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August 20, 2012

Cindy Penchina, President

medium 407310618I'm a huge advocate of keeping employees happy. But, I know that was the last emotion they felt when I said the following 7 words....

"It's time to redesign our web site."

Since web site redesign is mostly what we do for our clients, I thought it might be interesting to chronicle our own project.  I'm sure this is going to be a humbling experience, as it always has been in the past. We're just at the beginning stages of this project, but so far, we have a new Creative Brief, Logo and Tagline....so I'll get you up to speed in the next few posts.

So, why do I want to redesign? I'll tell you, but first, let me point out, that our "old" site is going to be up and live for the next several months while we work on the "new" site. But don't worry, we'll let you know when the new site is ready for the public. We may even give a few people a "sneak preview."

So, you might be asking the same question my employees asked when I informed them of my plan....WHY!? Of course, you're probably not whining like they did. The answer is simple. We just outgrew the site. Like most small businesses, we need to be flexible enough to change as our clients' needs change. And in the web world, that change happens at light speed.

We redesigned our site about 3 years ago when we made a business strategy decision to concentrate on digital marketing. It was a good decision and it served us well. But, we really didn't put much thought into the new site back then. It just needed to be done, so we did it.

So, what's happening today that makes me feel a redesign is in order? Funny...that's what I ask each and every prospect that calls and says they want to redesign their own site. Well, it's a secret...but since we're such close buddies, I'll tell you.

I came to realize that while 3-5 years ago, we were mostly competing with other web design firms, today, we're competing with all sorts of marketing and PR agencies as well as other web design firms, freelancers, etc. Add to the mix of competitors the plethora (yes, I actually used that word) of DIY (do it yourself) web site builders.  I knew this was coming. It was just a matter of time. Anyone who helps businesses market themselves HAS to be able to help them market online. Nobody can ignore that web sites are an integral element in marketing a business today.

I confided in a friend and fellow business owner a year ago that I thought websites would soon become a commodity and just being good at creating a web site was not going to be enough to keep an agency like mine alive. And so, I embarked on redefining Hudson Fusion...and the journey began...but more on that in a later blog post. 

The bottom line is that our web site just doesn't differentiate us enough from our competitors. Couple that with all the content we keep adding as we go along...fitting this there, that here, etc., and you get a site that is screaming for help. I thought these were good enough reasons to redesign the site. I was about to learn that there is LOTS more wrong with our site than I was aware of.

Let's Do This Right!

I wanted to do this right this time. No quick fixes or band aids. So, I thought the first order of business was to clearly define for ourselves....so that we can communicate it well to our prospects....what makes Hudson Fusion different. For this task, I enlisted the help of one of our marketing strategists and copywriters, whom I'll call Michael (because that's his name.)

Through a series of interviews Michael was able to take all the mumbled up, piled up, unintelligible thoughts I had about what Hudson Fusion is and where I'd like to see it grow and put it into some very neat, succinct and readable language. How he can do that is a mystery to me, and it really does seem like magic. So, we have our Creative Brief. It was a great exercise for me because it really made me think about what it is that makes Hudson Fusion different and what we have to offer. And the prize at the bottom of the box, was some very good language that I know we're going to be able to use in all our marketing communications materials.

With our Creative Brief in hand, it was time to look at our logo. You know how when you buy a new lamp for your family room, you start to notice how the couch needs replacing? And then the window treatments don't really go with the new couch? And before you know it, you design a whole new room....well that's what's happening here.

In my next post, I'll tell you about how we chose a new logo and tagline for Hudson Fusion...or as we lovingly refer to ourselves "HuFu."

Stay tuned....

photo credit: Luz Adriana Villa A. via photo pin cc