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

Similar Projects

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
  • Aditazz
  • Aedas
  • AIA - Large Firm Roundtable
  • AIA - Minnesota
  • AIA - LFRT
  • Alliiance
  • Andersen Construction
  • Anderson Brulé Architects
  • Anderson Krygier
  • Ankrom Moisan Architects
  • Architecture Resources Group
  • ArchitectureWorks
  • Aspect Consulting
  • ARTIK Art & Architecture
  • BAR Architects
  • Bassetti Architects
  • Bellecci & Associates
  • Best Practice Architecture
  • Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
  • Bora Architects
  • Brandow & Johnson
  • Brightworks
  • Bunton Clifford Associates
  • Cannon Design
  • Capital Engineering Consultants
  • CBT Architects
  • CDG Engineers
  • CDH Partners
  • CMG Landscape Architects
  • CO Architects
  • CTA Archtects Engineers
  • Dahlin Group
  • Dangermond Keane Architecture
  • Degenkolb Engineers
  • DES Architects Engineers
  • DesignMap
  • DLR Group
  • Dougherty+Dougherty
  • Dreyfuss & Blackford Architects
  • Dynamik Space
  • E-Cube
  • EHDD Architects
  • ELS Architects
  • ESA
  • Eskew+Dumez+Ripple
  • Feldman Architecture
  • Fentress Architects
  • Field Paoli Architects
  • Forell/Elsesser
  • Frederick Fisher and Partners
  • Ghirardelli Associates
  • GL Planning & Design
  • Global Design Alliance
  • GLS Landscape Architecture
  • goCstudio
  • Gould Evans
  • Graham Baba Architects
  • Hacker
  • Harley Ellis Devereaux
  • Hennebery Eddy
  • HGA Architects
  • HH Fremer Architects
  • HKS
  • HNTB Corporation
  • Hoedemaker Pfeiffer
  • HOK
  • Holmes Group
  • Holmes Structures
  • Hybrid Architecture
  • Jensen + Partners
  • Jett Landscape Architecture + Design
  • Kate Keating Associates
  • Knight Cancer Institute
  • KPFF
  • Kuth Ranieri Architects
  • Lake|Flato Architects
  • Leddy Maytum Stacy
  • Level 10 Construction
  • LMN Architects
  • Lockhart | Suver
  • LPAS
  • M Moser Associates
  • Mahlum Architects
  • Manning Architects
  • McCall Design Group
  • McCarthy/Andersen, A Joint Venture
  • MEI Architects
  • Melendrez
  • Miller Hull Partnership
  • Mithun
  • Mutuus Studio
  • mwworks
  • Nacht & Lewis
  • nicholsbooth Architects
  • Noll & Tam Architects
  • O'Brien & Company
  • OHSU Design & Construction
  • OHSU Facilities & Transportation
  • Olson Kundig Architects
  • Opsis Architecture
  • PAE Consulting Engineers
  • PAEA
  • Page & Turnbull
  • Pankow Builders
  • Patano Studio Architecture
  • Paulett Taggart Architects
  • Perkins+Will
  • Plant Construction
  • Polytech Associates
  • Populous
  • Provost & Pritchard
  • Ratcliff
  • RDG Planning & Design
  • Rerucha Studio
  • RHAA
  • Richard Beard Architects
  • Ridley Company
  • RSP Architecture
  • Schacht Aslani
  • Schmidt Associates
  • Scott | Edwards Architecture
  • SERA Architects
  • Shepherd Resources Inc/AIA
  • Shepley Bulfinch
  • Siegel & Strain Architects
  • Silverman & Light
  • Skanska
  • SkB Architects
  • SKL Architects
  • SmithGroupJJR
  • SRG Partnership, Inc.
  • Steinberg Architects
  • Suyama Peterson Deguchi
  • Swenson Say Faget
  • Swinerton Builders
  • Syska Hennessy Group
  • TEF
  • The Collaborative, Inc.
  • Theatre Projects Consultants
  • Tipping Structural Engineers
  • Trapolin Peer Architects
  • Truebeck Construction
  • Turner Construction
  • University of Idaho IDL
  • University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Urban Planning Partners
  • Vanir CM
  • Walker Macy
  • Walker Warner Architects
  • Wallace Roberts & Todd
  • Webcor Builders
  • Weinstein A+U
  • Wilson Ihrig
  • Woods Bagot
  • Wallace Roberts & Todd
  • WSP
  • ZGF Architects