Horses For Courses
By Paul Newman, Founding Partner – CCO
Transforming this 125 year old brand was about helping a company find itself. (a bit of brand therapy) Houlihan Lawrence is smart with forward-thinking qualities which were completely hidden by a traditional corporate facade. We set the horses free—literally and figuratively—to express what makes them the obvious choice.
I remember when we got awarded this job and thinking there’s a reason why I chose Sotherby’s over Houlihan Lawrence to help find a house in Westchester County. Sheer dullness and stale tradition just eked up through the foundations of it’s Larchmont office bones. A sea of fading hunter green and wooden model ships in the window sill guarded the badly mounted house photos for sale. No thanks i thought to myself. 15 years on, I got the opportunity to do something about it.
The ironic thing is that the most memorable thing about the brand was completely underplayed and essentially buried. It’s the White Horse. And, the challenge was, nobody knew why it existed, how it was meant to act and what it was supposed to stand for. For us it turned out to be the key brand element that expressed our brand strategy. The Power of Leadership. So we went to work.
Step1. Lose the weather vane so we could bring it to life. Step 2. De-stiffen it and massage with gracefulness. Step 3. Give it personality with a timeless modern look.
As part of our research, we were invited to the companies Top 100 Brokers of The Year event, held in a fancy Westchester country club. We went incognito to mingle and chat with the brokers as the wine started pouring (we are quite good at this) and we met some of the most interesting and vibrant people with lovely stories. This was quite an eye opener as my vision on the drive up was that these brokers would just be extension of the Larchmont window sill of blandness. But now I Just wanted to open the windows and doors of the clubhouse to let the voice and personality of the new Houlihan Lawrence brand pour out!
Now, I’m proud when I walk passed the Larchmont office. The ships are gone, the clutter cleaned and the faded tired green is replaced with a cooler shifted hue of green to give a more modern feel. And, as i drive around now, It’s gratifying to see the brand you created pop-up on the lawns all over the county. I think it’s one of the strongest brand shifts we’ve done. I like the fact that a nuance can have such a powerful effect. You don’t have to be loud to be heard. Just be yourself.