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A simply strategic approach

The success of Hillhouse Legal Partners was all in the strategic details.

Hillhouse Legal Partners decided to embark on a rebranding exercise aimed at refreshing their traditional law firm brand positioning as they implement their succession plan. Formerly known as Hillhouse Burrough McKeown Lawyers, the name was a mouthful for clients, and the branding itself was ‘tired’, according to General Manager Karen Short.

Knowing the reputation that came with DAIS, Karen knew we were the business to help breathe new life back into the mid-sized law firm.

“There are a few reasons we were looking for a branding agency. Two senior directors were transitioning into semi-retirement and three younger directors were moving through,” she said. “The brand we had was very staid. It also had not been applied consistently so it looked disjointed and diluted.

“It was really a time for the brand to be refreshed and reset so that the younger and new directors coming through could set a foundation for where they wanted to see the brand moving forward.”

The aim of rebranding was to create simplicity and consistency. Through a facilitated workshop, the directors were brought together to brainstorm what they wanted the brand to represent.

“I think that process was very valuable,” Karen said. “It was just really interesting to get everyone’s individual contributions and I suppose then with the support of DAIS bring that all together and achieve the end outcome.”

before vs after brand positioning strategy developed by Brisbane brand agency DAIS

Maintaining the legacy in the new brand was important, and they landed on Hillhouse Legal Partners as the new name. A ‘hill house’ signifies a strategic vantage point with a 360-degree view while also paying tribute to former director Ian Hillhouse, who was departing the business.

“They took the tired brand and aspects and just gave it that overhaul that was needed, and took those elements to a new level,” said Karen. “It retained some of the legacy of the brand but elevated it and brought us into the new age. It took us from something that looked like it had been crafted in 1980 to the 21st century but it still retained some legacy aspects of it. It was clever.”

One of the key themes was to simplify how Hillhouse Legal Partners services its clients, leading them to land on a brand promise of ‘simply strategic.’

“Legal arguments or problems can become very convoluted and complicated,” she explained. “It’s a matter of taking that and providing our clients a solution in a simple and cost-effective way.”

A way of signifying that was a yellow line taken from the old logo and using it in the new one as a symbol of ‘cutting through’ the noise. “It symbolises the manner in which we wanted to deliver our services,” said Karen.

The innovative highlighter, along with a newly designed corporate presentation folder, won DAIS a Printing Industry Creativity Award.

Silver - PICA Awards - Hillhouse Legal Partners

The ‘simply strategic’ brand promise is connected to the yellow line design theme, fostering the idea of cutting through noise. DAIS developed a yellow Hillhouse Legal Partners highlighter pen that the team could use to highlight key takeaways. When documents are sent to clients, the key notes are clearly pointed out with the yellow highlighter. This simple merchandise tool embodies the brand promise.

Changes to the design and branding paved the way for an overhaul of Hillhouse Legal Partners’ culture.

It was very stagnant and complacent,” Karen explained. “We knew that the firm needed quite an overhaul and the brand was the starting point and the catalyst for change. It gave us an opportunity to demonstrate in a really tangible way to everybody… that there’s a new era for the firm.”

Following on from the branding and cultural change, Hillhouse Legal Partners invested in new technology, operations and a new website. With ‘simply strategic’ in mind, DAIS rethought Hillhouse Legal Partners’ entire communication strategy to design a range of modern and sophisticated corporate collateral. A refreshed corporate brochure, capability statement and website completely changed the firm’s architecture.

Rebranding Hillhouse Legal Partners brought the directors of this busy law firm together to create a cohesive brand and turn the cultural tide within the business. Now, the brand personality is at the core of everything they do.

corporate collateral designed by Brisbane brand advisors DAIS to demonstrate brand positioning

“I look at where we were, where we are now and what we’re continuing to achieve, it all started with the brand and that’s what we had to do first,” said Karen. “Overall we couldn’t be any happier with the outcome, we just love our brand, the results speak volumes and it really works so effectively.”

“It’s taken the firm to a new level. Having things like that unifies everybody. That brand promise of ‘simply strategic’ is something that we really work on applying to all that we do and whether that is through the development of marketing collateral or the provision of our advice, all aspects of our service delivery draw back to that.”

Karen Short | General Manager, Hillhouse


Hillhouse Legal Partners has launched their new brand, strengthening their identity in a competitive market and positioning them for future growth. Since launch, they have attracted excellent talent and new clients across diverse areas and sectors, as well expanded their capabilities to service Australian and Internationally listed companies.

Read the full Hillhouse case study here.

Need a new brand to align with strategic business direction? We take our clients through our proven process to understand who they are, who they want to be and how to get there.

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