What does it look like to rebrand an existing website
and add in a social media strategy?
In 2011, Innovate New Albany decided to undertake an organizational rebrand after recently updating their graphics and messaging. They wanted all of their content to better reflect its goals and mission.
Buckeye Interactive had already helped with the graphics and the messaging. After doing so, we suggested to INA that their website could also be refreshed in order for their brand and their messaging to stay consistent and be clear.
“Because Buckeye Interactive helped us develop new graphics for our new messaging, they were able to remind us that the website would also need to be updated,” said Angie Hobart, City of New Albany Economic Development Specialist. “The website no longer articulated what we were doing.”
The main challenge: We needed to somehow create a new brand that fits but is also innovative.
Even though we had already partnered with INA and the city of New Albany in general, this was the only site we redesigned for them. As such, branding was critical because a very small group did New Albany’s branding at the time. We had to break into this small community and build trust before we could fully grasp the direction we wanted to take.
We had multiple goals with this website redesign:
– Create a new brand that captures INA’s mission and vision
– Ensure that the branding and graphics are consistent across everything INA uses from printed materials (like signs and banners) to the website
– Ensure the website messaging is strong and reflects the new direction
– Create a pleasant and effective user experience
increase in email subscribers
increase in Facebook likes
Even though we had worked with INA in the past, the website redesign needed to work a little differently because we needed to be efficient. We had to quickly define a plan that met our stated goals while also showing the clients what the site would look like. We realized we had to match the new graphics and messaging already in use, but we had to make sure the site could speak by itself.
“We wanted and needed to be good stewards of the money for this project,” said Neil Collins, Innovate New Albany Onsite Leader. “We knew that we were not going to have the luxury of a lot of planning and brainstorming meetings.”
“What they showed us was better both graphically and from a communications standpoint,” said Collins. “Other firms would not have been able to grasp the nuances of what we wanted so quickly. A core belief for Buckeye Interactive is to first achieve the client’s goals. This is one of their main strengths.”
Because we were on a timeline, more so than ever before, we made sure communication was clear, direct, and helpful. We spoke with the team who handled New Albany’s branding, and we also spoke with multiple members that were part of the Innovation Initiative in order to hear their ideas. At the end of the day, because communication was transparent and direct, INA placed all of its trust in us to lead the project.
“Buckeye carried the load,” said Hobart. “And I needed it to happen that way at that time because the city was so busy, and I needed to focus my attention.”
“Communication was easy. I am not development savvy,” said Hobart. “They can explain to me what they are doing and what they need from me in terms that I understand. I really appreciate that.”
To make communication simple and easy, we designated one of our team members to be the point of contact for INA whenever they needed something. This smoothed the process for both sides, and we were able to very efficiently stay on the same page throughout.
“She now knows us inside and out,” said Hobart. “This process and our contact has been a great asset.”
“And we like the openness and the curiosity she brings to the table,” said Collins. “The entire team is open to hearing and understanding our thoughts and incorporating them as appropriate. And, they are great at keeping track of things we suggest but cannot do now. We already have plans for future work.”
Arguably, the main portion of the work came from our designer. He had to take the new graphic designs and apply them to the website, all the while keeping user experience in mind. He focused on finding INA’s main colors, fonts, and the overall theme. The result was a bold new look–one that really captured INA’s essence.
Once the mockups were approved, our dev team started implementing the new design onto WordPress. They also added all necessary plugins to the site, one of the most important being the event registrations plugin. Our dev team made sure the site was highly functional before and after launch.
“New Albany has grown significantly, and large data centers have located here within the past 2 or 3 years. One of the common threads that we hear is that these companies have hit the Innovate New Albany website, and they are excited to see that there is an incubator here.”
We redesigned the website! Wonderful–we’re done, right? No! That was just the beginning. We needed to apply the rebrand to all of the different marketing products INA uses in order to create a new marketing strategy that benefited both INA and its clients.
Because we were already running INA’s email marketing prior to the redesign, we knew, from a marketing standpoint, what changes we had to make. Our designer applied the new theme of the website and of the brand to the email template. We then created new copy to fit the messaging, and we resumed with our weekly email campaigns.
“The email marketing that Buckeye has done has been tremendous and is an underrated aspect of what has helped us build and keep momentum,” said Collins. “I have people tell me all the time that they love these emails. There is a lot of clarity to them, and they are extremely well-organized. These emails have been tremendously important in building the profile of Innovate New Albany, the TIGER events, and Expert Office Hours.”
Social Media Marketing
New social media profiles were created on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for INA to establish its brand and connect with a wider audience. At the time, we used SproutSocial to schedule several posts a week for the different platforms. We focused on promoting INA’s events on their social media, but we also shared Monday motivation quotes, blog posts, different articles, and real pictures from our events. We wanted people to stumble onto INA’s profiles or INA’s site and immediately feel INA’s purpose. And it worked.
Our designer also created a variety of different designs/graphics to go on INA’s new promotional products. New banners, business cards, mugs, pens, and T-shirts now wore INA’s logo proudly. These products were handed out at different events and essentially used as marketing tools to spread the word about INA!
INA wanted to somehow track the company’s progress on the site, email, and social media in a way that’s clear and easy to read. We were already accomplishing this for them prior to the redesign, but now we needed a better way to present this information. Our team created a presentation that was customized using INA branding, and each month, this presentation would be updated and shared as a PDF. The monthly report was used internally as well as externally, and it definitely helped track our progress!
The monthly report design has evolved over time, and we absolutely love how we can adjust to make it better and better.
A new and bold redesigned site with a thought out marketing strategy in place, both leading to growth and innovation.
Innovate New Albany now has a website that not only meets its needs from a graphic and messaging standpoint but also positions the organization–and the city–in ways that were unexpected.
“It looks like we invested a lot of money in the site,” said Hobart. “I am so impressed at what Buckeye Interactive was able to accomplish within our budget. It would take other design firms a huge budget to be able to achieve what Buckeye Interactive did for us.”
“So many people tell me that our website is really well done and cool,” said Collins. “It clearly shows all the cool things we have going on at Innovate New Albany. And, when I ask how did you hear about us, I am told that we are on the front page when people search for incubators. Buckeye Interactive has done great work with our SEO.”
And, as a result of the redesigned website and enhanced SEO, Innovate New Albany offices are full of start-up companies, and there is a waiting list to get into the incubator.
“New Albany has grown significantly, and large data centers have located here within the past 2 or 3 years,” said Hobart. “One of the common threads that we hear is that these companies have hit the Innovate New Albany website, and they are excited to see that there is an incubator here.”
We loved working on INA’s redesign, and we are so happy we have continued our partnership to promote innovation, entrepreneurship, and education!
increase in Twitter followers
“Buckeye Interactive has been a significant partner with us for building a strong program and a strong brand. They really helped us execute these goals quickly and successfully.”