Reimagining a brand website
Websites remain central to the digital experience. Here's how to approach a relaunch
“It’s truly the focal point for almost everything we do. All of our sales and marketing activities, all roads lead back to the website: support comes back to the website, customer engagement comes back to the website.”
That was Stephen Tisa, Senior Director of Digital Technology at UKG, explaining his brand’s most important channel to the MarTech audience.
UKG is, in effect, a new brand, created by the merger of two established brands, human capital software company Kronos and workforce management company Ultimate Software. A central part of the rebranding has been a reimagining of the brand’s website.
Rewriting every word. The audience also heard from Todd Purcell, Head of Digital Banking, Marketing & Experience at Connecticut-based Webster Bank. He too led a website relaunch, but for a different reason: simply, the website was over six years old. “That’s like 42 in dog’s years,” he said. “With 36 million annual interactions, it was time to act.”
Of the website, Purcell said, “It’s the largest manifestation of the brand.” Even so, he took meticulous preparatory steps before engineering major change. He spent a full two years building credibility and trust, as well as putting together an internal team capable of partnering with the agency that would work on the implementation.
It was critical, he said, to sell the idea, to create an internal sense of excitement and urgency, and to identify meaningful outcomes: “If we do this, we’re going to get this.”
Starting from scratch. For Tisa, it was like starting from scratch. After the merger, there was “two of everything.” He explained: “We needed to get the new brand out there into the market.” The quick route was to establish a completely new site with links to the two legacy sites. Moving content from the old sites to the new sites has been a gradual process, but eventually the old sites will go away.
Purcell was concerned to move away from having the website structured as a reflection of the bank’s org chart. It was important, he felt, to envisage it from the customer’s perspective. “Let’s have a contemporary site that customers expect, not just when they engage with financial services, but any website. Get the customer on their way…on the journey they want to be on.” This entailed a significant overhaul of content. “We rewrote every word.”
Actionable advice. The MarTech session was moderated by Lynne Capozzi, CMO of Acquia, the digital experience platform which leverages open source CMS Drupal for major clients like Nestlé and Pfizer. Capozzi believes brands shouldn’t go much more than two years without significantly refreshing their web properties. She laid out some broadly applicable advice on approaching a website relaunch:
- Prepare an audit;
- Write a creative brief;
- Build the investment case
- Find right partner
- Find right internal stakeholders; and
- Create goals.
Tisa and Purcell had some additional advice from the trenches.
A web-site relaunch isn’t something marketing does on their own, said Tisa. “Talk with the rest people in your company. You can’t do this stuff in a silo. Try to understand what all of your internal goals are.”
Purcell advocates for a holistic approach rather than making small changes and facelifts. “Try to build internal competencies so you can actually have a team that can work with the agency in a very complementary fashion,” he said. “Identify internal stakeholders. Really involve the CEO, early and often. We spent a lot of time with the C-suite, and especially with the CEO, to make sure he understood what we were doing.”
Finally, “design for what’s next,” Tisa added. For UKG that means the mobile website experience comes first.