Buildingstars Changes the Story With New Branding and Website
Picture this: your company can’t promote its greatest strength because the market sees it as a weakness.
More on that in a moment.
Last summer Atomicdust began working with Buildingstars, a St. Louis-based commercial cleaning business looking to recruit new franchise owners and attract new customers. The company was looking for refreshed branding and two new websites – one for each of their audiences.
When it comes to its franchises, Buildingstars prides itself on its supportive program, which gives people of all backgrounds the chance to start and grow their own businesses. They’re the only company in the commercial cleaning industry that offers a part-time franchise ownership option. That’s a big differentiator, but it was buried in disjointed, copy-heavy marketing materials.
Of course, Buildingstars needed to attract customers as well. And that’s where things got tricky. The franchise model was getting a bad rap among office and property managers who had had bad experiences with Buildingstars’ competitors, and who blamed the poor cleaning quality and consistency these businesses had provided on the model itself. Many non-franchise cleaning companies were even using the model against Buildingstars in their sales presentations.
During interviews with customers, we discovered that quality simply wasn’t an issue for Buildingstars. That’s because the franchise owners have more stake in the business than they would under competitors, with many of them participating in the cleaning themselves.
The solution was right in front of us. There was no point in hiding the Buildingstars franchise model if competitors were going to use it against them anyway. Instead, we recommended that Buildingstars take control of the story, and tell a compelling story about its value: Buildingstars’ cleaning teams are not only more qualified and experienced – they’re motivated by the pride of real ownership. When they make customers happy, it contributes directly to their personal success.
Initial branding and design concepts
Branding and Design Come to the Rescue
We developed a brand narrative that spoke to all of their audiences: whether you’re a franchise owner or a customer, Buildingstars handles everything using clear, simple processes, so that you can focus on the success of your business.
The new tagline, “Shine brighter,” is obviously inspired by the act of cleaning, but it also offers an empowering message. Sure, a clean workspace is great. But clean matters because it allows you to focus on more important things – your tasks, your employees and your career – without having to worry about clutter, germs or other distractions.
One Buildingstars customer told us: “Their cleaning teams really care, and you can see it in the way my building’s tabletops and floors look.” Inspired by this comment, we developed a visual identity that invites people to look closer: at the edge of a tabletop, or at the legs of a chair, and to think about what it really means when they shine.
Old Buildingstars materials had relied heavily on astronomy references, but we felt that punny, obvious phrases like “Be a building star” were ready to be retired. Still, we liked the idea of using the constellation from the brand’s existing logo as a graphic element to represent clear paths and connections.
Finally, we recommended they shift their imagery away from stock images of buildings and mops, and reinforce the new brand story with real images of proud franchise owners and cleaning teams.
Telling the Story on the Web
One weakness we uncovered during the branding program: Buildingstars was relying too heavily on traditional marketing. Our research showed that, while newspaper ads were reaching a good number of prospective franchise owners, the company was missing out on opportunities through the web. That had to change.
Each of the two new websites – one for customers, one for franchisees – would need to present a clear hierarchy of information, explain Buildingstars’ value proposition in as few words as possible, and use visuals to enhance understanding.
Both sites employ white space to reflect the ideas of cleanliness and the simple road to success, with a few surprises at strategic points along the way.
The entire website is designed to lead visitors down the decision path. To generate leads, we chose calls to action that were straightforward and noncommittal: request a quote for cleaning, or ask for more information about franchisee ownership. Then we made it easy (and enticing) for visitors to do just that, the moment they decided they were ready.
The old Buildingstars websites had little to no lead generation to speak of. In the first month after the new sites launched, 26 commercial businesses and 114 prospective franchisees reached out through the forms. The client was thrilled, and so were we.
We were happy to help Buildingstars reach new prospects by flipping the franchise story on its head, and we look forward to watching the company grow. Visit their corporate site or franchise site now to explore their work (and ours).