How to advertise your plumbing business: Thos. R. Birnie & Sons Case Study

Arteest Signs Ltd.Case Studies

Van wrap with red stripe in 5Stinky corporate colours and the 5stinky logo

About Thos. R. Birnie & Sons

A family owned and operated business for over 90 years, Thos. R. Birnie & Sons has established itself as Southern Ontario’s trusted plumber, servicing customers in Hamilton and across the Golden Horseshoe. Rob Birnie, President at Thos. R. Birnie says his brand is widely recognized – “I’ve had people come to me and tell me ‘Your advertising is amazing’. Go ahead and ask anyone in Hamilton if they’ve heard of 5Stinky and they will know exactly who you’re talking about. “Looking at the company’s history, values and marketing initiatives along the years, we developed a solution plan that made Thos. R. Birnie become one of Hamilton’s most recognized plumbing companies.

Marketing challenge

In a highly competitive market, the biggest challenge was to find a sustainable way to differentiate Thos. R. Birnie from their competitors. The plumbers had always done their own marketing in-house, which led to an inconsistent image across their promotional materials. At the beginning of the project, we found the culmination of years of trying different strategies to brand the business. One of the challenges was to standardize online and offline marketing materials and to ensure that the brand is consistent across all channels.

Solution: branding consistency

The solution consisted of a comprehensive design approach that incorporated multiple components:

  • Logo design
  • Fleet graphics design
  • Stationary materials

The new brand reflected the company’s values: family, pride in their history, expertise and the upbeat attitude they have in running their daily operation. To abbreviate the long business name (Thos. R. Birnie & Sons), the tagline 5Stinky was created with a humorous intent. Soon enough, customers started remembering Thos. R. Birnie & Sons as the “5Stinky” plumbers in Hamilton.

The vehicle graphics were simplified to include only the logo, tagline and contact information. These elements were then transferred to stationary, signage, sales brochures, direct mail pieces and website. The new logo and colour pallete was also used in print advertisements and TV.

Results: a memorable brand

The fleet of “Stinky” trucks can be seen in Hamilton, Brantford, St. Catharine’s, Niagara Falls, Oakville and Mississauga. “Our brand outdid our name”, said Birnie. As a result of consistent branding, the plumbers noticed an immediate increase in brand awareness and sales. “I believe Gord raised the bar above my competition in the area. His work is clean, concise and professional. People know us.”

A special thank you to Rob Birnie, President Thos. R. Birnie & Sons.

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