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Connecting the Pacific Northwest with Light Rail

Construction Marketing Case Study

Project Summary

During this project, we helped a nationally recognized engineering firm win one of the most important public works projects in Seattle's history. A light-rail extension designed to ease regional congestion and drive growth.

The Market

Driving Deeper Regional Connections

Light rail is the most practical form of mass transit for large cities. In addition to facilitating travel through densely packed city centers, it helps city planners connect suburban and urban areas more sustainably. With recent increases to federal funding allocated towards green technologies, many cities are racing to claim their piece of the pie. In Seattle, that includes the development of a mult-billion dollar light rail extension connecting some of the region's most populous residential and commercial districts.

The Client

Kimley-Horn is one of the largest civil engineering firms in the country. Over its 50+ year history, the agency has worked on projects ranging from local municipal infrastructure to nationally recognized monuments.

The Challenge

Building Bridges to Decision Makers

Seattle's Department of Transportation (SDOT) recently closed the bidding process for its light rail extension. During the twelve-week proposal review process, the company was prohibited from reaching out to decision makers directly. However, it wanted a way to passively reinforce the organization's capabilities, experience, and positive track record on similar projects. Keeping the brand visible while avoiding an impression of impropriety mean driving broad awareness.

The Strategy

Building Trust Through Passive Awareness

Our strategy focused on an integrated, earned and owned media campaign that could drive positive sentiment about the organization's capabilities.

A Purpose-Built Team

As an enterprise sales and marketing team with significant internal resources, the organization needed strategic, creative, and operational know-how. We assembled the project team and got to work negotiating with local partners, building creatives, and collaborating with the company's project managers. Our integrated project team allowed the company to temporarily amplify its scope of expertise and pull off the campaign.

Construction Marketing Services

Light Rail Takeover

We organized a "takeover" of the light-rail station adjacent to the SDOT's downtown headquarters. It included banners covering all of the walkways, platforms, and street-level frontage. The tactic drove over a million impressions from general commuters including Department of Transportation decision makers.


We implemented a targeted poster campaign that covered much of the corridor connecting SDOT to city hall. They included street-level wild postings as well as retail eateries and shops that workers routinely passed during their workday.


We created externally facing signage on public busses traveling through the targeted region. Bus "kings" and "queens" helped saturate the surrounding area. They ensured that the organization's brand was seen, even by those who walked and drove to its offices.

Deep Project Collaboration

"Our project team worked with the company's internal sales and marketing department to implement this tactical campaign. We communicated needs and deliverables through email with regular sprint meetings to align on timing and deliverables. Our final project report was delivered after the campaign directly to the VP of Communications."

The Outcome

Building Recognition in a New Market

Our support helped Kimley-Horn win the light-rail extension contract with Seattle's Department of Transportation. The project became the first for its newly established Pacific Northwest office.


Individual creatives for use in bus, train, and retail.


Impressions in Seattle Metro and commuter audiences

"We built an excellent experience working with Catalyst. Their team is professional, communicative, and creative. They understood the project and helped gain an important win for our new Pacific Northwest office"


Julie Beauvais

Senior VP of Communications

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