Get in touch with Indiego

John Hancock Observatory, Chicago

50 projects, 11 creatives, 4 years, 3 continents. One great client.

John Hancock Observatory _ Logo + Identity
John Hancock Observatory _ Business Card
John Hancock Observatory _ Stationery
John Hancock Observatory _ Signage
John Hancock Observatory _ Print
John Hancock Observatory _ Website
John Hancock Observatory _ Website

More long-running than a Chicago stage show, our work with John Hancock Observatory in Chicago is amazing testimony to how our direct-to-client global offering produces a better result. And a better bottom line.

John Hancock Observatory (JHO) is located in the second highest tower in Chicago at 100 stories tall (1,127 feet). Unable to differentiate on height from the Willis Tower or ‘Big Willy' as Chicagoans call it, the strategy was to offer customers the best all-round entertainment experience in the sky.

Indiego had the opportunity to start the journey right at the very beginning – kicking off with an on-site strategy week, which united the whole company behind a common vision.

Time was of the essence – the tower had a stale brand and was declining in sales so they needed a flexible group of consultants to roll-up their sleeves and work with the JHO team to get on with the job. In just 4 short months, we created a completely new brand identity system: new website, signage, uniforms, advertising campaign, new product innovation, internal culture material – the whole nine yards.

Within 12 months ticket sales increased by 22%, winning the Observatory Illinois Governor's Tourism Best In Show Award 2008 and IAAPA Best Website 2009 and we've a stack more awards in 2011 including Best in Show, Best Website and Best Branding Initiative.

More importantly we are winning in the people's vote, continuously ranking in the Top 10 of 377 Chicago attractions with a 4.5 rating by TripAdvisor. And the foundation of the brand was established for what was to become the biggest challenge JHO was to face – a global recession that wiped out the international tourism market overnight.

In the next two years, Indiego worked with the client to do the hard yards – re-focusing on the domestic USA market, helping develop a calendar of hard-hitting promotional activities and a design system, which enabled quick-turnaround retail-like advertising strategies. And, at the same time, embracing digital and social media to maintain the competitive edge through innovative marketing.

Some of the promotional highlights during this period was the launch of ‘Skating in the Sky’ – the world’s highest skating rink at 1,000 feet, creating a strong spike in visitation during Chicago’s cold winter months and boosting revenue 42% during a traditional seasonal low. The launch of a JHO mascot and establishing JHO’s Winter Wonderland as a must do with young Chicagoans every November and December for the last 3 years.

This paid off. By year end 2011, JHO increased sales again and is now regarded as a strong profit centre for the John Hancock building. We also helped JHO bring home 5 awards at the 2011 Chicago Governor’s Conference on Tourism, including best website and best new brand initiative - and, more importantly, grew year on year visitation and revenue.

As such, it’s a great example of the Indiego model in action. Every step of the way we drew on our specialist skills and people to bring excellence to strategic thinking, brand design, advertising, digital website, social media and writing – and a healthy dose of speed, flexibility and ingenuity which gave Indiego the edge in Chicago.

In the words of our client...

“During Indiego’s inaugural year with our "rather conservative" real estate development firm, they were the pivotal driving force in creating value for one of our most promising assets, the John Hancock Observatory.

From our perspective, it was critical that we reposition this asset to drive revenue. We had just purchased the building and had a huge challenge on our hands with a non-descript brand, no integrated marketing, no website and a dated interior. By the end of the strategic process that Indiego took us through, every stakeholder was engaged and collaborative. This strategic session became the blueprint for the next four years and was one of the key factors in John Hancock Observatory’s return as a viable attraction, an award-winning destination and now one of the most talked-about locations in the United States.”

- Mary Ellen Smith
Marketing Director
Golub & Company


This year we helped JHO bring home 5 awards at the 2011 Chicago Governor’s Conference on Tourism, including best website and best new brand initiative - and, more importantly, grew year on year visitation and revenue.

“ Indiego has now been engaged to drive our rebranding, marketing and online strategies for over four years and they constantly deliver results within our expedited timeframes and competitive environment.

They have driven our business forward and helped position us as a world-class leader in the attractions arena. Each year, we have won state-wide tourism awards including - Best Marketing Materials, Best Rebrand, Best new brand initiative, Best Online Marketing Campaign and Best of Show. In addition, we were awarded Best Website by IAAPA in Las Vegas. All of these achievements are directly related to the involvement of Indiego.”

- Carey Randall
Marketing Director
John Hancock Observatory, Chicago