Clear, concise, consistent and compelling stories.

a5 is a branding and digital consultancy that tells client stories in a clear, concise, consistent and compelling manner – to get results.

We begin by listening. Asking questions. Understanding your market and the competitive landscape. By offering recommendations and solutions. And telling your story – powerfully.

a5 offers broad and deep experience working with the public and private sector to tell compelling stories and generate results. Our clients include economic development organizations, communities and municipalities, park districts, arts & cultural organizations, planning, architects and landscape architects, engineering firms, financial services, healthcare and non-profits.

 

 
$10,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2001
Show all +
Chicago, IL
headquarters
  • a5 Branding & Digital
    1 North La Salle 47th Floor
    Chicago, IL 60602
    United States
    312.706.2525

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Chicago Park District
Chicago Children’s Museum
Chicago Park District
Field Museum
Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance
National Museum Of The American Sailor Foundation
Visit Oak Park
Wonder Works Children’s Museum
Mariani Landscape
NYSE Euronext
OCC
Downtown Oak Park
Village of Oak Park, Illinois
City of Woodstock, Illinois
City of Charlevoix, Michigan

 

Reviews

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Branding & Design For Civil Engineering Company

"They've done an excellent job and have been a blessing to our firm."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
July 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

a5 provided extensive rebranding, creating an image-heavy site to emphasize human relationships. They created a range of marketing materials, including email templates, business cards, and trade show pop ups.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Alesha Shaw
Marketing Manager, Klein and Hoffman
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Website traffic and social media engagement has increased dramatically. Their organizational skills and creative solutions led to comprehensive branding improvements that allow deeper engagement with clients.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm a marketing manager at Klein and Hoffman. We’ve been in business since 1953 and provide architectural restoration and structural engineering services.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with a5?

We hired them to conduct client research to better gauge our position in the marketplace. They used this data to completely rebrand our firm’s identity and redesign our website, with a specific focus on highlighting our long-standing client relationships, experience in the industry, talented employees and excellent service.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They interviewed our clients to better understand our image, seeking opinions about our company website, and logo. The results of this research were shown to our executive leadership, and determined that we needed a complete refresh to our overall identity to better reflect who we are and what we do.

They used WordPress to create a new website that implements a highly visual design. Architectural firms websites often come across as cold, so we decided to emphasize relationships and team building by including photos of actual people. When you visit our new site, you’ll see the faces of our staff and clients.

We also used the site’s homepage to highlight our current projects and related news. We have offices in both Chicago and Philadelphia, and I consistently update the site to underscore all of the ways we’re active in both of these communities.

Any visitor viewing our online portfolio can apply a range of filters to narrow results to specific sectors or structure types. We recently added a building inspections page that allows users to determine whether their building is up to code.

In addition to the website, a5 used Campaign Monitor to develop custom newsletter and advertisement templates. Additionally, they redesigned our proposal, case study, and résumé templates.

While our company had existing brochures, a5 created a new pamphlet with a focus on visuals and simple, effective messaging. They designed new business cards that incorporate the three colors in our logo, as well as pop up banners for trade shows.

How did you come to work with a5?

I searched Google for local branding agencies and sent RFPs to a handful, but a5’s talented team left the strongest impression. Taylee Pardi [former Account Manager, a5] was very organized. Fletcher [Martin, Creative Director, a5] and John [Harris, Principal, a5] both insightful and very creative, brought PR experience to help us develop articles and extract meaningful content to promote across all of our platforms.

Once we looked at their website and realized they’ve worked with other clients from our industry, it was really a no-brainer.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent approximately $57,000, with the website being the largest expense.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in July 2016 and our relationship is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Based on data from Google Analytics and WordPress, our website has seen a dramatic increase in traffic, including our Careers page. We also have more engagement with our Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.

How did a5 perform from a project management standpoint?

For the website development, they met with us to determine our priorities and then provided weekly development updates while coordinating with our internal team.

Taylee, in particular, was very good about sending emails and scheduling meetings, whether it was in-person or over the phone. They really stayed on top of the project and sent me reminders if anything was lagging on my end. They’ve become an extension of my marketing team, and have helped me tremendously.

What did you find most impressive about them?

When I first came to this firm, I was adamant about the need for a new website and branding. While my superiors were initially resistant, they’ve been very impressed by the work a5 has provided. I’ve even heard some colleagues say they’re “in love.”

a5 is creative and confident in their abilities. When we first started the visual branding phase, I joked about our image being stuck in the 1980s – to which they agreed; but now, they’ve updated our look for 2017 and beyond.

Are there any areas they could improve?

They've done an excellent job and have been a great asset to our firm.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

They’ll put in the work to understand your company and provide you with a range of options. Their strategic and creative approach to different branding elements is unmatched.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Web Design For Environmental Energy Company

"They have a keen ability to adapt and immerse themselves in any industry..."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
June 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

a5 provided in-depth rebranding efforts. They redesigned the company website using WordPress and provided SEO services, and coordinated these design efforts across multiple marketing materials.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Dublin, Ohio
John Szymanski
Director of Marketing, Hull & Associates
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Their ability to immerse themselves in the subject matter gives them a keen sense of branding needs. The website’s improved navigation helps effectively convey messaging, and their logo design has received positive feedback. They’re very communicative and always meet deadlines.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm the director of marketing with Hull and Associates, an environmental energy infrastructure engineering company in Dublin, Ohio.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with a5 Branding & Digital?

