The media kit for Borrelli Design and Cabinetry is itself an example of high design. The cover is cut along a gently curving line, and the kit opens to reveal business cards and press releases, as well as a disc loaded with images. The piece is just one element of a comprehensive rebranding effort the company undertook in 2006, and an example of what a strong brand identity can do for a company.
Borrelli Design and Cabinetry was born from the fusion of two operations — custom cabinet shop Borrelli Cabinetry and Park Boulevard Artworks, an interior design business — that might as well have been one company though they had different names. Both were owned by Michael Borrelli. The two companies worked together so closely, sharing staff and resources, that clients, vendors, and even employees had trouble figuring out which company was which. Also problematic was that Park Boulevard Artworks shared a name with Borrelli's 20,000-square-foot building, which houses architects and artisans as well as the cabinet company.
“It became really confusing for everyone,” designer Rebecca Flynn says. “So we decided that since it already is essentially one company, let's just bring it all under one name.”
Borrelli first brought his staff together to brainstorm and collectively determine what image the newly united company should present to the world. Then he brought in Web designer and marketing consultant Lois Harrington, who helped shape those loose ideas into one unified brand.
“I'm Italian, and we wanted to capitalize on that heritage and communicate our affinity for contemporary European design, so we took that name and gave it a mark,” Borrelli says. “We wanted it to be very contemporary and to reflect forward-thinking in cabinetry and furniture.”
BRAND CENTERPIECE The core of the brand, Borrelli says, is the company's aesthetic, which draws from contemporary European design and features, clean lines, and stellar craftsmanship. Once the company's name was in place, Harrington created a Web site (www.borrellidesign.com) that embodies these ideas with its simple design, restrained use of text, and small, unobtrusive font. The site also showcases the company's work in an extensive and easily navigable photo archive.
“Our designs are very clean, so we wanted a very clean look for the site,” Flynn says. “And we wanted the experience of navigating the Web site to be the same way and have the same feel — to be very easy to use and not overwhelming.”
Harrington designed the site to be the centerpiece of a comprehensive brand-promotion campaign that also includes a newsletter, direct-mail pieces, the media kit, and, coming soon, print ads. All of these pieces feature visual motifs that echo those found on the site, including the Borrelli logo, an elliptical crimson shape (as on the media kit). Most important, every marketing piece heavily promotes the Web site.
“The whole marketing campaign is centered around getting people to the site,” Borrelli says.
MORE THAN WORTH IT The entire rebranding effort cost in the neighborhood of $75,000, but has so far, Borrelli says, proved to be worth every cent. The Web site provides instant credibility, he says, selling prospective clients on the company before they even walk in the door. The media kits, too, have helped the company gain increased exposure, allowing it to more easily enter design contests and get in front of home and lifestyle editors at magazines such as Décor & Style, and San Diego Home.
Another key element of the campaign is a series of professional black-and-white photographs of each member of Borrelli's staff. The photographs, which cost more than $4,000 to produce, appear on the company's Web site and in its direct-mail pieces, and are intended to add a personal quality to the brand, for which craftsmanship is a central theme.
Though expensive, the day-long photo shoot was, Borrelli says, “the best thing I've ever done for the morale of my company. Everyone was excited and proud to be part of the company.”
In the end, he says, that sense of cohesion among the staff has been as important as any benefit the branding campaign has produced. And the effort has been a huge motivator, creating a sense among the staff that the company is ready for big things.
“It was time to evolve,” Borrelli says, “and this helped coalesce everybody in the company and gave us a driving direction; it gave everybody the sense that we're something, we produce a great product, and we can get our name out to the world.”