New: Logo; positioning & attitude
Launched: February 17, 2012
Story in brief:
In 1909, it was one guy with a mop and a bucket; today, it's
100,000 employees in fifteen countries, generating $4 billion. In
1994, having added security services, parking, energy management
and engineering services to its heritage base,
janitorial service for office and other institutional
buildings, and having outgrown "American," it exchanged
"American Building Maintenance" for "ABM Industries"
and now, simply "ABM."
To an already chaotic portfolio of acquired brands, in 2010 ABM
added Linc Group, greatly expanding ABM's physical footprint and
service range in technical building services and energy solutions, in particular. "Linc
was transformative, a game-changer for ABM" says Brett Knox, now
ABM's SVP Marketing. Knox came with Linc and together with his
boss, Linc's CEO Tracy Price, made the case to ABM CEO Henrik
Slipsager to consider rebranding, to project "a new ABM," and more
importantly to unite all divisions, subdivisions and acquisitions (Linc
included) into one defining brand, "One ABM."
This idea fell on fertile soil. For several years, Slipsager and
his board had talked about rebranding; they now welcomed action, and
charged Knox to manage the process. Given the okay "to find an
alternative logo," Knox sent an RFQ to "a number of agencies or
specialists across the country." Three firms were then commissioned
to develop logo concepts, including the Irvine,
California-based RiechesBaird and the team of Joe Finocchiaro and
Jerry Kuyper, who had collaborated on the
rebranding. "We were impressed by RiechesBaird as strategists" said
Knox, "and happily they agreed to sign on for that, and to design
the logo applications. But we chose Joe and Jerry's logo," which
puts ABM's people at the heart of its identity. Executive team
approval was unanimous and immediate ; CEO Slipsager's only question
was "What do I need to do to support this?"
"As you know" says Knox, "it's the repositioning that
matters, more than the new logo; the logo change just makes it an
event. It signals the rebirth of a 103-year-old company, to become
the global leader in integrated facility solutions."
In designing the visual applications, RiechesBaird added a
circular "collaboration icon;" you can see it in the
launch film on ABM's "Our
New Brand" page, which emphasizes the "One ABM" story.
C.E.O. - Henrik Slipsager
C.M.O. - Tracy Price, EVP and Brett Knox, SVP Marketing
Identity design -
Joe Finocchiaro and
Applications design -
Kuyper and Finocchiaro
Strategy: This is classic unification
branding – to integrate
acquisitions, build collective pride and facilitate cross selling.
It is the kind of rebranding event that should (but seldom does)
Design: If you are stuck with initials, best
to give them strong personality – in
this case, literally. These soft-shouldered letterforms set up
an engaging surprise, when they morph into soft shoulders.
On October 23, when the ABM rebranding was celebrated at the
New York Stock Exchange closing-bell ceremony, designers Kuyper
and Finocchiaro were invited to participate -- rare and welcome
Corporate Brand Matrix ratings:
structural, 100% strategic, 0% functional (est.)
Earlier, it was...
CEO Henrik Slipsager