Ethos Urban

Unlocking potential
by positioning
around principles

The challenge


Leading urban planners JBA, Buckley Vann and Planisphere were joining forces to become a national company. They turned to us to help them navigate the brand complexities of a merger, as well as how to create a winning position that would drive growth in both national and offshore markets.

Our thinking


Following a wide-ranging consultation process with across three States, we identified that where most competitors focus on their process, the opportunity was to focus on beliefs and ethics. This commitment is critical to urban planning, where entire community’s futures rest in the hand of planners.

The brand idea – ‘Smart People. People Smart.’ – marries the focus on human outcomes with the fact that clients make their choice of firm based on the quality of talent and calibre of the thinking.

The client liked the brand idea so much, they decided to use it as their tagline.



With the merger being an opportunity to lay out what the new company stands for, we developed the name ‘Ethos Urban’. A Greek word meaning ‘character’ or a set of ideals and beliefs, it embodied the spirit of the combined company forces perfectly.

The brand design couples an elegant and symmetrical logo with a distinctive system of abstract shapes, evocative of the planning process. These were designed to create impact when proposals and communications came across cluttered clients’ desks or inboxes.

To emphasise the many different ‘smart people’ at Ethos Urban, we commissioned a photographer to travel across all three states to capture the face of every single employee. These images feature prominently on their website and in other communications. We also championed the use of thought leadership to create brand fame and build reputation for the re-launched company.

A dynamic new website that made it easier to understand what Ethos Urban do, as well as their many combined projects.



The new brand has seen Ethos Urban take its place as a national player in the market, growing the number and calibre of opportunities. Importantly, its reputation for creating a difference through empathy-led solutions and a strong commitment to ethics has become central to its reputation. It’s now a recognised leader known for driving better places, communities and cities through its unique people-powered culture.

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