Chastain-Skillman Foundational Branding
However, as the company looked ahead to its 70th anniversary, its leaders sought to solidify positioning and messaging. With the messaging in place, they planned to launch a campaign to attract top talent. The team at Nice Branding Agency proposed embarking on a Foundational Branding project.
This project would provide our branding experts with an opportunity to dive deep into the firm’s history. During the discovery, we would learn about services, what makes the company unique, and how they attract and retain the top industry professionals.
Following the discovery and research phase, our team sat down to flesh out the Foundational Branding. This Foundational Branding includes a positioning statement, brand attributes, and a visual direction to convey the established position and attributes.
RESEARCH + DISCOVERY
The research and discovery phase of our Foundational Branding project is essential for our branding agency. Here, we sit down with our client to walk them through a set of discovery questions that we’ve developed specifically for the project.
The questions allow us to obtain information about the company directly from the source. This information includes necessary details about services, team, target, existing clients and projects, and more.
However, other questions within the session spark a conversation that reveals more nuanced information about the company. Our team uses this information to extrapolate positioning and attributes.
Chastain-Skillman has been on the roster of Nice Branding Agency clients for years. Many years ago, our team made some minor modifications to their logo design. And since then, we’ve been on hand to create brand support as needed.
The firm has grown significantly in the past ten years, and the changes to the processes, projects, and people warranted an investment in Foundational Branding.
Our team traveled to the Chastain-Skillman offices in Florida to sit down with President Jay Chastain and his team. Immediately upon entering the room, Jay’s leadership style was apparent. While some clients may choose to have a couple of people from senior leadership participate in the session, Jay included department leads from every business area to contribute their thoughts and ideas. The room was full.
We started by understanding who each person was and what their role was within the firm. From there, we talked through the company history, business structure and services, differentiators, triumphs, struggles, and more.
We uncovered many things during our Foundational Branding discovery session, but three principles were abundantly apparent.
First, the firm is unrivaled in terms of technical excellence. Chastain-Skillman employs the best engineers and surveyors in the industry. The group performs efficiently and with dependable precision and accuracy.
Secondly, since Jay Chastain’s involvement in the company, the firm has supported its team with a significant investment in technology and other resources. While the business is relatively small in size, it provides instruments and programs typical of a larger company.
Finally, and most moving, was the team’s tenured commitment to the organization. Each member of the team expressed their reasons for staying with the firm for so long. During this discussion, we were impressed to learn about a company culture that both pushed and prioritized its people.
With an extensive set of notes in hand, our corporate branding experts engaged in additional research to clarify details about the competition and the industry’s landscape as a whole.
CORPORATE BRAND POSITIONING STATEMENT
The corporate brand positioning statement is a one-liner that tells people what your company does, for whom, and why it matters. It’s a statement that anyone in your organization should understand and repeat any time someone asks what the company does.
With a positioning statement in place, an entire organization can convey consistency. This consistency can impact presentations, client calls, pitches, meetings, conferences, and more. A consistent approach instills clarity, which enhances the ability of the customer to connect with the brand.
For Chastain-Skillman, we wanted the positioning statement to include their three primary service areas explicitly. These divisions are Land Survey, Civil Engineering, and Water/Wastewater Engineering.
Additionally, we wanted to convey the fact that the firm is intently committed to innovation.
And finally, we wanted to touch on the firm’s why: creating thriving communities. Chastain-Skillman is known for having created the foundation for 90% of the communities within their county.
In the persuasive paragraph, we expand on the positioning statement. This descriptive paragraph is where we tell a bit more about the brand story.
We wanted to tell the reader about the innovation, precision, accuracy, skill, and experience you can find in the firm. But, these are qualities you can expect to find in an engineering company. Additionally, the technical skill and knowledge is only one part of the Chastain-Skillman brand.
When you sit down with the people of Chastain-Skillman, you immediately understand the differentiator. While they are skilled, knowledgable, and innovative, they aren’t flashy. They aren’t conceited. They aren’t haughty. They are down-to-earth people who are committed to problem-solving on behalf of the communities they serve.
Brand attributes are a set of defined adjectives that describe the personality of the company. Adjectives about a person would indicate the way that person may look, talk, or behave. Similarly, brand attributes provide clues about how a company would look, communicate, and act.
So, before you can attempt to put together a visual direction or messaging for a company, you’ve got to shape the personality through the creation of brand attributes.
In creating brand attributes for Chastain-Skillman, our branding professionals assembled a laundry list of descriptive words. Our team then subjected the list to intense scrutiny. We pared the list down to only the terms that described the company in a manner that differentiated them from others in the industry.
The resulting attributes conveyed the main points uncovered in our discovery session, and the definitions of these terms provided further differentiation.
Our process for Foundational Branding includes the creation of up to three brand boards to convey visual direction. Each of the brand boards provides a viable option for bringing visual life to the positioning statement, persuasive paragraph and brand attributes.
