Key Results

Ellison President, Mark Graves, started at the company as a teen, casting bronze door components in the company's forge. Less than one year after hiring LarsonO'Brien, Mark told us, "As long as I can remember, we've never been as busy as we are now.”

Background

Ellison Bronze, Inc., of Falconer, NY, manufacturers the finest commercial entry doors in the world. Their doors are built by skilled craftsmen almost entirely by hand and according to an architect's vision. Where most well-trafficked entry doors last 30 years at best, an Ellison door can endure indefinitely if reasonably maintained.

Challenge

At one time, architects knew the Ellison brand well and, throughout the 20th century, Ellison doors were widely installed throughout major U.S. cities – especially New York and Chicago. By 2010, however, Ellison sales had slowed considerably, the architects that knew Ellison well were retired, and the company's investments in marketing were no longer paying dividends.

Insight

Ellison could do a much better job of telling its story – clearly communicating its value proposition to architects. Ad campaigns from the past decade merely showed installations of their doors with little or no copy describing the door's unique attributes.

Strategic Approach

  • Three important messages would resonate with architects:
    1. Ellison doors are for the marquee entrances of important buildings. A door is the first, and sometimes only, part of a building with which an occupant comes into direct contact on a regular basis, so it should exude quality, not merely visually, but in feel – precisely what an Ellison door has in spades.
    2. As a custom-crafted product, an Ellison door allows an architect to be an architect in the truest sense. Just as Frank Lloyd Wright personally designed windows, tables, and chairs for his structures, an Ellison door is hand-crafted entirely according to an architect's vision – from the materials and finishes used, to the stiles, lights, scale, shape, decoration, and more.
    3. No entry door lasts longer. In a disposable world trying desperately to become sustainable, an Ellison door may never need to be replaced, making it the most sensible choice, despite its high initial price tag.
  • Developed an integrated marketing campaign composed of advertising, public relations, digital, and continuing education.
  • Produced a series of animations to quickly demonstrate the features and benefits of balanced doors compared to traditional doors.
  • Used the animations in an AIA CES course
  • Revamped Ellison's corporate branding, inspired by a vintage logo from the Ellison archives.
  • Wrote numerous bylined articles for several key trade publications.
  • Developed a new website, making it easier for architects to understand the key benefits of balanced doors and to specify them more creatively.
Ellison