We bring insight and leadership to every assignment, helping our clients achieve important results.

Understanding Brand

Understanding Brand

Today’s design and construction marketplace is demanding, crowded, and getting more complex every day. In this environment, the importance of knowing exactly who you are, what you do, and why that matters is not just a good idea, it’s imperative to being successful.


A 175-person design firm with three offices around the country wanted to understand how their brand was perceived across key markets.

Our client was engaged in a concerted effort to clarify its brand, both internally and externally. Their goal was to become a nationally recognized design practice in their two key markets: higher education and healthcare.

Having been around for nearly 140 years and still going strong, the company had also experienced some turnover in its senior designers in recent years. While it had filled some of the holes and was grooming individuals to fill others, firm leaders wanted to understand the impact of these changes. They had also opened a couple of branch offices and wanted to get a sense of their market penetration and perception in those locations.

The two relevant market sectors had become very crowded, with both regional and national competitors. The leaders were trying to understand what was unique about their brand and what clients’ experience told them about the firm’s brand.


Doing a client survey reveals a lot about a firm. It’s all about the insights gained by asking the right questions.

We had to get to know the firm well enough to customize  survey questions that would address their particular issues and situations, keeping in mind we had a limited amount of time for the interview over the phone. The list of potential respondents was strategic – who to talk to, what level of the organization, and the level of familiarity with our client. We helped them compile a group of target respondents that included owners, consultants as well as contractors, across the three offices, and then conducted the telephone interviews. Our focus was on getting candid feedback to find out exactly where our client stood in the minds of their markets.

We discovered the firm had a stellar reputation among its current clients, but it had become so busy, its former clients were feeling neglected. Prospective clients had an inconsistent perception of the firm, primarily from limited exposure. The good news was they were going through the exercise from a position of strength—their existing clients were utterly committed to them. The bad news was that the marketplace in their key sectors had become so competitive they would have their branding work cut out for them.


Our client can now tackle the next step of brand messaging and graphics with knowledge and understanding.

Conducting this brand assessment of the external market was just the first part of this process. Next came internal feedback. We worked with the vice president of brand strategy on the internal survey of employees to understand where internal perceptions of the firm’s brand aligned with the external view. The next generation of leaders led this effort. They embraced the process and felt empowered to carry the brand, giving the firm a good leg up as they define themselves in the marketplace

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Our Clients

We think our clients represent the best of the design and construction community and are honored to serve as their advisors and partners.

  • AC Martin
  • Aedas
  • AIA - Minnesota
  • AIA - LFRT
  • Anderson Brulé Architects
  • Anderson Krygier
  • Ankrom Moisan Architects
  • Architecture Resources Group
  • ArchitectureWorks
  • Aspect Consulting
  • ARTIK Art & Architecture
  • BAR Architects
  • BNBT Builders
  • Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
  • BORA Architects, inc.
  • Capital Engineering Consultants
  • CBT Architects
  • CDH Partners
  • Christner Inc.
  • CMG Landscape Architects
  • CO Architects
  • CTA Archtects Engineers
  • Degenkolb Engineers
  • DES Architects Engineers
  • DesignMap
  • DLR Group
  • Dreyfuss & Blackford Architects
  • Dynamik Space
  • E-Cube
  • EHDD Architects
  • ESA
  • Eskew+Dumez+Ripple
  • Feldman Architecture
  • FME Architects
  • Frederick Fisher and Partners
  • Ghirardelli Associates
  • Gould Evans
  • Hacker
  • Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum
  • Hennebery Eddy
  • HGA Architects
  • HKS
  • HNTB Corporation
  • Holmes Group
  • Holmes Structures
  • Interface Engineering
  • Jett Landscape Architecture + Design
  • Kate Keating Associates
  • KPFF
  • Kuth Ranieri Architects
  • Lake|Flato Architects
  • Leddy Maytum Stacy
  • LMN Architects
  • Mahlum Architects
  • Manning Architects
  • McCall Design Group
  • Miller Hull Partnership
  • Mithun
  • M Moser Associates
  • Nacht & Lewis
  • Noll & Tam Architects
  • O'Brien & Company
  • Olson Kundig Architects
  • Opsis Architecture
  • PAE Consulting Engineers
  • PAEA
  • Page & Turnbull
  • Perkins+Will
  • Petra ICS
  • Plant Construction
  • Polytech Associates
  • Populous
  • Ratcliff
  • RDG Planning & Design
  • RHAA
  • Ridley Company
  • RSP Architecture
  • Rutherford & Chekene
  • Schacht Aslani
  • Schmidt Associates
  • SERA Architects
  • Shepherd Resources Inc/AIA
  • Shepley Bulfinch
  • Siegel & Strain Architects
  • Silverman & Light
  • Skanska
  • SmithGroupJJR
  • SRG Partnership, Inc.
  • Steinberg Architects
  • Swinerton Builders
  • Syska Hennessy Group
  • TEF
  • The Collaborative, Inc.
  • Theatre Projects
  • Trapolin Peer Architects
  • Turner Construction
  • Vanir CM
  • Walker Macy
  • Walker Warner Architects
  • Wallace Roberts & Todd
  • Webcor Builders
  • Wilson Ihrig
  • Woods Bagot
  • WSP
  • ZGF Architects