Addison Group

Consulting CASE STORY

A staffing firm grows up (and up)

This national, Chicago-based staffing firm had grown and diversified its services by acquiring companies across the country, from Seattle to Washington, DC. Hinge helped position the evolving firm, build a suite of websites and develop a brand integration strategy to accommodate future growth.


In search of a growth strategy

When Addison Group came to Hinge, they were a leading staffing firm that had acquired four professional services businesses covering a range of industries and geography, from Seattle to Texas to Washington, DC. The companies included an IT consulting firm, a management consulting firm, and two staffing and executive search firms. Later they added 4 more companies. While they sought out acquisitions with compatible cultures, Addison was figuring out how to integrate a relatively transactional business (staffing) with a high-touch, They also planned more acquisitions in the future, so they needed a clear strategy to guide them as they grew.

Digging into their brands

To uncover the strengths and commonalities of these businesses, we conducted extensive stakeholder and client interviews. As part of our research, we spoke with nearly 100 clients and surveyed hundreds of internal staff from the eight companies. We compiled a wealth of information on their audiences’ challenges, internal and external perceptions, the competitive landscape, client satisfaction and more. But we needed to turn this data into something they could use.

"At last, they had a story to tell.”

Positioning: a story to rule them all

Positioning a group of disparate companies can be a challenge. But with enough common threads you can weave a compelling, differentiated story. In the case of the Addison Group, we came to realize that each of these companies addresses an organization’s most critical driver of growth: exceptional people—albeit from different angles. Each component company also has deep regional relationships, so we could tell that story, as well. And Addison’s ability to find and develop a culture fit in everything they do is a key to their success. We developed a positioning statement that articulates these points, frames their brand and propels their messaging.

At last, they had a story to tell.

Brand new brand look

Addison needed more than positioning, they needed a new visual brand to support it. We built out a new color palette and applied a new brand identity to their sales collateral and pitch deck.

A new website

To integrate their brands, we pitched a multisite web architecture, allowing the firm to quickly spin up new websites as they acquired new companies—and manage everything from a convenient central dashboard. Taking advantage of the flexibility in the brand integration roadmap, Addison Group adopted a provisional “house of brands” structure to preserve the brand equity and autonomy of their acquired companies. If and when they decide to more tightly integrate their business units, the multisite functionality is ready to go.

We designed the core Addison website to be not only a high-credibility destination for employers and job candidates alike, but to be exceptionally easy to use and navigate. For instance, we built Bullhorn integration right into the main stage of the homepage, so that job seekers and hiring managers can quickly and efficiently take action. We also built a robust, custom sub-brand filtering system into the Insights section to make it simple to find relevant content.

In parallel, we developed websites for four of their subsidiaries, bringing new credibility and clarity to their brands.

A greener future

As a result of our ongoing work with Addison Group, the firm has a brand identity that conveys the credibility and leadership status they have earned over the past 20 years. In addition, they now have a way to talk about their family of companies—a story that explains how a suite of seemingly different businesses can work in concert to drive a client’s success.

What we did

Visible Firm Program

  • Visibility Research
  • Brand Research
  • Differentiators & Positioning
  • Messaging Architecture
  • Brand Architecture
  • Brand Acquisition Strategy
  • Ongoing Consultation

Branding Services

  • Color Palette
  • Sales Collateral Design
  • Brand Architecture Implementation
  • Pitch Deck Design
  • Email Template Design
  • Brand Style Guidelines

High-Performance Website

  • Design
  • Offer Strategy
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Website Architecture
  • Website Development
  • Bullhorn Integration
  • Multisite Platform Setup and Configuration
  • Writing

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