How Willmeng Cemented its Position in Commercial Construction as The Genuine Contractor

In 2017, we helped Phoenix-based commercial contractor Willmeng define its brand story to reveal its purpose. They operate in the commoditized commercial construction industry.

James Murphy, CEO of Willmeng

James Murphy, CEO of Willmeng, said that all of their competitors look and sound the same. “We have a unique culture here at Willmeng that makes us a genuine family much different from our competition.”

That word “genuine” stuck with me from the first time James described his company that way.

We’re always looking for a singular brand narrative based on a one-word theme. So we put “genuine” to the brand story strategy test.




We started asking questions:

What is Willmeng? A commercial contractor.

How do they operate? They specialize in tenant improvement, ground-up construction, and renovation in commercial buildings.

Why do they do it? Willmeng believes that people thrive when they find their genuine place of purpose, especially in how and where they contribute to their careers, families, and communities.

Therefore, Willmeng exists for people to build their genuine place of purpose.

There’s that word again. But how do you test for it?

Willmeng is guided by these beliefs and values to help people build their genuine place of purpose:

  1. Show up every day as your genuine self.
  2. Attract talent with the right aptitude and attitude.
  3. Onboard new employees to set them up for success.
  4. Willmeng University provides robust, continuous training to grow talent, character, and culture.
  5. Serve like-minded clients.
  6. Preconstruction efforts to ensure the integrity of every project.
  7. Altruistic approach to customer service; care more than seems reasonable.
  8. Generous leaders in thought and action for the industry.
  9. Invest in the community through philanthropy.
  10. Always do your genuine best.

Willmeng’s powerful purpose was arrived at by identifying the organization’s why, which is captured in their UVP:

We build on character to create genuine success.

Their purpose-driven story even redefined what they do. Instead of being a commercial general contractor, which is a statement of commodity in and of itself, they are positioning themselves as the “Commercial Genuine Contractor.”

How they do this is captured in their position statement:

“Willmeng is the commercial general contractor when building with character is what you value most for the integrity of your project and the genuine success of your people.”

Willmeng has five brand pillars that support its position statement. Here’s how we used a narrative focused on the metaphor of “building from the ground up” to illustrate their beliefs and values:

STRATEGIC: The blueprint that guides the creation of a genuine place of purpose expresses the clarity of our vision, the rigor of our thought and the character of our word.

ALTRUISTIC: Our foundation is built upon the authentic, selfless concern we share for the success and well-being of others.

NIMBLE: Our structural integrity is ensured through the balance of resourcefulness, responsiveness and adaptability, and strengthened by being well rounded in the market to serve at the highest levels.

FAIR 360: We illuminate with kindness by seeking to understand before being understood and by caring more than may seem reasonable so we can achieve genuine success for all.

AUTHENTIC: We present no facades, only genuine elevations of truth, trust, and wholehearted loyalty to the employees we mentor, the clients we serve and the communities we call home.

Okay, so I like to get a little dramatic with my brand storytelling. But it’s the only way we’ve found to unearth the humanity of a business-to-business brand. After all, people don’t buy from businesses. They buy from people.

This case story is an excerpt from my book Brand Bewitchery: How to Wield the Story Cycle System to Craft Spellbinding Stories for Your Brand. 

You can listen to Chapter 9 from the book on episode #432 of The Business of Story podcast called Moral: How to Declare Your Brand Purpose to Amplify Your Impact.