Reflecting on a five-year partnership with The Lighting Agency

Merge Studio Case Study with The Lighting Agency

The Lighting Agency connects architects, engineers, contractors, landscape architects, and interior designers with outstanding lighting manufacturers and products in Colorado and Wyoming.

TLA project HealthPeak Properties Denver office

Pictured above, details from the HealthPeak Properties Denver office, a recent TLA project. The coffee bar and communal seating area feature strategic lighting choices from TLA-represented manufacturers Extant, RBW, Vode, and FocalPoint (See more on their blog).

The Merge Team keeps us on schedule and our marketing efforts on track. Their expertise, professionalism, and commitment to finding the best path forward for our company’s dynamic needs makes them a pleasure to work with.

— Ryan Stewart, Principal, The Lighting Agency

Shining a light on a family-run, people-centric business

The Lighting Agency (TLA) is a family-run firm that was founded in 1980 by Arthur Fisher, who had the vision to develop a collaborative collection of brands in architectural lighting and controls. Over the past 42 years, TLA has become not only the premier lighting agency in the Colorado-Wyoming region but also one of the most adept agencies in the US.

It’s been five years since Merge first partnered with TLA. In that time, we’ve completed two website redesigns, developed an outreach strategy, and spearheaded TLA’s digital marketing initiatives. We’ve also further refined the brand’s look and feel, refreshed the logo, designed a unique version of the logo for their 40th anniversary, and collaborated on new concepts for specific occasions, like their new showcase series called Light Club.

Working with TLA has been inspiring. They are incredibly proficient at all they do, and we are continually impressed by how they stay at the cutting edge of their industry. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly for us, they are a people-centered company whose success is built on nurturing long-term relationships.

TLA carries an ever-growing list of over 150 lighting manufacturers for indoor and outdoor use, as well as systems for complex buildings where perfect control of lighting is critical, such as hospitals.

The Lighting Agency projects

Pictured above are some TLA projects, from top left to bottom right: the Union Station restoration in downtown Denver; the Blue Moon Brewery in Denver; the outdoor canopy at Denver International Airport; and the Colorado National Bank.

Pivoting to digital during the pandemic

In 2019, anticipating the agency’s 40th year anniversary in 2020, TLA wanted to try something different. Since its beginning, the company has grown organically from just two business partners to a team of over 70. TLA’s Principal of Outside Sales Ryan Stewart wondered how to take the business to the next level. He thought the best way to grow was through digital outreach, and Merge started developing ideas to expand TLA’s online presence through a website refresh and by launching digital marketing.

The Lighting Agency 40th anniversary logo

Merge Studio designed this special logo to commemorate TLA’s 40th anniversary.

TLA’s 40th-anniversary celebration ended up coinciding with the pandemic. TLA President Jason Fisher recalls how in early March of 2020, “we were just wrapping up a showcase event when the announcement was made that all public schools would be closing due to COVID-19.” With the sudden transition to remote work, as well as adjustments to construction schedules and processes, TLA was faced with a new challenge: how to stay in touch with business partners. Fortunately, they had already laid the groundwork to address this challenge.

In terms of their digital marketing effort, the start of the pandemic was a turning point for TLA. Prior to the pandemic, TLA was first and foremost a face-to-face business. Sales reps would see clients frequently at job sites. For marketing, they relied on word-of-mouth recommendations and personal relationships within the industry. TLA’s Vice President Shane Fisher says, “From a managerial perspective, our most urgent challenges, once the decision was made to work remotely, were how to stay in touch with our customers, team, and manufacturers.”

At Merge, we are here for our clients for the long term. We see ourselves as partners, working together to achieve our clients’ missions. Over the years of working with TLA, we’ve been able to respond to different needs as they’ve arisen, first with the website design and functionality, and, starting in 2020, with digital marketing.

We developed a content marketing strategy for TLA, including high-quality blog posts, social media, customized marketing graphics for specific occasions, and an email newsletter. On the blog, rubrics like the New Product Spotlight help TLA inform clients about what’s new, while holiday reflections and team updates keep TLA’s broader community emotionally connected to the agency.

Since its first launch, the newsletter has become central to TLA’s effort of staying connected to its community. They often know the people who subscribe to the newsletter personally, making the open and click rates especially high.

Manufacturers, in particular, have responded to these marketing efforts. Ryan reports, “The response to our digital marketing efforts has been overwhelmingly positive. You know you’re doing something right when friends and long-time business partners reach out specifically to compliment your social media posts.”

TLA Light Club branding by Merge Studio

Merge Studio designed branding for TLA’s Light Club, an in-person showcase series for lighting professionals taking place this year at the Space Gallery in Denver.

Construction is a high-pressure industry that demands consistency and reliability from all partners, including those in marketing and communications. Our partnership with TLA has been successful in large part due to clear internal communication, goal setting, and punctuality with all deliverables.

Reflecting on our partnership, Ryan says, “The Merge Team keeps us on schedule and our marketing efforts on track. Their expertise, professionalism, and commitment to finding the best path forward for our company’s dynamic needs make them a pleasure to work with.”

All our work together has its roots in Ryan’s broader strategy to move TLA into the digital space. In the coming year, another website redesign may be on the horizon and will include enhanced functionality and an updated look. Always thinking ahead, TLA is also working on establishing a presence on YouTube and developing future client-focused events.