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.