Every once in a while, a certain kind of client comes along. A client you have a personal affinity for will make its way into your agency’s world, and you find yourself chomping at the bit to sink your creative teeth into that brand…to give it exactly the kind of sizzle you know it needs.
In 2011, Clayco approached Geile/Leon with a need to update their company website. And when they tasked G/L with designing and developing one, I was intrigued at the opportunity. I was familiar with the Clayco brand and knew that they were one of the nation’s top design-build firms. But even more so, I love their business. They build some absolutely incredible structures — hospitals, factories, office buildings, residential towers, you name it … Clayco designs and builds it. More importantly, they do it unlike any design-build firm in the country.
For me, Clayco goes even deeper than that — there is something about architecture that has always struck a chord. It ignites something inside me, a curiosity, a sense of wonder and excitement at its pure grandeur. For as long as I can remember, I have marveled at buildings, large and small, and I’ve felt inspired by the spaces they shape and create. As a creative director I’d like to think I have an appreciation for all arts, but it’s the science and engineering behind the art of architecture that puts it on a higher level. Needless to say, when this opportunity with Clayco came around, I couldn’t wait to get started.
The task presented seemed simple enough. But as our team dug into the Clayco brand, it soon became obvious that there was an opportunity to go deeper … to go beyond the stated scope of work and really elevate the Clayco brand to a higher level. How did we do that? The same way we do it for all our clients. We looked beyond the surface to “Find the Why” — to find the driving force behind the Clayco brand. What we found was a company of greater vision and purpose, a design-build firm that approached each development in a unique fashion. Clayco doesn’t just build; they create. They do it with a holistic, intelligent balance of art and science that is replicated nowhere else. Why? Because it can’t be. They view structures through the eyes of their owners. They don’t see buildings; they see centers of healing, technology, science, research, manufacturing, entertainment and progress. They are the builders of people’s lives — because without people, buildings are without purpose. By tearing down obstacles, Clayco builds powerful structures. And they replace those obstacles with solutions that reach far beyond the walls of the structures they create.
Great work requires great clients — clients with the vision and drive to push agencies to create the highest level of work they are capable of. We shared Clayco’s vision by taking a website refresh project and building it into a fully integrated strategic branding platform that, in the end, helps Clayco better market their services. A year after completing the Clayco “Beyond These Walls” project, I see and feel the impact of the work G/L developed in the community every day. I drive by the Missouri Baptist Hospital expansion project on my way into work, and when my daughter was born there last February I saw firsthand the scope of inspirational work done by Clayco. The hospital site is full of signage, trucks and banners that carry the brand elements G/L created. I go to Cardinal’s games and see the incredible transformation of Cupples Station—from an abandoned warehouse to state-of-the-art office space. All while clad in the “Beyond These Walls” iconic graphics. I see the new St. Louis University Law School building downtown undergoing a complete renovation to become a center of higher learning; it’s exterior facade banners bearing the same message. Seeing all of these monuments of progress happening within the community I live in humbles me and makes me proud of the brand architecture we built for our design-build client.
At G/L, we have a mantra of our own that aligns with “Beyond These Walls.” Here, “Make It Mean Something” drives us. We make it our purpose to find our client’s “why” — that secret sauce that gives greater meaning to their products and services. Those four little words capture a mindset and focus that keeps our client’s best interest above all else, and fuels our desire to make every interaction, relationship and piece of work mean something.