Quarter 3 2019 | Issue No. 42 Contents:     RQ Rebranding Initiative


By: Eric Taylor

RQ is embarking on a lot of newness. A new office building in Carlsbad to accommodate our growing workload which will mean new commutes, new desks, new lunch and coffee spots, etc. Yet there is more. We have new names and new faces joining the team every month. We keep getting new business opportunities which comes with new challenges. No doubt there will be new swag coming to the RQ Store sometime soon. RQ is swimming in new. And with this edition of The Flywheel, I introduce one more something new: A new logo/mark that will come with new branding standards.

Why? A new logo? I’ll start with the macro-why and move to the micro-why. Branding (and I don’t mean just logos) is important to organizations. A brand can be summarized as “the impression(s) a group leaves on others.” And that doesn’t just mean impressions left on customers. It means impressions left on any stakeholders. And, quite frankly, it even means impressions left on non-stakeholders who just happen to stumble across anything or anyone associated with RQ. I remember talking to a subcontractor who used to hand out free t-shirts with their company name and logo on it. While watching TV they saw one of those t-shirts…a lot… on the chest of some sleazeball being arrested on the show Cops. Regardless of whether that was an employee of the subcontractor or not, “impressions” were made by viewers of the company. That didn’t escape the realization of this executive I was talking to. Needless to say, free t-shirts are no longer so freely given out by that subcontractor. An organization must both promote AND protect the impressions it gives off. It has to manage perceptions. A company can try to deceive others with such perception management, but that can’t last for the long term because branding includes anything and anyone associated with the firm and the truth of a firm’s character will eventually come out. That is why the best brands capture an accurate perception. And that is the macro-why as to why RQ is introducing a new logo/mark. We want our new logo/mark to capture an accurate perception of RQ.

So what’s the micro-why reason? To start with, the fact that we call ourselves “RQ” and not “RQC” is reason enough. Nothing like the unavoidable awkwardness in a partnering meeting when the client calls us RQC because that is what our logo suggests… while in the same meeting we call ourselves RQ. Are we RQC Construction or RQ Construction? Moreover, are we just RQ Construction? RQ has outgrown being just RQ Construction. Our client has asked for different domain names in our emails so they can distinguish who from RQ are within the architectural group and who are from our field teams. That means we have some RQ emails that end @RQArchitecture.com. And perhaps we need to add a few more domains. @RQInteriorDesign.com comes to mind. @RQLogistics or @TuggingAndBarging4RQ.com come to mind too. When you visit GTMO, you see how we could really start splintering domain names if you dug into all the self-perform groups. @RQConcrete. @RQElectrical. In North Carolina, out of necessity, we’re dabbling with something we could call @RQDrywall. But you get the point. RQ encompasses so many more services than ever before. Before buying signage for the new office building in Carlsbad, I was approached unsolicited by multiple department heads asking me, independent of each other, if we could please re-tool the logo/mark to more accurately reflect RQ.

I remember the old newsletter in Bonsall before it became The Flywheel. Editions were sporadically published and often not published at all, ergo unreliable. They were also unprofessional, mostly full of pictures of RQ folks eating at jobsites or barbecue luncheons at the office. My favorite detail (sarcasm intended) was the back page announcing that whoever finished the crossword puzzle first and called a certain extension would win a prize. What?! Everything communicates. That newsletter communicated. Whether it was accurate or not, it was something published and sent out beyond the walls of RQ. It suggested we were unreliable related to a calendar. It suggested we were good ‘ol boys who valued having a good time together above anything. Work wasn’t that important. In fact, we even gave prizes to those who could finish games during work hours. What?! That wasn’t who RQ was. But it suggested it was. It gave off an impression, and it wasn’t a good one. We weren’t managing our perception very well. We did not use our newsletter as we should have, to promote AND protect who RQ really was. Just like it was time to re-tool everything related to our newsletter all those years ago… now it is time to re-tool our logo/mark with corresponding branding standards. It is time. Our new office in Carlsbad reflects who RQ is today. Our new logo/mark will do the same.

How? How we came up with the new logo is also important. We employed Drawn, a branding agency that does this all day every day. How we came to our new logo came through Drawn’s process, a process which starts with a lot of listening. We were asked what makes RQ tick. It was actually quite open-ended, not even assuming we wanted to be unique or different. But that is exactly the answer Drawn got: We ARE trying to be unique in this industry. The majority of our work for the majority of our history has been design/build for the DoD which means the new logo/mark needs to strongly reflect design and construction and give a tribute to our federal work roots. We talked to Drawn about a bunch of industry stereotypes… all of which we want to shatter. RQ means to be classy, professional, sophisticated and smart. RQ believes genuinely caring for people and being crazy smart are the tools we need to achieve “One Team” better than any other contractor, and through “One Team” make recognizable strides towards the accomplishment of our mission to create the best built environment while being the first choice of all stakeholders. Go ahead Drawn… figure out how to reflect that. They did.

What? If a picture is worth a thousand words…help yourself to hundreds of thousands of words on the right.

Where and When? The answer to where and when branding standards will show up is easy to answer because all I really need to say is that you will be contacted. Marketing will house our branding standards which will include standard color numbers, fonts, document and presentation templates, etc. Proposal templates will get a facelift too. New safety vests, stickers for hard hats and RQ trucks, etc. will matriculate onto new jobs along with templates for sign-in sheets, etc., etc. For you Logistics guys, I’m sure you will make your own stencils for your conex boxes or else we will be happy to help. And GTMO, looks like some new paint will be in order.

Our branding is on just about everything so there is a lot to change. What I will say here is two things: 1) Don’t be too stubborn about holding onto what is now the “retro” RQ diamond logo, but please wear your old “retro” RQ swag with pride. I will! In fact, I’ve never felt nostalgic about the diamond logo until it was going away. 2) Be patient as there will be a time of old and new co-existing. That’s okay. The idea is for the new to eventually be the only game in town, but it doesn’t have to happen all at the same time, especially if it means unnecessary additional costs. Some phasing in is just fine!

So What? When I first came into the office I used to joke that I was an English major and wasn’t very good at math even if I could write great emails. I thought it was funny, but that wasn’t managing my perception very well. I took calculus, after all, so I’m no math dummy. But I’m still trying to convince George to this day that I’m not bad at math! Managing personal perception is important. How much more so is managing the perception of RQ as an organization (in which we all play a part)!

Design and sophisticated construction love curves and angles. It’s almost a way of showing off. It’s like telling the world, “90 degrees is too easy!” Our new logo/mark has curves and angles. The swoops or tails in the RQ hold the angles of the bottom of the green diamond shape we’ve had since RQ started, and the swoops running parallel reflect the various groups inside RQ that operate together in parallel. The serif font is a morphing of the old RQC font in the diamond showing continuity to the past, as do the standard color schemes (and “RQ green”) that have not changed. The eagle in the crest tells the world we are proud to be in federal work. The semblance of a castle over the eagle’s head reflects ties to the Army Corp. The curves at the bottom of the crest are part of the eagle’s wings, but many have seen how they look like waves of an ocean which is appropriate for the largest NAVFAC contractor in the world!

Whether you are counting doors, writing about doors, drawing doors, buying out doors, reviewing specs and the delivery of doors, ensuring the safety of door installation, or actually hanging the darn doors…we are RQ. We are one team. We are smart. We are proud. We work together and for each other. We are RQ! And we have a new logo/mark that says just that: We are RQ!