Like many of our other clients, Chastain-Skillman had an established brand. The project’s goal was to create a foundation for the brand that would push positioning to the forefront while giving meaning to the existing brand assets. In a sense, our branding team worked to wrangle existing colors and other elements into a cohesive look and feel that would elevate the essence of the brand.
We created two brand boards for Chastain-Skillman. One kept consistent with where they were, and one pushed the creative envelope a bit more.
The first direction is decidedly modern and indicative of accuracy, innovation, and problem-solving.
Many of the visuals are black and white, with simple yet bold design elements. Brand colors also include the brand’s existing blue. The brand’s existing green tones also appear in the visual direction. Finally, a lighter, more modern green punctuates the look. The inclusion of the existing brand colors would make a smooth transition to the new look and feel.
In this brand direction, the overlapping nature of color plays an important role.
For example, the overlap of the existing blue (which denotes experience and legacy) and the new green (which brings fresh energy and technology) creates the existing, darker green.
This subtle design technique conveys something about the company. It’s a visual that aligns with the way the firm layers legacy with innovation. The overlapping also nods to teams converging within the organization to solve problems.
Under this visual direction, we would use simplified icons, patterns, and design techniques like embossing. These design elements communicate accuracy, precision, and the firm’s role in establishing the foundations for thriving communities.
The aesthetic lends itself to an industrial and open office environment and a no-fuss look and feel overall. This aesthetic is a modern approach to aligning with the “genuine” attribute. In fact, throughout the brand, all elements are super-straightforward, providing a transparent and real glimpse into the company and its work.
The second visual direction communicates a warm approachability, paired with a modern take on the 70-year legacy of the brand. The visuals tell a story of Chastain-Skillman’s extensive experience in a manner that’s genuine, while also giving the viewer a glimpse into the strategic innovation that propels the firm.
Within this brand, color is also used to tell a story of collaboration. This story lends itself to genuine connections and problem-solving.
The blue is softer than the existing brand blue. The more delicate shade complements the green instead of competing, which creates a collaborative vibe. The color palette is demonstrative of how Chastain-Skillman teams work together, complementing one another instead of competing.
We’ve added yellow to the color palette, but sparingly. The yellow indicates confidence and success, while also subtly nodding to safety.
Additionally, this brand introduces a textured, light grey color. This hue aligns with the texture and color of concrete. It provides a visual for the solidness of the Chastain Skillman presence in the industry.
Under this visual direction, icons indicate the collaboration of teams with one another, the community, clients, and partners. Additionally, we would use intertwining lines. The lines represent how many simple things work together to create something more substantial.
The intersecting lines mirror the internal problem-solving capabilities of Chastain Skillman. They present the concept of many simple elements working together to create complex solutions or shapes.
We would employ other design techniques to convey the underlying nature of the brand. For example, a spot UV print treatment would come into play. This treatment would indicate the unseen nature of the work when done correctly by the firm.
Additionally, clean, sans serif fonts appear throughout the brand to convey precision and accuracy. These are implemented with a slight roundness to mimic the modern aspect and a flexible, forward-thinking aspect of the work.
Under this brand, images connect people with both the work and the firm’s rich legacy. We would show project photos in full color to indicate accuracy and innovation. However, historic photos would be displayed in a different tone to convey experience and the genuine nature of the brand.
When someone interacts with this brand, they can expect to feel a sense of confidence and familiarity. They will gain the understanding that they are working with an experienced firm, one that prioritizes problem-solving and remains on the leading edge of innovation within the industry.
We presented the brand positioning statement, persuasive paragraph, brand attributes, and visual direction options to our client via a Zoom presentation. The positioning statement, persuasive paragraph, and brand attributes resonated with them. We made a couple of minor tweaks and finalized them for use.
Upon presentation of the visual direction options, brand board two was selected. However, our client expressed intrigue in the color palette from brand board one. They showed a desire to retain this palette in the final visual direction, if possible.
A note about combining or swapping color palettes: Sometimes, the combination of elements from various brand boards is not advisable. We curate the visual direction options with intense attention to detail. We consider an array of options before finalizing the boards for the presentation. However, in this case, we were able to make the change requested.
The final brand board two includes the overall visual direction initially presented with the fresher color palette from the first option.
The team at Chastain-Skillman was thrilled to have a solid foundation for their brand. The company had existing brand assets when they came to us. However, we were able to formalize positioning, attributes, and visual direction. The result has been hugely beneficial. Chastain-Skillman is now able to communicate on behalf of the brand effectively. This consistency in communication permeates all areas, including human resources, business development, marketing, public relations, account management, and more.
At the conclusion of this project, our branding team moved into creating several other brand assets for the firm. These subsequent projects included a custom, WordPress website, a recruitment campaign, a brand photoshoot, an email campaign, a branded video, and a campaign centered on their survey department.
READY FOR A NICE BRAND?
A corporate brand does more than provide you with a nice image. It sets the tone for your messaging and tells your team that you value them, and they work they do. If you’re ready to build the foundation for a Nice brand, give us a call. We’ve got a team of brand engineers who love what they do.