Brand Bedrock: Building the Firm’s Strategic Communication Foundation

Growth has always been a theme for Benesch—a 180-attorney law firm. As an organization, the firm has a strong entrepreneurial spirit, dedication to helping clients expand their businesses and an eye for attracting top legal talent.

In 2015, with a new Managing Partner at the helm and a renewed appetite for change and growth, Benesch partnered with One North to develop a new communication platform that would help to better articulate the firm that it is today, and set a course for the organization it plans to become in the future. Working closely with both the Chief Marketing Officer and the Director of Marketing Communications, One North scoped out an engagement entitled Project Bedrock. Since the firm did not have an appetite for a long, drawn out branding process, One North proposed a succinct sprint aimed at delivering results in a well-thought-out and structured timeframe.

Exploring the Brand Attic

Project Bedrock included efforts to review the heritage of the brand, survey the competitive landscape, conduct client and stakeholder interviews, facilitate brand brainstorming sessions and synthesize secondary research for the purpose of defining the essence of the firm and building a communication platform to be used as a rallying point for employees, clients and prospects.

As part of this effort, One North conducted a Brand Attic exercise, during which the team carefully analyzed historic marketing artifacts in search of core themes, language and brand aesthetics. These elements of the brand were used as a jumping off point to plot a communication strategy that would help the firm achieve its strategic plan. A two-day offsite brainstorming session with both One North and Benesch leaders served as an opportunity to further refine narratives, align the team around objectives and, ultimately, create unique positioning, purpose and principles that would energize both internal and external audiences.

With a direction firmly in hand, One North then crafted a compelling storyline, presentation and visuals to help communicate the new direction to the Executive Committee and senior leaders at Benesch. This deliverable included messaging strategies, aesthetic changes and a comprehensive communication plan. With this strong brand foundation, clear vision and detailed plan, Benesch, in partnership with One North, is poised to execute and achieve the firm’s short and long-term goals.

In the short term, the project inspired a refresh of social and digital brand assets, as well as recruiting and pitch/proposal materials. These are the first steps in the firm’s efforts to share its reinvigorated messages.

“We’ve been through brand exercises before. All too often, they are long drawn out projects with questionable return. What I liked about our engagement with One North is that it was time boxed and fluid. They knew exactly how to get to our core themes and turn those messages into a platform that we can start using today. We also really enjoyed our two-day session in Chicago. It helped us get out of the day-to-day and start thinking more strategically. The team is a pleasure to work with.”

Jeanne Hammerstrom, Chief Marketing Officer, Benesch

Key Deliverables & Activities

  • Analyzed primary and secondary research
  • Interviewed key clients and stakeholders
  • Conducted a competitive review in order to understand market messages
  • Studied historic brand attic materials to identify the evolution of market messages
  • Facilitated a multi-day brand “deep-dive” workshop
  • Delivered The Benesch Story, strategic framework, key messaging points and launch plan

Meet the Team

Alyson Fieldman
Senior Account Director

Alyson Fieldman

Alyson is a Senior Account Director at One North, leading a cross-functional team of account managers and coordinators, developers and designers to support our clients' interactive goals. In addition to her passion for digital solutions, she loves to play Mah Jongg and go wine tasting, but not necessarily at the same time.

  • If I were a vegetable: I'd be an artichoke because it can be prickly on the outside but has a big heart.
  • Most unusual job: I worked in an orchard in high school, picking fruit.


Hannah Green
Art Director

Hannah Green

As Art Director at One North, Hannah designs thoughtful, engaging and visually stimulating digital experiences. Leveraging her collaborative partners across pillars, she delivers innovative concepts that push her clients creatively and function seamlessly across all devices and platforms. 

  • Last thing you geeked out about: My tomato plant at home finally producing purple heirlooms… only to be destroyed by a tree rat (i.e. a squirrel) shortly after.
  • Favorite Chicago spot: It’s a toss up between Wrigley Field, my apartment rooftop or anywhere that serves a great dirty martini with bleu cheese-stuffed olives.


Jen Bullett
Managing Director, Marketing

Jen Bullett

As Managing Director of Marketing, Jen Bullett provides marketing direction and strategy to promote key initiatives and thought leadership, partnering with strategy, creative and technology teams to develop and launch extraordinary digital experiences. A true supporter of the One North cat-loving culture, she prides herself in distributing adorable cat photos and humorous tales of her lovable cat, Winston, to her fellow One Northerners.

  • Favorite season: Fall is my favorite season. Probably because I used to live in Massachusetts, and it is just beautiful there in the Autumn.
  • Favorite Chicago spot: The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool hidden in the middle of Lincoln Park.


Ryan Schulz
Managing Director, Experience Design

Ryan Schulz

As Managing Director of Brand and Experience Design, Ryan Schulz is responsible for making sure clients’ true character is represented in everything his team does: messaging, brand, user experience, visual design and front-end experiences. With over 15 years in brand consulting, he helps clients break through the communication clutter that plagues the world of professional services.

  •  Favorite color: Greenish
  •  Favorite breakfast food: Breakfast tacos


Sarah Levine Meyer
Managing Director, Digital Strategy

Sarah Levine Meyer

As the Managing Director of Digital Strategy at One North, Sarah is responsible for the evolution of the Digital Strategy practice. Sarah is passionate about understanding her clients' unique business landscapes, objectives and challenges. She seeks to establish long-term goals, with connected measurement strategies, to steer optimization efforts and provide support for complex internal communications.

  • Favorite color: When I was a little kid and people asked me my favorite color, I’d say, “Rainbow.”
  • Last thing you geeked-out about: I like strategy and logic puzzles and games. A lot. I used to do LSAT questions for fun while my husband was studying for the Bar.