Putting It All Together: What’s Behind Our Website Redesign


January 7, 2013

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You may have noticed that my blog now leads you here, to the new BrandDrivenDigital.com. This has been the culmination of many things, however, in a lot of ways it’s a matter of connecting our digital dots. This new design brings together my blog, our live learning events, and our social media and digital marketing services. With a bold new site and homepage re-design, we thought we’d take you behind the scenes of our own digital brand strategy. 

Over the past few years, my blog and the digital services surrounding it have grown. We’ve also added an exciting new event series led by our Social Brand Forum and the upcoming Social Strategy Boot Camp tour. With all of these irons in the fire, we’ve hit critical mass at multiple domains. To grow optimally, we needed to bring all of this acitivty together under one core domain and platform, Brand Driven Digital.

This wasn’t easy for me. As a blogger, I’m very proud of the content, conversations, and community we’ve built on my blog. However, I recognize that to grow into an even stronger brand, we need to evolve our digital footprint. As a true comic book nerd like me can appreciate, it’s like the point in Batman Begins when Bruce Wayne realizes he needs to be something bigger than just a man, “as a symbol I can be incorruptible and everlasting.” As a symbol you can serve something bigger.

And that’s where this journey has taken us. Here are a few of the new concepts we’re most excited about and what they mean for you.

The Big Idea (Literally)

An often used cliché in the marketing world is that of the ad man or woman searching for “the big idea” for the latest campaign. A central theme of this latest update for us is unifying all of our activities around a centralized brand promise to you.

In taking a step back and looking at everything we do, from content to events and the services we offer, everything is about helping people build better brands online. This realization was one of those moments where the idea seemed so simple that we risked complicating it. We resisted this temptation and actually amplified this simple ethos by making this promise the centerpiece of our new homepage writ large. It’ll be hard for any of us to miss it!

From our perspective this will serve as a compass to guide our efforts moving forward in terms of the resources we provide and the products and events we create for you.

Physician Heal Thyself

I can’t decide if I like this saying better than “the cobbler’s son has bad shoes …” In any event, many agencies struggle with their own creative as they are busy launching things for their clients. This has often been the case with us and our own online endeavors. However, with our last blog update a year ago, we took a big stride with a fully customized site.

This latest update builds on that even further, with an expanded design and brand vocabulary that ties together many elements you’ve seen throughout our Brand Driven universe online and off. I’m proud to say this is some of our best work, which it should be if we are really leading by example.

All in One Place

If you’ve followed me since my first post in 2005, you might feel a bit of whiplash. On this long, strange trip, I started as a separate blog (on Google’s Blogger platform) as I was gainfully employed elsewhere. When I joined the agency, we folded my blog into the agency site, because all of the content should be in the same place as we are demonstrating with this update. However, the timing wasn’t right for this in 2007 as my voice got lost a bit inside a very basic agency site focusing primarily on services and portfolios. That’s why I moved it back out on it’s own in 2009.

Since then it’s grown and my voice has become that of our agency’s digital services and now our full-fledged digital marketing division. Unlike, our earlier attempt, the timing and the content is aligned. That’s because everything — from our blog posts to our events and services — is aligned around our mission to help you build a better brand online.

More Voices

A major catalyst in expanding our vision here is the emergence of new voices within our ranks and beyond, such as our Director of Social Strategy Macy Koch, who has written several posts here, and our Search and Analytics Coordinator, Sarah Moy. However, it’s an odd fit for her to do so regularly at a blog URL that’s my name only, which many read as my voice only. Our new site will feature our own internal experts as well as occasional guests.

To be clear, I am still our content chief and will be personally responsible for creating 90% of the content here. Our publishing schedule will continue to be two new posts per week with a cross post of The Work Talk Show podcast that I host with DJ Waldow on Wednesdays.

An Event Hub

A major area of growth this past year has been in our offline learning events, such as last fall’s Social Brand Forum and this year’s Social Strategy Boot Camp tour. While we will continue to use micro-sites for the individual event information, we’ve added a centralized listing for all of our events here so that you, our regular reader, can keep track of what we have going on.

Easy Access to Other Services

As our earlier flirtations with integrating our agency site and blog content demonstrated, it’s not a great love of mine to use our content to hard sell our products and services. It is, however, time for everything to live under one roof online.

Building out Brand Driven Digital as a separate division of our agency has fostered this as all services on this new site are developed around that big promise and mission of our blog. While most of this content is free, we’ve also included our professional consulting, coaching, and creative services as well. Having said that, we won’t be reworking our posts into thinly veiled sales pitches. It’s our mission to help you.

Ultimately

It’s your opinion that matters most. What do you think of these updates? Is our brand strategy on target? How else can we help you build a better brand online? Are there content areas you’d like us to cover more?

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Nick Westergaard
Email Brand Driven Digital

is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.




2 comments
WeareSculpt
WeareSculpt

A logical step forward. Anyone familiar with (either) of the old sites will have no trouble familiarizing with the new identity. It's a perfect fusion of the two. Congratulations on the big moves. We're excited to watch your brand grow!