As the team behind notable landmarks like the Museum of Old & New Art (MONA) and Eos by SkyCity Adelaide Casino Expansion, family-owned Hansen Yuncken are in the business of transforming cities. The company’s scope ranges from 15 million dollar builds to 1 billion, with a focus on creating landmarks that will stand the test of time.
Louise Hansen, National Business Development Manager at Hansen Yuncken says that helping shape society through construction continues to be a high point of their work.
“I think anyone who’s been involved in some of those high-profile projects will get an enormous sense of pride and satisfaction. It’s the significance of contributing to the social fabric of the city,” says Hansen.
“That you’re providing a better place for people to work, and live, and be cared for, and learn in. It’s actually very satisfying.”
The job doesn’t come without its challenges however, with the business needing to cater to a number of different markets across the country, while remaining true to their brand. In order to effectively understand and deliver on the different expectations of those markets, Hansen Yuncken has enlisted Square Holes to undertake a regular research program every two to three years since 2009.
“We operate in very different markets around the country. So, we can’t have a one size fits all approach. We have to be nuanced across our business,” says Hansen.
“So, certainly the research helps us understand what’s important in some of the different markets that we’re dealing with.”
Through these research studies, Hansen Yuncken were given the data and insights needed to track their brand perception in each of these key markets and refine their strategic priorities.
“We just have to understand it (the different markets), and then do the work to build the brand presence and essentially work out what this means to our customers and how we can help them. So that’s part of it. And also, we need to be true to who we are and what we are about. Because we want to bring our clients on a journey with that,” says Hansen.
“It (the research) helps us develop a path and bring our clients and potential clients along with us so that we are seen as a trusted pair of hands.”
Square Holes Founder and Managing Director, Jason Dunstone says that engaging an outside source to conduct regular consumer check-ins over a prolonged period of time, provides businesses like Hansen Yuncken with unfiltered feedback. It’s this feedback that aids Hansen Yuncken in retaining substantial and complex customers, as they innovate and differentiate their business.
“Important growth can come from giving your customers the opportunity to provide unfettered feedback on your strengths and weaknesses. Building this data over time provides Hansen Yuncken with the means to remain responsive to the industry as it changes,” says Dunstone.
“Sometimes you need to be able to hear things that might be uncomfortable that perhaps someone is not going to say directly to you. I think it’s important to understand, as long as you’re getting good, honest feedback, it’s very important to understand where we sit, and how people see you,” says Hansen.
“When you’ve got that sort of degree of anonymity people feel freer, perhaps to express the good and the bad. We want the truth. To learn from it. It helps us to be better.”
“If you’re not understanding what people are thinking and saying about you, you’ve got a blind spot. I think it’s important to be aware. And if there’s areas to improve on that’s good to be able to understand, it’s always very useful to reflect on.”
In 2018 Hansen Yuncken celebrated 100 years as innovators in the building industry by rebranding their business, to make a bold new statement as they moved into the next century of shaping our cities.
Louise says that this was a considered move on behalf of the company, backed by the substantial research they have at their fingertips thanks to the ongoing project with Square Holes.
“We were wanting to grow the business and show our strength and capacity, but we sort of almost had a foot on our head, because people had a different impression. Part of the rebrand was to strike out in a different way, allow us to present ourselves as a different sort of organisation to perhaps the one that people thought we were,” says Hansen.
“So, trying to demonstrate boldness, and braveness, and solidity and strength, and we’re not going anywhere kind of messages. So that was certainly part of the work that the research helped us identify in that brand journey.”
However, what remained is the message that Hansen Yuncken continues to be a family owned and run business. It’s this structure and history that Louise says provides them with an edge.
“We’ve got a management structure that’s quite lean and not too many layers so we can be easily accessed and decisions can be made quite quickly. We’re not bogged down by bureaucracy,” says Hansen.
“I would hope that the family feel comes through in the way we run our business.”