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Urban Hospitality

The Iron Horse Hotel

Independent and Unapologetic


With a strong and rowdy following for over a decade, the time had come to amp up this iconic hotel's indie spirit, helping discover the marriage of heritage and industrial branding with soft, crafted touches.

See The Story

The Client

  • The Iron Horse Hotel
  • Milwaukee, WI

What We Delivered

  • Art Direction
  • Brand and Identity
  • Brand Experience Consulting
  • Copywriting
  • Email Marketing
  • Printed Collateral
  • Web Design
The Iron Horse Hotel logo

Raw imperfections mixed with strong heritage create for a clever and timeless brand.

A repurposed brick bedding factory, The Iron Horse Hotel is a classic timber frame warehouse, supported by 300 year-old timbers, the oldest still standing in Milwaukee. Designed to appeal to independent-minded business and leisure guests alike, the hotel and its four F&B outlets pay homage to the motorcycle enthusiast. 

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Our job was to evolve the brand but remember what revved us up in the first place.

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Edgy and confident

The Iron Horse isn’t a biker hotel. It imbues the biker spirit: uncommon, irreverent, daring and original.  

We knew what we were walking into when The Iron Horse asked for a rebrand and new website. It was going to be authentic, confident and a little rough around the edges. Just how the guests like it. And with the new restaurant opening alongside an award-winning bar, there were plenty of things to boast about. We just needed to bring it all together.

Iron Horse brand 2.0 conveys rebranded visuals with DIY graphics, a witty voice and visuals with a rebellious style.

Aesthetically, the web design reflects gritty new photography and video. Functionally, the site is all about sharing the story and helping visitors quickly and seamlessly find a place to crash. All in all, a website speaks to this unique hotel’s personality.   

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The rebrand also focused on new collateral materials, on-property and in-room materials and even biodegradable shampoo and lotion bottles. All spiced up with some witty copy for a hard-to-impress crowd. 

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A rebrand this serious could not go without an enhanced email marketing operation. The Iron Horse wanted as many channels as possible to communicate to their guests that they were refreshed and the perfect fit for their already defined crowd. Through data-driven, template-heavy programs like Revinate, The Iron Horse was set up to connect with their guests, from check-in to follow-up.

The email templates deliberately chosen for each message allowed for no sacrifice on brand visuals and charisma. From promotions to F&B awareness to a monthly calendar of events, The Iron Horse’s email marketing capabilities improved drastically. Through strong, trackable data and defined niche markets, The Iron Horse kickstarted 25 email campaigns in the first year of the rebrand, leading to an improved guest and operational experience.