Evolution of the brand

It’s a common commercial conundrum – you’re launching a new business… what do you call it, particularly if you’re trying to keep your own name out of the equation? Where do you look for inspiration? Fortunately for Karl Yunker, his wife Louise was an early adopter of technology.

“I know – let’s Google some words,” she said, at a time when many hadn’t even heard of the term, let alone put the life changing phenomenon to commercial use.

And so the process began – an assortment of adjectives and verbs picked, the translation applied and bingo! – Inspiration aplenty!

“Hey what about this – Pensar – ‘to think’ in Spanish?” Louise suggested in a calm, considered manner. “I like that.”

It wasn’t just the simple, easily pronounceable quality of the word that appealed. It was the relevance that ‘thinking’ had to their planned sphere of professional endeavour. Any work relating to engineering was by nature complex. It required analysis, planning, and risk assessment. You needed to be thorough and methodical. In essence, you had to think. Karl Yunker’s business would be called Pensar.

Every brand has a back story – that’s ours. It might not be terribly romantic but it’s authentic!” Louise laughs. “What we wanted to avoid at all costs was using the Yunker name. Anybody who knows Karl well, would be aware that’s not his go. His motivation has always been about doing a good job, rather than building his own profile.”

Paul McCormack, a family friend, came up with the original Pensar logo design, but over the years, the look and feel of the brand has been tweaked to reflect the broadening focus of the business.

Changing direction

The early emphasis on subdivision work, for instance, was gradually pared back, as more and more competitors entered the market and margins decreased. The business concentrated instead in the infrastructure space, pursuing larger civil projects, and in time, moved into the utilities sector, developing specialist capabilities in power and water infrastructure.

To mark the changing direction, the brand was periodically updated – the rounding of edges on the logo, a slightly more modern typeface, the changing of green to blue, new tag lines – this is the evolutionary process that brands, even the biggest and boldest, go through as they pass different checkpoints in their corporate journey.

By 2016, Pensar had become ‘The Construction Group’, with three separate divisions – Civil, Building and Utilities – sitting under the master brand. However, Karl, in conjunction with Louise, an experienced marketing professional, questioned whether the tag line was a little misleading, given the amount of large infrastructure projects the business was tendering and undertaking. Perhaps they would be better off starting afresh? Binning the Pensar name, and rebranding all together, with a name that reflected the infrastructure focus?

“We never came close to doing anything drastic,” Louise recalled. “But we agreed – we needed to do a deep dive – unpick who we were and how we were perceived in the market.”

For a completely objective view, Louise engaged the services of Allan Bonsall and Kevin Fielding, a couple of experienced, hard headed Brisbane advertising types, to garner industry perceptions and help map out the future direction. An exhaustive interview process began, with internal and external stakeholders quizzed about all aspects of the business. Questions to clients, focused on their perceptions and needs – how did they view the business, what did they want from Pensar, and how best could those services be delivered?

The early findings were telling. Under no circumstances get rid of Pensar – the brand was valued and very well regarded, even taking into account some of the odium that had spilled out from their involvement in the Moreton Bay rail project. The strength of the Pensar ‘sub brands’ also varied significantly, but more importantly, it was clear external stakeholders were not the slightest bit interested in or impressed by the mechanics of Pensar’s divisional structure. They just wanted a seamless experience – to work with one united entity that could solve their problems with minimal fuss.

“Understanding that dynamic was critically important,” Louise reflected. “We basically had to flip the business on its head in order to provide a single touch point where clients could access all of our services through one channel. “It was exciting because very few of our competitors in the mid-tier space offered the same range of services. Most only had one or two, so there was a clear competitive edge. “Pensar was now teeming with highly qualified professionals, many of them with engineering backgrounds. Additionally, practically all of Pensar’s expertise was in-house – there was very little reliance on subcontractors, which meant more control, and in turn, a better outcome for clients.”