AEI Consultants is in the commercial real estate industry. They provide building, environmental, land and sustainability assessments as well as valuation and appraisal services throughout North America.
At a higher level, their brand mission is empowering clients to navigate real estate and business risk while helping to save the environment: an ambitious goal with a single-person creative team.
But, within this challenge, Rachael Rodriguez saw the opportunity to breathe new life into a black-and-white brand and stand out among the competition. To match her vision, AEI needed a solution to support and keep pace with the increasing demands.CHALLENGE
The design realm within the land and building assessment sector is often perceived as stark and uninspiring. Assessors delve into the minutiae of soil composition, structural integrity, access routes, and regulatory compliance to evaluate sites for prospective projects. However, the typical imagery associated with this industry—workers donning hard hats, clutching clipboards amidst the backdrop of imposing machinery—rarely sparks creative enthusiasm among designers.
AEI Consultants wanted to leap out and above the competition with a focus on the environment and sustainability. At the center of bringing that vision to life was Rodriguez. But after six years as the sole designer in the company and serving as their webmaster and social media manager, her capacity was maxing out. With no project managers to help and an overload of day-to-day requests, she had no time to wear her Creative Director hat and execute her vision.
She needed a new way to get design done. A design partner that would expand her capabilities, extend her capacity and hit the ground with new soil, seed and fertilizer.SOLUTION
It was pandemonium. I did graphic design, played brand police and completed custom projects. I was a ‘Jack of all trades,’ trying to juggle everything. I explained to the executives that this worked when we were a smaller company, but it doesn’t work anymore. We learned about Superside, and it's been much better ever since.
Rodriguez brought on Superside. With a dedicated design team and a project manager, she found the partner she needed.
To break ground, Rodriguez and Superside dug into the brand. To execute major design initiatives, brand guidelines are foundational. That deep work enables rapid deployment of creative assets—from landing pages to social ads and merchandise.
At the core of this new branding is AEI’s new logo, a modern take on a traditional, spherical earth.
The spherical shape on our logo has taken on a life of its own. We're using it to create assets without the ‘AEI’, and it’s so memorable it can stand alone and still be recognizable as our company.
But you can’t stop at a logo. Rodriguez used her Superside team to develop a new color palette and patterns to add to their website, business cards and other print materials. They rolled out presentation templates with new icons and a modern blue-green gradient, which was striking gold with sales.
Getting to work with another Creative Director from Superside was phenomenal. We had this automatic rapport with each other. And the Creative Project Manager had the process nailed. We got out of creating everything, moved into applying everything, then rolled it out. And all of our clients, even our competitors, have said, ‘Ooh, that’s slick.’
Together with Superside, they began rolling out the new branding across all touchpoints, including
Superside provided AEI with wireframes and an on-brand, in-depth design layout that Rodriguez could implement on their website’s home page, service pages and resource page.
After AEI received a suite of social media templates from Superside, they could share their revamped brand with a broader audience posting job openings on behalf of HR and promoting events. These templates also allowed Rodriguez to save considerable time in designing and developing creatives for each post. Now, she had the building blocks to create on-brand, consistent imagery across AEI’s social media presence for every single post.
Applying their new brand to their business cards helped AEI get noticed at conferences, and the QR code on the back made sharing contact information more straightforward while reducing waste.
Our new duffle bags have the full-color treatment and logo. Before, I’d say, ‘Nah, I’m good. I don’t need any of the swag.’ Now I’m rockin’ it to the gym. It’s so cool.
AEI’s new presentation templates give them options. From full-color slides with quotes to standard slides with titles, icons, and pictures.
We’ve doubled the business won when pitching with the new presentations.
As far as Superside goes, nobody’s taking them away from me or my team.
AEI is growing in the face of a market downturn, arguably attributed to the marketing collateral AEI is rolling out.
Over the last year, Rodriguez has shifted her design requests to eBook and digital report designs, email designs, and landing pages. She’s also making use of print design, infographics and merchandising. And they have yet to make another design hire.
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