Not that anything was wrong with C.H Guernsey & Co.'s image, but the 84-year-old engineering-architecture-consulting firm has dusted itself off and shined itself up with a rebranding campaign — from the inside out.
There's a new logo, a new website — www.guernsey.us — and a new motto: “Realize the Difference.”
It's just Guernsey now, the “C.H” dropped — and the company's leaders think founder Charles Harold Guernsey Sr. would understand. After all, he is remembered for fostering an environment where focusing on clients and taking care of employees made for an organization flexible enough to adapt to change.
C.H. Guernsey started the company in 1928 in Cherokee — and was beset with a huge challenge the next year: the Great Depression. Guernsey managed to grow anyway, designing storm drainage and sanitary sewer systems for towns in northwest Oklahoma.
Waves of change — electric waves — came in the late 1930s-1940s with rural electrification. It was in setting up rural electric cooperatives that Guernsey made its name. The company moved to Oklahoma City in 1942.
Every decade brought something new: power engineering growth in the 1950s, telecommunications in the 1960s, architecture and construction management in the 1970s, environmental and security services in the 1980s, defense contracting in the 1990s, petroleum and petrochemical work after the turn of the millennium, as well as community planning and landscape architecture.
“Over the last 84 years, Guernsey has continued to change and evolve, which is reflected in our new brand. However one thing has remained the same: Everything we do at Guernsey centers around our clients, including this rebranding effort,” CEO Michael Moore said. “While most firms would look at their clients as part of the rebranding rollout process, we looked at them as the place to begin.”
Moore said Guernsey, which has its headquarters at 5555 N Grand Blvd., surveyed clients to get their perceptions of the company's strengths and found that its reputation rested on its strong history and approach to business.
“Both of these are reflected in our new logo, motto and website,” he said.
Guernsey explains the logo as “an homage to the company's client-focused attitude that began with its founder. ... A simple red ‘G,' the logo has three unbroken sides representing the company's three divisions — engineering, architecture and consulting. The fourth side, which features the line creating the G, symbolizes the client, who is at the center of all the company's services.”
The website, www.guernsey.us, is “fun and interactive,” Guernsey said, and focuses on the company's core areas while recalling its projects and history and explaining its employee culture.
Guernsey's 140-some employees participate in an employee stock ownership plan. The plan firms up the in-house legacy of employee care that the founder left behind, said Kent Hanebaum, senior vice president, and its comes across to clients who know Guernsey people literally have a stake in the company's reputation.
And that helps explain why the rebranding came after introspection and with transparency — involving clients rather than surprising them.
“We're still the same company we've been for 84 years, but we're not an old, worn-out, tired company,” Hanebaum said. The idea, he said, was “let's refresh ourselves in front of our clients and show that while we've been around awhile, we're changing with the times also.”
The new motto? Moore said “Realize the Difference” is meant to resonate both inside the company and among clients and potential ones.