In Branding & Identity, Marketing & Advertising, Marketing Strategy

No, it’s not our mom, it’s ourselves and self-examination is never easy. So, in the three and a half years since our last website revamp we have acquired many new clients, built new capabilities, won a series of awards and as technology has changed revised our own approach to connecting across social channels. We also missed our arbitrary, internal deadline to redo our website by 12 months. On all of these accounts, we are like many of our favorite clients – moving fast, having some success and forcing marketing to keep up when we should be helping them lead.

The place to start was ‘What to Kill’ – sounds murderous, I know. Often the best place to start when doing a rebrand, is to ask yourself what can we do without? And then ask it again, and again.

Fighting the tempting urge to be everything to everybody we focused on what we delivered that had the greatest impact. Raving fans are how you grow a business. So the first step is to look at who “really, really loves you” (in the paraphrased words of Sally Field) and what that says about your core strengths, and share those stories. The internet makes all of us so accessible that you should never post something that your client won’t support with flying colors. So, speaking of best clients we went to ours for feedback and this is what we heard:

  • “You need a new tagline that captures where your brand is today”
  • “I don’t see that awesome strategy work you just delivered for me on your website”
  • “Make sure your case studies and social content align with your services offered”
  • “People need to know how smart you are. You’re not the agency I go to because you have a cool office where everyone plays pingpong. You’re the smart people I lean on when I need an impactful solution.”

Knowing what to include and what not to include is directly connected to the question of “who are we?” In our case we are storytellers but a lot of companies say that so we had to push ourselves to the next level to show we do it differently. For the smart clients we want, mentioning the slew of awards we have won (not so humblebrag) or the shows or top talent we have worked with from Seinfeld to Steven Spielberg to ABC, Amazon or Kesha is impressive but doesn’t move the needle nearly as much as explaining how we do it. How we do it leads to how we can do it for them and that is what folks are really interested in.

The three disciplines we practice build on each other and while that can be a challenge to turn into a simple story, we feel it’s a fundamental differentiator. Our learning side teaches and informs our marketing side. Marketing helps us target and segment our audiences so we can deliver the specific triggers that foster behavior change for learning projects. Finally, our Hollywood trained storytelling drives the impact that differentiates everything we create with a story. You will have to decide the depth of your positioning and to look at your market and decide whether the difference matters.

We borrowed a phrase from our friends at Google – “Smart Creative” to describe us, got an endorsing quote from them and we backed it up with a light-hearted description “we love the geeky analytical stuff as much as the creative and it pays off!” At the beginning of the planning phase you need to do that level of self-examination because a clear tagline (whether or not you stick with it) can keep the team aligned throughout development. From a brand perspective colors, images and your use of video matters just as much as your words and we changed our logo colors to better reflect our company character.

With our colors and story-line in place, we then iterated through a number of detailed design concepts with wireframes to ensure smooth navigation and that SEO and user searches were both productive. Choosing the right content for your current clients visiting your site and the clients you hope to get through search can sometimes be a struggle of competing priorities. When you recognize that what you do on social is just as important as what you show on your website then content creation and calendaring rise in importance as part of design and development. Final challenge for us is the range of clients we have from hospitality and techy startups to F500 companies like Kelly Blue Book & Auto Trader, Salesforce and Johnson & Johnson. When you have clients across a variety of industries keeping the focus on what you delivered for them, not on their business models, will unify your stories and help potential clients evaluate whether you can help them.

After five months of careful planning and testing, our new look site is now live. Check us out at Share your experience with us or reach out to learn more about how the team at Upper Diamond can help assist with your content marketing needs.


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