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Award Winners: Acentech’s Refreshed Branding

Throughout the year, we’ll be celebrating the masterpieces of marketing that brought home the honors at the 2015 SMPS Boston Awards gala. May you find creative inspiration from these outstanding communications!

After 25 years of success in the acoustical consulting industry and a relatively unchanged look, Cambridge-based Acentech decided it was time for something new. It sounds like a bad joke, but Acentech’s logo was so old that it wasn’t even compatible for 21st century marketing.

Acentech's Original Logo

Acentech’s Original Logo

What once looked amazing on a 1989 Macintosh computer screen didn’t quite make the cut for today’s iPad. In 2014, Acentech began the journey of revitalizing their brand to match their work esthetic and continue attracting their highly design-oriented architecture clients.

An early roadblock in the design process was figuring out how to pay for a rebrand on a shoe-string budget. Acentech decided to take the path of hiring a designer outside of the AEC industry and connected with Julie Beck, a local fine arts painter and teacher, to get that truly reimagined brand. They also created an internal rebrand team led mostly by marketing staff to make up for the lack of resources.

Another challenge faced by the rebrand team was including the input from all 57 employees, many of whom had been with the firm for a long time and wanted to preserve the integrity of the original brand. This required maintaining clear communication throughout the entire process. The rebrand team hosted meetings and provided platforms for collecting firm-wide contributions on major branding decisions. Employees even provided their own logo designs, which Julie Beck used to create different concepts.

acentech logo designsacentech_new_logos

Ultimately, the firm decided to go with a design that was simple and incorporated its commitment to acoustics by replicating sound waves. From there, the rebrand team worked with Julie Beck to develop other key marketing collateral templates. Their goal was to accomplish the entire rebranding process from brainstorming to concept to execution within 10 months to introduce the new brand at their annual client seminars held in November. Additionally, Acentech created a Thanksgiving holiday video to show off their new logo.

It was also extremely important that the rebrand team obtain employee buy-in for the new look. This took the form as a brilliant kick-off event called “AcenFest”, in which employees participated in a variety of brand-building activities.

acenfest_inspirationacenfest_guide_presentation

In the end, Acentech had accomplished its goal of rebranding within their own terms and their hard work definitely paid off as the SMPS Boston judging panel commented:

  • “Tying the past and future together was evident in the new brand”
  • “New branding more contemporary & fresh”
  • “The simplicity of the symbol is very strong”

By working with a designer with a fresh perspective, pushing for employee engagement throughout the entire process, and having a marketing group with the discipline and creative smarts to efficaciously execute such a monumental task, Acentech achieved rebrand success and truly stood out as the 2015 First Place Brand Experience/Identity Winner.

Andrea Lalinde

Author

Andrea is a Senior Communications Specialist at CDM Smith with eight years of experience in the A/E/C industry. She currently serves as Director of the Special Events Committee, helping to coordinate the Chapter's Holiday Party and Awards gala.

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