We wanted to completely overhaul our company’s image by updating our website and coordinating messaging across all related marketing materials, including brochures, business cards, and logo design.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

a5 took the time to understand our industry to ensure their designs accurately appealed to our target audience of engineers. They then presented us with three distinct strategic directions, each with its own value. We chose the one that worked best for our specific needs.

From here, they built a new website using WordPress and provided SEO. The site is responsive, easy to navigate, and has a design that coordinates with the other marketing materials a5 is currently updating. They’ve redesigned our company brochures and vehicle logos and are currently working on a number of similar projects, including an ad campaign and conference displays.

They also provided email support and associated marketing assistance to support the new rollout.

What is the team dynamic?

a5 makes you feel like their entire company has your back. I have close working relationships with John Harris [President, a5], Fletcher Martin [Creative Director, a5], and a number of others. Everyone on their team is available as necessary.

How did you come to work with a5 Branding & Digital?

I worked with them through a previous company and had nothing but positive experiences. I reached out to them and a few other agencies, and a5’s RFP contained a detailed, realistic outline with less fluff than the others. I was already onboard, but their proposal solidified them with our company’s owners.

How much have you invested with them?

The total will be between $50,000–$75,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in June 2017 and our relationship is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We’re still going through the new rollout, so not all the mechanisms are in place yet. However, we have received excellent feedback on the vehicle logo, with customers saying it looks crisp and professional.

After working with a5 at my previous company, we saw a 6–7% increase in sales in my division, on top of a 14% increase in new leads. I fully expect a similar outcome once our current project is complete.

How did a5 Branding & Digital perform from a project management standpoint?

They present a detailed timeline and stick to those deadlines. They’re great about communication and accessibility, as I’m constantly able to communicate with multiple levels of their team, and they’re highly responsive to any problems that may arise.

Their project management skills have been excellent and make my job so much easier, which is the kind of partnership people in my position look for.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They have a keen ability to adapt and immerse themselves in any industry, as the materials they provided for my previous company were entirely different than our current project. Even within our general field, they’re able to understand the nuances of specific departments, be it environmental monitoring, stream restoration, or civil projects. Coordinating these diverse topics under a single messaging strategy is no easy task, but they were able to hone in very quickly.

They’ve offered a number of excellent recommendations, and their creative process is rewarding and straightforward.

Are there any areas they could improve?

They’re a wonderful company and I’d love to see them grow so they can take on more tasks. On the other hand, I would hate to see them lose the hands-on approach that is the hallmark of their company.

5.0
Overall Score They're tremendously intelligent, intuitive, honest and a pleasure to deal with on every level.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They provide constant updates and meet their deadlines.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They're competitive and flexible on rates.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Their creative abilities are exceptional.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I've unhesitatingly referred them to a number of companies.

Branding & Advertising For City Government

“They’re a tremendous resource, and I can’t say enough positive things about them.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
May 2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

a5 led a branding initiative, which included logo and color scheme creation, and also produced a marketing campaign. They currently assist with Google, Facebook, Pandora, and print advertising.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Woodstock, Illinois
Mike Turner
Member of City Council, Woodstock, Illinois
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Facebook followers have increased from 0 to 6,000, and website traffic also boasts positive metrics. a5’s marketing campaign won a best-in-class award due to their creative, reactive, and inventive service. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm a member of the city council of Woodstock, Illinois.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with a5?

We were looking to do a citywide branding and marketing effort to profile things about our city, including tourism, retail, commercial, etc. We wanted to find a marketing company that we could outsource everything to, including brand development and marketing activities via social media and prints. a5 became the team that provides this work for us.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

There’s an oversight group of 5 volunteers who formed a board and are responsible for driving the direction and initiatives around what we’re doing.

They created our entire branding and marketing initiative from scratch, and it’s been highly successful for us. We have a budget, so we discuss with them how the funds should be used for online outreach. They’ve helped us with Google, Facebook, Pandora, brochures, and print advertisements in local and regional media, as well as our ads on the local commuter railway.

How did you come to work with a5?

They were known to one of the board members who oversees this effort. They referred them to us and to our finalist meeting.

How much have you invested with them?

We spend $200,000 per year.

What is the status of this engagement?

We've been working with them since May 2015, and the relationship is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We went from 0 to 6,000 followers on our Real Woodstock Facebook page, and the number of people visiting the website is also increasing. The entire Real Woodstock campaign was recognized by the Illinois Department of Tourism as one of the best in class award winners at their recent meeting in March.

How did a5 perform from a project management standpoint?

They were exceptional. They were good at keeping deadlines, communicating, and being responsive to us when we needed them.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They’re creative, reactive, and inventive. They’re a great partner who has good insight into nonprofits and municipal or government entities. We’ve experienced the same service that earned them their great track record. They’re a tremendous resource, and I can’t say enough positive things about them.

Do you have any advice for potential clients of a5?

We came in without any real background, but a5 picked everything up, did the work, and guided us along the way with options and ideas. a5 will work with both inexperienced and experienced clients, no matter what stage they’re at.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer