February 1, 2023

Kinship: How Two Complementary Companies Came Together

When commercial door distributor Contract Hardware and manufacturer Evergreen Construction Specialties merged, both companies knew that alignment—a clear shared vision and belief—was key. They knew that joining together would scale their business, provide customers a one-stop shop, and also offer employees more opportunity for growth. 

It was the right thing to do, especially at a time when they saw big, publicly owned companies buying up smaller ones in their industry. 

But they needed some help unearthing their shared belief and brand and then sharing the news and transition with their respective teams. 

That’s where Belief Agency stepped in. Even though we weren’t starting completely from scratch, both Contract Hardware and Evergreen Construction Specialities had established brands, the situation didn’t call for a rebrand but the creation of a completely new brand, including name, purpose, tagline, voice, logo, and colors, while still weaving in elements of both original companies. 

Coming together

In true Belief Agency fashion, we began by identifying the two companies’ core beliefs through the Belief Process. What do both companies have in common? What is at the heart of who they are as they became one company—and how will that translate to a new, shared name and identity? 

Through the process, we uncovered that both sides believed that relationships are everything. Expanding on that, we determined that the linchpin of Contract Hardware and Evergreen Construction Specialities’ business is in building something you can’t always see: a safe space for honest people to create relationships that thrive. The most important thing they had to offer wasn’t what they did, but how they did it and who they did it for. Jobs start and finish, companies change and grow, contracts are won and lost. But relationships...relationships are everything.

Starting anew

Once you know who you are, the next step is to figure out how that translates to your brand. We kept going back to the shared belief and purpose to agree on the new company name: Kinship. The word “kinship” refers to the relationship between people based on certain qualities—tying into the brand’s belief—and also means connection—a subtle yet fitting nod to the brands’ business in doors and hardware. 

Visually, we represented Kinship’s work with a subtle joint in the brand’s logo while incorporating a brand color suite that honored elements of each company’s previous aesthetic. Kinship’s look needed to be fresh and unified, but we also didn’t want customers, and especially employees, to feel like they had no connection to this new brand. It’s all about relationships, after all. 

We also established Kinship’s core heroes—The Contractor, The Employee, and The End User—identifying their goals and the obstacles standing in their way. 

Bringing everyone along for the ride

Creating the Kinship brand required a unique element not usually needed when building a new brand or rebranding—Kinship didn’t need to just share its story with customers. It had to bring its existing clients, vendors, and teams that were used to working for different companies into the fold and get them onboard.  

With the understanding of who Kinship was plus the challenges its employees and customers faced, we applied the belief that “relationships are everything” to every decision and announcement. In Kinship’s Marketing Playbook, we provided a framework and tools for rolling out the brand to its heroes, along with tailored suggestions for how Kinship could continue to serve them and build relationships.

For example, The Employee wanted to feel useful and informed, so transparency was crucial. We also prioritized education, arming The Employee with knowledge. 

Belief helped the Kinship leadership team create structured materials, including videos, to announce the merger to their teams and share how the two companies’ common values, shared belief, and purpose would come together. These included explaining the benefits of merging businesses and outlining a visible roll-out plan with clear phases, timelines, and roles. We also worked to create public-facing information and resources. The internal announcement lined up with a completed brand suite, new website landing page, and branded Kinship merchandise to further enforce the brand’s visual identity and signal to employees that they were part of the blended team.  

We build brands by telling true stories—whether you’re just starting out, ready for a brand refresh, or a combination of the two. 

True stories work. Let's work together:

Make your truth known

Learn more