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From the Ground Up: Building a Brand for Safway




From the Ground Up: Building a Brand for Safway

Charlie Stephan, Writer/Producer

Initial Smart Way Mark

No home remodeling project has ever begun and ended where the builder intended. Once you get in there and root around, you find other things that need fixing. What starts as a new backsplash in the kitchen inevitably ends with new tile, appliances and light fixtures. 

Branding projects sometimes come about the same way – simple requests lead to bigger insights that cause brand managers and agencies to reexamine their brand’s entire landscape. Such was the case with our recent building project for a renowned provider of scaffolding, access and industrial service solutions: Safway Services. 

A new client, Safway asked us to theme their upcoming dealer meeting as our first project. So we dug for information on what made Safway unique. We talked to stakeholders, did our research and put on our thinking hard hats. It’d be easy to slap a generic theme on any brand’s event (IT’S “JAMAICA’N ME CRAZY WITH SAFWAY” AND WE’LL PLAY BOB MARLEY MUSIC!), but we opted for something more tangible and relevant, with which employees could connect. A select set of concepts was whittled down to the winner: “The Smart Way,” a nod to Safway’s intelligently holistic approach to providing scaffold and access solutions for construction and industrial projects.

Most agency assignments end here. The concept is approved, final tweaks are made, then it’s “Cut! Print it.” But Safway saw potential in the Smart Way, and asked their Swanson Russell team to pursue it as a brand platform. So we worked with our client to identify a few key components of Safway’s approach that they execute more intelligently than any of their competitors. We landed on Safety, People, Planning, Processes and Technology. They’re the five elements Safway is built on – or to put it in the corniest possible terms, the scaffolding that allows Safway to access and attack the challenges their customers present. 

Next, we wanted to explore what these five potent brand weapons would look like when expressed as brand print ads. Conceptually, we gave the ads a historical tinge, given that Safway has been around longer than most of its competitors. We also poured over the publications these ads would run in and designed something that would stand out in them. Big, bold headlines. Dominant, focused imagery. And quick copy that wasn’t overly technical.

Safway Process Ad

Safway People Ad

Safway Technology Ad

Safway Planning Ad

Safway Safety Ad

The print ad concepts were extended to website marquees, social media content, trade show signage and more. So while Safway initially only asked for a backsplash, a little bit of digging resulted in us throwing out the kitchen sink. And in the end, the brand received a facelift and a smarter, more holistic, unified approach – something a company like Safway can truly appreciate.