Does a wow factor site win the right business for you?
How important is an agency website? It is often not the first encounter people have with your brand. But the day after the steady eyed handshake is where people make solid the second opinion about you, your company and any shared future together - and that will often mean the browse through your site, mostly on a mobile device, to see if they are swiping left or right on your business attractiveness.
But how do agencies manage their own websites? For Pomegranate, as for many agencies, giving our own website a spruce and polish often comes a distant second to paying client work.
OK. Mea culpa. Holding our hand up, we probably should have attended it a few years earlier, but these have been big years for us and… well… it slipped.
So, with the aim of retelling our story in a fresh new way, I want to share how we became our very own CX client.
Utilising our pomegranate project stages of discovery and development we investigated who are our key audiences and what drives their interest, and what part of our story appeals to whom. Through interviews with existing partners, creative graduates, and prospective clients we learnt what quality marks they expect to see from a partner. Importantly, they also indicated their preferred ratio of effervescent inspiration vs. white collar perspiration. Thinking about their decision points, desires and previous online experiences they let us know when they wanted to be wowed and when they wanted to be reassured.
Collating our interview feedback we simplified the full suite of what the agency offers around key insights.
We understood that key client decision makers need to introduce new partners (digital or otherwise) like Pomegranate to internal teams. The agency website has to reflect the basis of the CMOs selection of Pomegranate whether from a tender or a brief, resoundingly answering ‘Why Pomegranate?’
We found that in order to connect with site visitors we must:
- Firstly explain what we do in a simple way.
- Convey the idea of a partnership, shared goals and shared reward.
- Educate people about what makes our creative vision unique and why it has delivered results.
- Showcase our client work in a context of their challenges, our solutions and the results we've delivered.
- Show that we nurture an upbeat culture of curious people.
- Show the benefits of passionate research without seeming stuck in process or inflexible to client needs.
To translate these insights into impactful designs we created a journey that used the emotional points detailed in our customer journeys with what our brand vision is. Understanding our customers’ needs was the beginning of our process, and through a number of creative workshops we refactored our brand’s vision into tell a consistent succinct story. Yes, we had to move some of our bright ideas away from the spotlight. It was tough but necessary so that every site section had a solid structure around which we could build moments of surprise, education, fear, envy, optimism and joy in order to give a sense of curious excitement to what the possibilities might be working with Pomegranate.
We also wanted to avoid any trace of marketing jargon and buzz word laziness. This was a harder task than we thought as so many concepts which were once accurate and descriptive have waxed with hype and are now waning with overuse and inflation. The challenge then was to find a language that had a clear and accessible immediacy but retained a frisson of zesty interest. After all, we are excited about our work and that is something to crow about.
Being a digital agency there is often a drive to show all the toys in our design toolbox however in line with our positioning we wanted to emphasise focus and restraint when guiding the user through the page. Design touches and flourishes should never distract from key text and subtle animations should appear ahead of the user to encourage them onward. Visually we wanted to meld our work with the clear thinking that forms the foundation of what we do, creating a sense of balance between the pillars of our approach (research, creativity and delivery) and our ambition (what we’ve done in the past versus our plans for the future).
Having soft launched our site in November we’ve been using further user testing and google analytics to see where we need to improve and where our vision is still cloudy. We’re happy to say that so far the feedback has been exceptional however like all businesses we’re aiming for loyalty and repeat visits (business) and until we hear other people evangelising Pomegranate there is still a ways to go.
The road ahead
We believe our clients want to be associated with something that has a noteworthy energy, but once they’ve made a choice in a partner they need to be reassured in terms of value, authority, and delivery. We understand that today, more than ever, it is about building confidence. This assumption discovered through interviews and validated through feedback,still requires more research to be worked into a solid proscriptive finding. The next phase of our site development will go a level deeper into the assumptions around section level propositions which will fine tune how the site performs in terms of appeal and SEO.
Going further still, with the launch of our emotion testing lab in 2020 we will be able to increase the pace of our neurological user tests on an even more granular level leading us ever onward to ever deepening set of understandings.
So, what were we like as our own clients? On the positive side, we created a clear brief, agreed the timings and we trusted in the creative process. Were we demanding? Of course. Did we make last minute edits and ask for more than when we started? Of course. And will we continually test, shape and improve our site over time? Of course. After all, that is what our best clients do.
Kailas Elmer, Experience Director