditize the company.

Insight

We uncovered a critical differentiator that became the foundation for a new brand story – the company’s sophisticated use of data to ensure order accuracy.  This was casually referred to internally as Foodgistics (Food + Logistics).  The company did not celebrate the extent to which the intellectual property addressed a key consumer need while also increasing the company’s value as an acquisition target.

Solution

Restaurants on the Run’s consumers, who were largely business meeting coordinators, placed high value on the order customization process management – which was built directly into the company’s technology platform.  However, Restaurants on the Run never took credit for its technology investments and how they enabled a great customer experience.  We created a brand story that promoted the importance of this proprietary technology when selecting a food delivery vendor.

We then updated the verbal and visual brand systems to refocus Restaurants on the Run’s strategy. The website, brochure, logo, and sales sheets were redesigned in accordance with the new brand system.  We also created brand guidelines to ensure that future communications would be on-brand.

Insight

Following completion of the brand program, Restaurants on the Run was successfully acquired by Chicago-based GrubHub, and positioned as a new offering, GrubHub for Work.

Synagro

We helped an industry leader rebrand and prepare for acquisition.

Challenge

Synagro is the largest wastewater treatment operation in the U.S., with over 30 years of industry-leading experience. After many strategic acquisitions, Synagro expanded its portfolio to become a full-service, end-to-end product and solutions provider for wastewater treatment, waste disposal, and the production of new products from recycled waste.

As Synagro grew, communications became fragmented, focusing on the technical aspects of managing waste challenges at an individual product level rather than communicating the value of the broader organization to its stakeholders and diverse customers. Misaligned marketing materials produced by individual departments created challenges with customer comprehension, industry perceptions, and the ability to gain new clients and cross-sell.

Insight

During our discovery process, we learned that Synagro did more than treat wastewater but was not getting credit for its vast offerings, and that its competitors all communicated on a technical, almost scientific, level.

Solution

We created a new brand position around the synchronization of people and planet – synchronizing outputs from population growth with the health of the planet.  This was a position Synagro could own, with a new meaning behind the company’s name (synchronized growth).

We developed a new visual system and design executions based on this new position, drawing inspiration from the natural human-to-plant cycle that’s reinforced through Synagro’s offerings. The system focuses on imagery that captured images of the Earth that were relatable to their buyers, and environments where Synagro impacts the environment, rather than focusing on facilities and function.

Design and strategic executions included a new website, marketing collateral, creation of case studies, building social media strategies, event and space design, and multiple direct marketing materials. This visual strategy helped differentiate Synagro from competitors as well as introduce a new way of viewing what it does.  As a result, Synagro’s employees were proud to talk about where they worked.

Result

To better communicate its range of products and services, we reduced the brand architecture from thousands of offerings to four key categories: Cleaning, Transforming, Producing, and Reusing.  This created a framework audiences could easily remember, and facilitated an increase in cross-selling because sales professionals were able to talk about the extreme breadth of offerings in a simple way.

Ultimately the rebranded company and refined portfolio were successfully acquired by a private equity firm.

Notre Dame

We helped a world-renowned university manage its most iconic symbols.

Challenge

Notre Dame is a university with a rich history and esteemed athletics program. With numerous stakeholders – students, athletes, alumni, coaches and fans– the Notre Dame Athletics brand has numerous impassioned audiences that all care deeply about the success of the “Fighting Irish”.

Notre Dame Athletics was managing a portfolio of invaluable brand assets without brand guidelines and standards. This confused decisions such as which assets to use on its hallowed football field and helmets. The lack of guidelines made decisions inefficient, inconsistent, and political.

Insight

We identified current associations and opinions of each brand asset. For example, there were multiple iterations of the Notre Dame monogram – the strongest identifier of the athletics program.

Notre Dame Athletics needed an asset hierarchy and structure, as well as a strategy to ensure consistent application of the brand system.

