The John Hancock Tower needed to improve occupancy rates.
KHJ succeeded by defying industry trends.

It’s one of the most iconic office towers in the world. But battered by bankruptcy, foreclosure and other highly public setbacks, the Hancock Tower had a vacancy rate of over 30%.

Throughout the country, office towers have been adding ground floor retail to attract diners and shoppers and bring life to the streetscape. While this seemed the natural way to go for the Hancock Tower, our research unveiled that tenants actually didn’t want tourists and shoppers in their way. To help the tower stand out in this challenging landscape, we ended up taking an entirely different approach.


“The height of business, the heart of Boston”


KHJ came up with a strategy that totally bucked the industry trend, branding the tower as a private, gated business community. Our bold positioning, “The height of business, the heart of Boston,” reinforced the prestige of being in Boston’s tallest and most iconic building. This positioning leveraged the building’s ideal location in the heart of the Back Bay, surrounded by more retail and amenities than anywhere else in the city.

Further bucking industry trends, the new brand was not rolled out publicly, but through a micro-targeted campaign focusing on the one ‘big fish’ tenant in the market at the time, Bain Capital. As a result, Bain signed a 150,000 SF lease to make the tower its world headquarters, increasing occupancy to more than 95%. The Boston Globe called the lease a “game changer” that single-handedly reversed the fortunes of this towering presence on the skyline.


“It wasn’t enough to present this building to the market as an ‘icon’. We had to show its relevance and value to what tenants need today.”

Adam Cramer, Principal/SVP, Creative Director