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By Jennifer Lawhead

We always say, “a strong brand solves a thousand business problems.”

When a business moves away from obsessing about bottom lines, profitability and ROI, and instead adopts a brand-centric mindset, it fundamentally changes the fabric of the business. Suddenly, financial milestones are reached; not because a CEO fixated on them, but because the quality of the brand became the top priority.

Our client, Stream Logistics, discovered this firsthand. They already had the makings of a thriving business – a team full of ambitious performers, a relentless focus on the client experience, clients who quickly became raving fans and two co-founders who grew the company from their kitchen table to a booming multi-million dollar business. But something was missing.

“Before working with Root + River, we knew our company was much more unique and impactful than the language we were using to describe it,” co-founder Carson Holmquist explained. “This disconnect made us feel as if our brand was undefined and made us hesitant to market our amazing company.”

Carson, and Co-Founder Chad Patton, began the work of becoming an intrinsic brand with a Root Session. With the team, they sharpened their own personal missions, which paved the way for them to discover how they were living these out through their business. Carson and Chad knew one of Stream Logistics’ biggest differentiators was the quality of the customer experience, and how their team helped clients innovate and expand in creative ways. It stood in stark contrast to the reputation of the transportation and logistics industry, known for stubbornly sticking to the same stale practices from decades past even though they no longer worked.

In the Root Session, after a full day of deep work and drawing on each of their personal missions, they landed on their message: We believe high standards are this industry’s next innovation.They also honed in on a category they wanted to own – concierge logistics.

“For the first time, we found the words that seemed worthy to describe how we felt about our brand and the mission we were trying to achieve,” Carson said.

Using their newfound clarity, Carson, Chad and the Root + River team rolled out the new messaging at a staff meeting with champagne to reinforce their excitement for the future. The team began using the new language immediately, which began quality conversations both internally and with their clients, about Stream Logistics. Then, all aspects of the business calibrated around the new brand, including a new website, thought leadership content and email and social campaigns.

Even new employee training and team meetings were structured around some of the beliefs and standards established in the Root Session. Standards such as “We Serve People Not Companies” and “There Are No Ceilings” became such an important part of Stream’s vocabulary that these words no adorn the office’s walls (art courtesy of Emily Soccorsy).

Since their Root Session nearly three years ago and becoming a brand-centric business, Carson and Chad say its increased sales by $8 million dollars. More importantly, Stream Logistics now has language they can use forever to talk that is rooted in what they believe and resonates with the people they want to attract.

“Without Root + River, Stream would not be the brand it is today,” Carson said.

Jennifer Lawhead has been an integral part of the Root + River team since 2016 and serves as the Root + River Chief of Story. 

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