Cool style. Regional vibes.
The workplace as recruiting tool.

Project Profile: C.H. Robinson

No matter what sector your business is in these days, presenting your work environment as fresh and forward-thinking is vital to attracting new talent—especially recent college grads in a generation of the workforce looking for cool, modern digs where they can land a job. C.H. Robinson, a $14 billion freight company, headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, is that kind of business. With dozens of offices across the U.S. and Canada, they have a continual need to hire new, savvy talent. Keeping their workspaces up to date, stylish, and cohesive is one way to attract potential recruits.

"C.H. Robinson is a freight and logistics company, but they also see themselves as a tech company," says Tom Hungerford, Takeform's VP of Sales. “They're hiring a lot of people out of college. They want to create a cool, techy, startup feel in each of their spaces."

PROFILE DETAILS


CLIENT

C.H. Robinson

SECTOR

Shipping

LOCATION

North America – U.S. and Canada

ASSIGNMENT

Graphic and branding design standards and production for 30+ offices and counting

Until a couple years ago, C.H. Robinson found having stylishly cohesive spaces was a big challenge, because of all their far-flung offices. The company has grown weary of chasing after local and regional vendors all over the country. They wanted to go from many vendors down to one.

“They were was looking for a single partner across their entire footprint," Tom says.

That's why, following their RFP process, they chose Takeform.

“The deciding factor was our mix of design capability and the fact that we could manage all the projects across North America," Tom says.

"They needed more than a graphics or signage firm. They needed a design studio to pull off the look and feel they wanted, but the same partner who could fabricate as well." -Tom Hungerford

$14 billion freight company

An orderly project pipeline for geographic sprawl.

One of the reasons C.H. Robinson turned to Takeform for a partner was our capacity for complex logistics around project management. With potentially hundreds of office locations (typically 8,000-10,000 square feet) to outfit with graphics, they knew they'd need a partner with the know-how to keep everything rolling and in order.

Each office reaches out to its C.H. Robinson corporate brand office when they need to update their space with new graphics. The brand office puts the office's general manager in direct contact with Takeform, and we'll work with them to determine the parameters—and connect the office with the Takeform design team to render it out, then produce and install.

“The design process with each branch starts with a kickoff call after the client has reviewed the catalog," says Jessica Gates, a designer at Takeform. “We talk about what they like or don't like. From there, I take that feedback and start generating concept renderings. I start to flesh out multiple design concepts for them."

“After that, we provide a conceptual rendering, then a follow-up call to get their feedback, then provide revised documents and a quote," says Christian Johnson, Takeform Account Manager.

That's when the design fun begins.

A balance between brand consistency and regional freedom.

After design approval, the clockwork process continues. Takeform sends out a physical sample for the client to review—right down to the level of opacity in a frosted window film. Takeform will send a certified installer to the site to check for any potential snags, like wall irregularities or electrical outlets. Then it's on to production, shipment, and installation.

“It's a very clean process—it gets more streamlined the more branches we work with," Christian says.

The brand standards have been specifically designed to allow each office enough freedom to customize their look to reflect their local flavor, whether it's their landscape, landmarks, or cultural events.

Not every office is sure what their look should be – which is okay.

“You have branches that know exactly what they want," adds Christian. “Then they have branches that send us their floor plan, and they want recommendations, and we'll tailor it to their space."

An online catalog keeps things moving—consistently.

When the relationship began, Takeform wasn't working from a catalog. But as they've completed dozens of spaces for C.H. Robinson, they've steadily built a catalog of standard pieces available, so offices can see certain renderings immediately.

“We've created this growing catalog of things they can choose from that makes the work efficient and consistent," Christian says.

Which means, with each new branch Takeform works with, the client is a little more ahead of the game.

And ultimately, ahead of the recruiting game, too.

"Every project has design work to it, we have a catalog, but we tailor the work to each branch. The cool thing about each branch is that each can implement a local feel that still reflects the C.H. Robinson brand." – Jessica Gates, Experiential Designer

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Download this project profile to share: C.H. Robinson Project Profile Book

Posted in: ADA, Project Management, Project Profiles, Wayfinding  |  Tagged: Brand, Environmental Graphics, Experiential Graphics, Signage, Vivid, Wayfinding

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