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From naval architect to design and engineering consultancy: Houlder repositions to better support the energy transition

Brand repositioning plus integrated multi-channel communications programme supports Houlder’s gear change

The Impact

  • A refreshed brand identity, website, service portfolio and brand assets
  • Driving thought leadership in maritime decarbonisation
  • SEO: Web traffic up 32%, linking domain up 30%, 41 keywords ranking on page 1 of Google


Houlder, specialists in engineering design, clean technology and technical consultancy for the marine and offshore environments, helps clients meet the challenges of the low carbon energy transition, improving vessel efficiency through clean technology and automation, and building the infrastructure for renewable energy.

The Challenge

When BLUE started working with Houlder in 2019, the company wanted to increase its brand visibility in its two core areas of focus; vessel decarbonisation and the energy transition (including offshore wind). It also wanted to build a reputation for its sustainability consultancy in addition to its marine engineering expertise.

Houlder needed to evidence and bring to life its approach as trusted partners, providing dependable technical support and innovative solutions. It sought to increase its share of voice and differentiate from competitors, with a particular focus on substance, integrity, and superior knowledge and expertise.

Lastly, as a team of mostly engineers and naval architects, Houlder needed to shift the internal mindset. Naturally cautious and only ever communicating fully evidenced case studies of previous work, the team needed to become confident in sharing ideas and opinions grounded in experience and industry knowledge, and present a service portfolio built around client needs.

Our Impact

The brand repositioning, revamped corporate visual identity, and impactful communications support has supported Houlder’s transition from a little known naval architect to a widely respected design and engineering consultancy with sustainability at its heart. BLUE’s work on the new Houlder website and a strong SEO strategy resulted in a 32% increase in traffic. The SEO strategy resulted in a 30% increase in linking domains and 41 keywords ranking on the 1st page of Google. And BLUE’s organic and paid social media content resulted in a 48% increase in LinkedIn followers (the priority channel for Houlder’s audience) and a 13% increase in Twitter followers. Regular speaker opportunities at marine and renewable energy industry events have elevated Houlder’s profile and enabled more effective networking.

Houlder’s maritime decarbonisation white paper researched and written in tandem with BLUE, provided a hero campaign tactic which provided sales support and informed multi-channel communication for many months – generating 16 earned editorial and an earned event speaking opportunity, an impactful press release which has an online readership of 3.82 million, and a significant number of downloads of the whitepaper. Due to its success, a similar survey exercise and associated white paper is being undertaken later in 2023 in the offshore wind and oil and gas space. 

Our Approach

BLUE provides an integrated communications programme to design and engineering consultancy, Houlder.

BLUE’s remit with Houlder spans multiple communications channels, including traditional, social and digital media, digital marketing to improve SEO and social engagement, plus speaker opportunities, event support, and Houlder-led webinars and whitepapers.

The ongoing communications programme adopts a twin track approach. The thought leadership campaigns targeting both the marine and renewable segments run simultaneously alongside a steady drip feed of corporate developments, including project wins and results, case studies, and key partnerships.

BLUE also undertook a brand development project to deliver a compelling and inspiring new brand position, ‘Your partner for a sustainable future’, and rebuilt Houlder’s services around client needs.  A perception audit of key stakeholders delivered key recommendations for Houlder’s new positioning

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