Rebranding AEC Firms: 5 Signs It Might Be Time

When it comes to rebranding AEC firms, it’s not just about changing the look of your firm’s logo.  It’s more about transforming your firm’s entire brand and message to communicate your firm’s true story and strategy.  A complete guide to rebranding your firm is available as a free download.

When exactly should you consider rebranding your firm you ask?

If you can check off one (or more) of the items below, then you might need to consider rebranding your firm:

  1. Your firm is embarking on new territory

Venturing into a new service or market can pose a challenging task of creating a cohesive brand identity.  For example, take XYZ Government Consulting.  For 10 years they have provided consulting services only to federal government clients, but because of several new commercial contract wins, they make a decision to start providing consulting services to commercial clients as well.  As the company evolves, the original firm name of XYZ Government Consulting could be too limiting when it comes to new clients in the commercial industry looking for consulting services.  After conducting proper client, market and competitive research, the firm selects a completely different name.  One that better reflects what their firm delivers and one that positions the brand to grow for many years to come.

  1. Your firm, as well as your brand, is celebrating its 25th anniversary!

Although going through the rebranding process for the sole reason of ‘I don’t like our logo’ isn’t enough, it is enough to get a discussion started internally.  Start by asking ‘what would people say about our brand if we weren’t in the room with them?’ Ultimately, you want your brand to be able to tell the story of who your firm is on its own.  As much as we would love to always be in the room with our clients and prospects, it’s just not a reality.  So make sure your brand will leave a positive lasting impression.


  1. Your firm wonders why the ‘good clients’ are going to your competition

Once your firm’s services have become outdated or deemed inadequate by the doings of your competitors, you probably need to re-evaluate your brand to regain a foothold in the marketplace.  You need to become more relevant to your clients and prove to them that you are the expert they should turn to.   Having a strong positioning and refreshed mark will give you the leverage you need to take back those ‘good clients’ from your competition.

  1. When two become one

With the downturn of the economy, many AEC firms instead of shutting their doors, made due by merging with other solid standing firms.  Simply put, there is no easy way to combine two separate brand identities.  So in this case, if you are currently or will be going through a merger in the near future, it is imperative that you take a look at both brands and create a new, unified brand.  Your employees need to know what the new firm stands for and how they should relay your firm’s story to the world.

  1. Your firm can’t distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack

You know the old Ella Fitzgerald tune…’What’s Your Story Morning Glory?’  Although maybe not in those exact words, you probably get asked this question at least once a day from someone inside our outside of your firm.  If you don’t know how to answer this question, chances are your message has been severely diluted, or worse yet, evaporated.  It’s vital for a firm to have clear and concise positioning and messaging in order to distinguish themselves from their competitors.


Realizing that your firm is ready for a rebrand is just the first step in the process.  Whether you are looking to simply refresh the look of your brand, or looking to completely overhaul your firm’s look, positioning and messaging, you will be facing a tough but rewarding road ahead of you.  Once the process is complete, you will walk away stronger and leaner than ever before.

So what’s your story?



Katie Sanner Katie’s professional background is as wide as her smile. From advertising and design to professional AEC marketing experience, she has experienced marketing from both sides of the table. Katie has worked at Arnold Worldwide, where she was a Creative Manager for clients such as Amtrak, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Choice Hotels. Later, she spent several years in the AEC industry, including Deltek and marketing a Washington DC Top 25 Engineering Firm.

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