How do you strategically reposition a three-company national merger in the property sector?

August 10th 2017

The leading urban development consultants JBA, Buckley Vann and Planisphere has announced the exciting relaunch of Ethos Urban.

Leading urban development consultants JBA, Buckley Vann and Planisphere today announce their relaunch as Ethos Urban, coming together to form a national brand focused on becoming the most comprehensive urban services firm in Australia.

The new brand follows a 12 month consulting process by Frost to reposition the three firms under a unified brand with the objective of driving growth in both national and offshore markets.

“Navigating a three-company national merger required a thorough, process-driven approach. Frost’s strategic deep-dive has given us the clarity we need around the brand to fully realise its potential,” said Robert Simpson, CEO, Ethos Urban.

“Frost has advised us on not only whether we should relaunch under a new brand, but also our new name, positioning and creative approach. We are delighted with the outome and the partnership along the way.” said Simpson.

The strategic end of the project involved a research phase including interviews and workshops with key players across all three companies to understand potential opportunities in terms of client relationships, business development and company culture.

A category audit followed revealing that most competitors in the sector are positioned by the services they provide and the processes they have in place. These insights served to highlight the opportunity to focus on human benefits and the intellectual capital of staff.

Catriona Burgess, Director of Strategy, Frost added, “Our research allowed us to marry the strong people-driven focus within the three firms ,with emerging demands from clients for more human-centred solutions and deeper interpersonal relationships.”

“This is captured in the brand idea “Smart people. People smart” which has also been used as the company’s tagline.

“We understood that the new entity needed to go to market with a clearly differentiated position. We refocused the brand on people rather than process, disrupting category norms and paving the way for Ethos Urban to share a strong narrative about the company’s expanding offering, as well as its unique philosophy,” said Burgess.

The naming process led to the recommendation of “Ethos Urban”. A highly distinctive name in the category, it comes from a standpoint of belief rather than function. The word “Ethos” is one of Aristotle’s “ingredients for persuasion.” It establishes the company as a firm with strong ethics, and creates the platform of trust necessary for a company tasked with analysing opportunities and seeing new possibilities for people and places.

The brand design creates a unique graphic language that helps Ethos Urban’s communications to rise above the category genres of photos of buildings and development sites.

Enaging configurations of pattern differentiate Ethos Urban’s reports and communications from their competitors, ensuring they are impactful and distinctive. A unique photography style serves to personalise each employee and capture their human character.

The pastel colour palette is approachable and friendly in a category dominated by primary colours. In all, the solution is intelligent, distinctive and contemporary and asserts Ethos Urban as an influential new player in the market.

The digital strategy expresses Ethos Urban’s collective wealth of expertise and experience. Nest (part of Frost*collective), commissioned to design and develop the website, wanted to do something different with the way users navigate the site. The vertical panels introduce an editorial feel but in a new and different way.

The scope of brand deliverables included brand architecture modeling in light of the merger, brand strategy, naming, logo and visual identity system, brand guidelines, stationery, corporate documents and website.