Since 1979, Charlie’s Plumbing, Inc. has been the go to plumbing service provider for many Houstonians. They serve and provide expertise across many different industries including Commercial & Industrial plumbing services and Residential & Multi-Family plumbing services. Charlie’s Plumbing also provides several plumbing and sanitation services to many other businesses within government, healthcare, as well as non-profit organizations. Their exceptional services and commitment to customer service have made Charlie’s Plumbing a very respected and esteemed business. For these reasons, the company has been able to have great success and be the renowned leader within the Texas Gulf Coast plumbing industry.
What was the problem?
Despite being in business for several decades, President and CEO, Merrill Crawford felt like Charlie’s Plumbing was not being viewed in the proper light. She felt that the company gave a “small” image and because of this, Merrill worked tirelessly to improve the company’s overall brand. One of the first things she thought would work was to change the name of the business itself. Merrill thought changing the name from Charlie’s Plumbing, Inc. to CPI would be beneficial, but after careful consideration, she decided to keep the name to preserve the essence of the company. She decided to “embrace the name and make it bad ass.” With the name staying, the next course was to improve the logos.
Out with the old, in with the new… Logos
Merrill first sought to create new logos through the use of logo tournaments sites; where she received 600 entries. But unfortunately (yet not shockingly), none of the designs were up to par for Merrill’s vision. She then contacted a fellow Goldman Saks 10,000 Small Business Alumni to create the new logos. One of the logos was “The Stamp” which became the primary logo for the enterprise, and the other logo, their cartoon name became “The Metal Man.”
Logos in hand but still a lot to do
Merrill and the company had the logos, but now they were at a crossroad. They wanted other pieces designed for the business, but unfortunately, the specialty print company they had a partnership with, only deals in layout or straight to print projects. That is, despite their creativity in the logo designs they weren’t a design company. As a result, Merrill realized that she needed some advice from an outside source. She needed a designer to help her bring her vision to life; this is where we came in to help, and it was an online match made in heaven.
How Did We Solve The Problem?
When we first met with Merrill, she firmly stated that she wanted consistent branding in all aspects of her business, no problem. She wanted to use both new logos that she felt portrayed her vision of the company’s brand, but she did not want to confuse people regarding what her brand represented. One interesting aspect of our consult with Merrill was that she showed us a printer jam error. This incident became the inspiration for what would happen next.
It was evident, Charlie’s Plumbing biggest problem was being a Commercial/Industrial plumbing company who also serviced Residential clients but instead was coming across as a Residential Plumbing company who wants to do Commercial/Industrial Plumbing; this was the first problem we tackled in their branding strategy.
“Embrace the name and make it bad ass.”
Ditching the Conventional
Disregarding the reds, whites, and blues so common with residential plumbers we utilized metal tones and textures that represent a lot of the pipes and tools the plumbers work with every day. The copper is durable and commands attention, and the use of grays and silver helps soften the design especially when transitioning to white. Our aim here is to first appeal to the commercial and industrial side of their clientele. With a branding direction set; numerous collateral items were designed and sent to print. We also coordinated with the website developer to establish a consistent site redesign that complemented the other marketing pieces.
Did we achieve a bad-ass brand? We think so, as do the team at Charlie’s Plumbing. Merrill said the results came “pretty immediately.” “The biggest impact was on the employees, they were excited and got behind the new logo and branding,” stated Merrill. A company’s employees are not always taken into account when building a brand, so it was incredible to see that entire team benefited from and embraced the shift.
I still love it! And for me to love something three years later, it has to be good.
A lot goes into rebranding, and Merrill turned to us to help create a drastic change in her business. Merrill’s need for her company to be known as Houston’s Premier Commercial and Industrial plumbing provider was made evident by her drive to seek ways to improve the business’ branding. With b.iD’s expertise on board, it was an excellent opportunity for us to demonstrate that the success of her organization was just as important to us.
What we delivered…
“I asked for one thing, and you came back with something 10x better!!!”
When Merrill told us: “I asked for one thing, and you came back with something 10x better,” it was a statement that declared that our efforts, were justified. Because we were committed to the success Merrill wanted to see, we created a great partnership. According to Merrill, our use of the logos and the designs of marketing materials we created for the company are still creating positive impacts: “I still love it! And for me to love something three years later, it has to be good.”
There’s more to come
Merrill’s journey to see Charlie’s Plumbing branding improve has been long, but worthwhile; however, the changes don’t stop there she is “starting new (internal) programs and looking to have those branded.”
From her comments, we see that genuine change indeed was made and knowing that the entire Charlie’s Plumbing team is pleased with our efforts, is what b.iD’s mission is all about.