Solution

We developed comprehensive brand guidelines for internal and external stakeholders.  This framework included profiles for each visual element, including color, typography, mascots, graphics, slogans, and use cases.

We also rebuilt the Notre Dame monogram to ensure that this primary mark is used consistently inside and outside the university.

LACBA

We helped a 100+ year old organization relate to a new generation of legal professionals.

Challenge

Since 1878, the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA) has served legal professionals with career, education, and service offerings. With over 24,000 members, the association grew into one of the largest in the nation.

Over the last 30 years, the legal profession has become accessible to a broader talent base, with different needs than their predecessors.   Younger lawyers did not understand how LACBA membership could benefit them, and the working stresses in the legal profession left little time to participate in community programs.  As a result, LACBA’s membership was in decline despite an exponential growth in the number of legal professionals.

LACBA needed to identify the organization’s value for a new generation of legal professionals.

Insight

The organization’s primary benefit was no longer its information offerings.  LACBA’s primary benefit has become the network it provides for lawyers, judges, academics, and law students to connect with each other.  We helped LACBA realize that its brand is about the collective talents, knowledge, and voice of the people it enables to drive change in the legal community.

Solution

We reorganized LACBA’s portfolio to align with audience need rather than content type. We then repositioned the association around the diversity and strengths of its community of legal professionals.

Built on the new brand positioning, we developed a visual system that differentiated LACBA from newer competitive legal associations. The visual system was designed specifically to appeal to younger attorneys, and came to life in a new website, internal signage, communications tools, and marketing assets.

Outcome

The LACBA brand system has been implemented throughout the organization and has become an integral part of board member and employee onboarding.

Diocese of Orange

We helped the Catholic Church create cohesion with a unified brand voice and design system.

Challenge

The Diocese of Orange is one of the largest and fastest growing Catholic communities in the nation with 62 parishes and numerous programs, services, and schools in Orange County, California.

The Diocese of Orange purchased the Crystal Cathedral and its surrounding 45 acres with the intention of creating a central campus for Catholicism in the West.

That same year, the Diocese launched a capital campaign to gain financial support for the new property. While the marketing materials focused primarily on the functional aspects of the physical property, there was no mention of the property’s purpose or how it related to the Diocese at large. For the capital campaign to be successful, the Diocese recognized that both the property and the Diocese needed a defined purpose and identity.

One barrier to achieving this was that active Catholics had strong relationships with their community parishes and priests, but little interest in connecting with those outside of their immediate place of worship. As a result, each parish focused its communications on its own congregation. It therefore became increasingly difficult for audiences to understand and support the Diocese.

Insight

Through in-depth research including 60+ interviews with clergy, lay leaders, and parishioners, we learned that the vernacular of local and global Catholicism can be isolating. In an effort to unite Catholics of all ages, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds, we re-established the Diocese of Orange’s core mission as an institution that leads individuals on their own, highly personal faith journey.

The Crystal Cathedral – renamed the Christ Cathedral – was positioned as the beacon of faith in Orange County, the physical space where audiences could experience their own journey of faith together.

Solution

Armed with a clarified purpose and meaning, we developed a new visual identity, brand architecture system, and messaging strategy for both the Diocese and the Christ Cathedral property. The systems were treated as a “family of brands” with shared visual assets, voice, and tone to reinforce their relationships to each other.

Result

The brand systems were applied to numerous websites for the Diocese of Orange and Christ Cathedral, as well as all subsequent marketing campaigns.

 The Diocese of Orange also conducted two waves of brand equity research to measure awareness, opinion, and perceptions among Orange County Catholics of the Diocese institutions and key leadership. The first research phase was run prior to investment in the brand programs, and the second wave was run after the brand program was executed.

There was a sharp increase in awareness, positive opinion, and foundational perceptions of the Diocese and its leaders. This increase was most pronounced among young and engaged Catholics, who were key to the Diocese’s growth and success.  The quantitative research also validated the positioning of the Christ Cathedral property, and instructed individual parishes on how to drive engagement within their own communities.