Building a Brand around a
Multi-Billion Dollar Portfolio
GDS Companies had a problem common to many of our clients: they had decades of experience in the physical world, but couldn’t effectively communicate that experience in the digital world. Despite their years of experience - the CEO, Greg DeStefano, had overseen more than $3,000,000,000 in construction projects - their old website presented them as young up-and-comers, barely speaking about their achievements or the dozens of projects they had worked on. As they looked to grow and add more projects to their portfolio, they needed a brand that more accurately reflected their credibility and reliability to large capital partners. This would then enable them to start sales conversations on the right foot, and ensure that multiple stakeholders on the client side felt comfortable trusting GDS with their project.
Combine Financial and Architectural Design Patterns to Build Credibility
GDS Companies had two primary differentiation points from its competition: 1) they were “Value Added Project Managers”, who, through their financial acumen, could avoid genuinely damaging project errors, and 2) Greg, the CEO, had a background as a licensed architect, and consequently had experience on “both sides of the table”. To cement the feeling of financial responsibility and “value-add”, we borrowed design patterns from financial institutions like banks and insurance companies. To highlight Greg’s unique credentials, we needed to create a project portfolio befitting of an architect, with plenty of high resolution images and quickly-scannable project facts.
After a thorough design review of other financial and architectural websites, we put together a creative brief which outlined our aims and aspirations. We then went through an iterative design process, rapidly determining the best stylistic direction for us to head in. With our style guide in hand, we set to work developing the framework of the site while providing guidance and editing for the content GDS was assembling.
The two most essential areas of the website were the “About” page and the Portfolio. The about page had the vital job of properly positioning GDS as a small but reliable team with decades of relevant experience in multiple industries. We adamantly did not want to present them as a large company, instead opting for a design pattern and content structure which highlighted the intimate client service they’d be able to provide their clients. To humanize the business to potential stakeholders, we created a section for team bios, complete with headshots and detailed resumes.
"Collaborating with Ezra Digital was an seemless and efficient process, as they quickly got up to speed and understood our goals. Our digital presence now reflects the level of professionalism and quality our business partners have come to expect from GDS Companies. We couldn't be happier with the end product or the hands-on process Ezra Digital used to get us there."
Director of Marketing
A Brand GDS Companies Was Proud Of
- Complex organization with three interlocking business units
- GDS serves as the local partner working with a variety of capital partners for projects ranging in scale from $10.0MM to $150.0MM.
- Give people information on the types of projects they've done in the past
- Establish that GDS has loads of experience and credibility, and reliability
- Demonstrate/Promote their focus on the bottom-line. They are experts in the financial side of real estate projects
- Not: heavy on lead-gen. Soft calls to action to a contact form.
- Communicating Greg’s unique experience on both the artistic and financial side of the table: Greg comes from a real estate development + architectural background and has unique ability to translate between physical project and the economic/financial side of the project.
- “Value Add Project Manager”. Not just a number manager, but who will pay for themselves with their expertise. GDS in particular likes to get involved at the pre-design stage of the project, adding a lot of value in the Planning or Pre-Development stages. When you’re putting together the biz plan, or evaluating whether to purchase a building or not.
- Greg has personally designed 20,000 units, $3 billion worth of construction. 1,600 rooms, others from the website.
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