Over 100 years ago, Kingston was literally the brickmaking capital of the world; Hudson Valley One reported that brickyards by the Hudson River were pumping out over a billion bricks a year. The industry seemingly dried up locally in the 1970s, until Kingston Block & Masonry came along.
Kingston Block & Masonry produces sustainable concrete bricks and blocks from their location on Route 9W in the Town of Ulster. What makes them sustainable is that 30% of the cement aggregate used to produce bricks is produced using post-consumer glass that is recovered from local landfills, and that 30% equals a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions needed to produce a block. Their products are used in major LEED-friendly building projects across the Northeastern United States, including in many affordable housing projects in New York City.
Another impressive client was the new Yankee Stadium built in 2009; it’s said that 666,000 glass bottles were used to produce 1.4 million blocks that were used in the construction of the stadium.
With a new ownership group coming on in 2016 with ambitious goals for growth, it was time to overhaul their digital and traditional marketing.
Kingston Block & Masonry’s website and marketing materials may have been adequate in 2011, but in today’s world, they were not getting the job done. Fundamentally, the company wasn’t communicating its story and value across any of its platforms, and its salesforce had few tools in their arsenal to help them do their jobs.
New ownership group meant that the company was experiencing a lot of changes, and it needed help to ensure that what makes the company special wouldn’t get lost in the shuffle. They needed a marketing partner that could respond to their day-to-day challenges, but could also build things that can provide value over time. That meant, in the short-term, making things like business cards, truck graphics, sample boards, and other collateral, but also longer-term projects like a website and a digital product catalog.
We took stock of KB&M’s existing websites and collateral, interviewed stakeholders and looked at competitor websites as inputs to creating a streamlined responsive website that serves many purposes for the company. Instead of spreading information across dozens of shallow pages, we made each page flow in a long-scrolling, visual format that makes it easier to rank for SEO keywords and provides a better user experience. For people just hearing about KB&M for the first time, it provides a strong impression about the brand, showing why the company exists and what differentiates it from other companies. For architects and decision-makers researching many different architectural materials, information is easy to find and the next steps for contacting a sales representative are clear.
After a strong foundation was created for the site, we later added on an interactive product catalog that shows every possible variation of their materials, with a clear call to action for requesting more information in the form of a sample kit. We partnered with Akemi Hiatt from Hidden Gears for the product photography.
The key to driving long-term business results with a website is content. While KB&M already had a decent backlink profile as a result of being in the press quite a bit 5-6 years ago, it needed strong new content that could be shared in social media news feeds and stand out in search engine results pages. After covering all of the basic needs of their initial website, we decided that writing interesting case studies that combine insights from architects, builders and masonry professionals with beautiful photography would drive the best results.
At press time, they’re ranking on the front page of Google for competitive search terms like “concrete block suppliers,” “concrete block manufacturers,” and “concrete masonry supply.”
While we didn’t rebrand KB&M, we did articulate a refreshed visual style in creating their website. We soon applied that to collateral: for business cards, we designed new thick business cards, printed locally by our client THikit. We also collaborated with third party vendors to create new truck graphics, trade booth designs, sample boxes and sample boards, all with a unified visual identity and incorporating visual elements from the website.