Building blocks to brand a building




Building blocks to brand a building

Posted By: Ben McCoy
Posted In: Branding, BT Case Studies

Bicycle Theory recently helped The Cornerstone Group conduct a targeted campaign to help inform the completion and marketing of one it’s new building projects.

The Cornerstone Group is a leading real estate development company in the Twin Cities. They put a strong focus on sustainability, community building, and connecting people with the world around them.

Funding for this project was provided by a Metropolitan Council grant that is intended to help plan development around the new light rail transit station.


Project Overview

The Cornerstone Group (TCG) was looking for help with brand development for one of their new building projects. They needed to create an identity for this new development, but first they wanted to collect public input on their plans.

Unfortunately, the bid to conduct a focus group by a big agency in town was far beyond their price range, so Bicycle Theory (BT) suggested that they collaborate with The Cornerstone Group to identify key target audiences, solicit their input, and summarize the results.



The goal was to collect public input from key target audiences. And in particular, TCG wanted to conduct a focus group that could be supplemented by online surveys. Or, in jargon:

Our objective was to develop, coordinate, and execute a multi-faceted information gathering campaign that targeted key demographics, created a comfortable and seamless experience for participants, and resulted in tangible data that could be used to inform project stakeholders about the best next steps – including those charged with developing a brand identity to help market the actual development.

To meet this challenge, TCG and BT needed to identify those groups, develop a campaign to reach them, and figure out what tools and other resources were available to manage everything on a limited budget.



To identify target audiences, TCG lent their expertise and knowledge about the area and expected demographics. And later, they leveraged their connections to help spread the word within those communities to help build our mailing lists.

Logistically, BT suggested and set-up a Constant Contact account so that they and TCG could centrally create and manage mailing lists, event landing pages and registration, HTML email messages, and online surveys.


Key Tasks

Of its many responsibilities, BT’s key tasks included the following items.

(1) Digital Assets – BT was task to take a lead role in designing and managing digital assets, including:

  • Event landing pages and registration
  • HTML emails – including invitations and reminders
  • Online surveys

(2) Focus Group Planning – BT was also charged with developing a focus group plan and format that accounted for the following variables.

  • Could be refined with feedback from TCG and the focus group moderators.
  • Would result in an enjoyable experience that engaged all personality types and kept participants on their toes.

(3) Focus Group Moderators BT was tasked with finding, hiring, and training focus group moderators that would be impartial, could effectively manage people and time, and also lend professional expertise related to the project to help facilitate the conversation between TCG and the participants.

(4) Focus Group Execution – And most importantly, BT was put in charge of planning and executing the actual focus group sessions, including the following tasks.

  • Location scouting and space planning
  • Resource management and coordination
  • Creating the needed collateral materials – including everything thing from name tags and event signage to moderators guides and participant handouts.
  • Event set-up and tear down


The Participant Experience

Each participant was asked to complete 2 online surveys attend a focus group session. In exchange, each participant would receive a personal reward.

(1) Solicitation – To solicit participants, BT used the Constant Contact platform to create a landing page that would allow participants to register. BT also created an HTML email invitation that TCG used to reach out to their key contacts that then helped spread the word from there. And as participants signed up, BT helped TCG create and manage the audience-based mailing lists that would be used for survey targeting.

(2) Surveys – Once the focus group lists had reached their respective capacities, BT and TCG created and distributed ‘pre’ and ‘post’ focus group surveys. And leading up to the focus groups, BT helped TCG create and send emails with the upcoming event details and to reminding them of the need to complete both surveys in order to claim their reward.

(3) Focus Groups – Thanks to some clever coordination, BT and TCG were able to conduct all of the focus group sessions at the same time. And better still, at a location that was adjacent to the actual development site.

The format included a large group introduction by TCG before breaking out into smaller focus groups – each representing a distinct target audience. And these small group sessions included a variety of activities to keep participants engaged – including recorded group conversations, individual response exercises, and communal activities.



Overall, the project was a big success. Participants and stakeholders alike both reported great satisfaction with the experience. And the feedback received will help inform next steps for the project and brand alike.

In fact TCG was very complimentary of BT’s services, execution, and ability to collaborate with TCG employees to coordinate, guide, and execute the entire campaign in a fun and professional manner.


Next Steps

Bicycle Theory’s next task is to regroup with TCG staff members and other project stakeholders to define and execute a visual brand identity for the project that can be applied to the marketing materials they’ll need to start selling units once the final development is defined and ready to break ground.


Bicycle Theory Logo


Bicycle Theory is a brand marketing company located in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, MN. Bicycle Theory provides strategic and tactical brand marketing services, including Web design and development, Internet marketing, brand strategy, and identity building.

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