Hal Swetnam, SVP & Chief Brand Strategist, presenting to an audience

Uniting a family: Brand refresh for Merritt Companies

Business owners and C-suite executives often come to Grafik looking to connect siloed business divisions, or to develop a more holistic expression of their company through a brand refresh. And while you might think they’re all focused on identifying strategies to operate more efficiently and competitively, that’s not always the case. Occasionally, we come across a leadership team whose top priority is integrating its workforce—a team who is as eager to unify its employees as it is to unify the business.

Merritt falls into this category. As we learned over the course of our engagement, it’s a family-owned organization where people always come first. And the fact that some employees couldn’t see how they fit in with the rest of the company drove Merritt leadership directly to Grafik for a brand refresh.

In early conversations, both the President and CEO noted that everyone—internally and externally— understood the connection between Merritt Properties and Merritt Construction Services. That part made perfect sense. And yet, very few could explain the relationship between these two companies and MerrittClubs, a business that includes nine top-rated fitness facilities.

Merritt Clubs’ 800+ fitness associates were seldom touted as part of the company’s workforce, and attempts to leverage the collective value of all three businesses had been fairly limited. We conducted interviews and roundtables with employees of all three businesses. And none of the participants from these well-established and highly successful companies could see the big picture.

Our recommended brand strategy took all this into account, underscoring the shared beliefs and values we identified in our discussions, and clearly identifying a common business philosophy. Additionally, we established a brand architecture that prominently features Merritt Companies, the parent brand we created as part of our strategic sessions.

We unveiled all this to a packed hall on a quiet Wednesday evening last month. It was an important event for the organization, because Merritt seldom gathers all employees together in one spot. We walked attendees through our process, our findings, and then, to showcase just how much they all have in common, we delivered a brand essence video—now front and center on the new Merritt Companies website. Finally, at the end of the evening, we raised the curtain on a new identity system that visually ties together all Merritt brands.

Grafik brand launch team.

For all of us, it was really rewarding to see just how quickly employees embraced the new brand. In the years I’ve been guiding companies through the branding process, I’ve had the opportunity to witness some truly amazing moments. But without a doubt, the Merritt brand launch will stick out in my mind as the night Grafik brought a family together.

Grafik brand refresh team.

The brand refresh launch event was just the start of a massive 2017 initiative to help audiences gain a fresh perspective on this powerful enterprise. With this foundation in place, Merritt is kicking off its 50th anniversary year, and positioning all three businesses—Properties, Construction Services, and Clubs—to take on new opportunities.

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