The GDS Companies Project Overview

GDS Companies is a team of professionals which handles design, project management and development industry. GDS oversees development projects to ensure the integrity of the project, while maintaining construction schedules and costs, minimizing potential risk for the owner or equity stakeholders. They've built residential projects from 20 to 600 units, sophisticated hotel designs in challenging markets, and master planning for multi-use projects all across the country.

Key Problems

  • Despite their years of experience - the GDS Companies 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 Companies with their project.
  • GDS Companies had a site which had a similar look and feel to all of the competitors in their space and it was difficult for users to understand how they were different. However, in reality the fact that the team had a depth of financial acumen and Greg, the CEO, had background as a licensed architect so had experiences on "both sides of the table"

Our Approach

  • 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.
  • 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.

How we helped

User Research

Through a series of collaborative human-centered-design exercises, we got a deep understanding of the visitors' background, motivations, and pain points.

Content Strategy

We helped ensure the website had an authentic voice which was clear and consistent throughout the site. The sitemap was constructed to ensure no pages were more than a few clicks away.

Design

We created a sleek, modern design aesthetic which was tailored to help achieves the business objectives aligned on during the beginning of the project.

Development

The site was built with mobile responsiveness in mind so there is no diminishment of the user experience regardless of device or browser. We leveraged HTML5, CSS3, Javascript, and JQuery and built this on top of the WordPress CMS to ensure it is seamless to update content.

Support

After launch, we provided all the tools and tutorials needed to maintain the website, but we have helped out with analytics tracking, security monitoring, and adding new pages.

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.

Mindy Meade

Director of Marketing