Mirroring your physical brand online can be a challenge for many businesses. Fraser Sutherland, Property and Marketing Manager for Storage Vault, reviews the firm’s digital development and offers advice about commissioning an agency.
Our self-storage business started offline as a traditional bricks and mortar number.
When it came to moving our physical identity online, we discovered it was actually quite a tricky process.
Our motivation was the fact that, with more self-storage businesses moving into Scotland, we needed a strong visual identity that instantly conveyed who we are and what we do.
We opted for a bright yellow primary colours, highlighted by vibrant red accents. The lock, which is integrated into our logo, reinforced our commitment to security. Our name — Storage Vault — helped hammer that commitment home.
All our branding and every element of our service helps define who we are as a company. We wanted to take every last bit of that online.
After shopping around we decided to work with Digital Impact, a local design and development agency.
Because I knew the people in our team understood Storage Vault better than anyone we took the brave decision to get directly involved with the website design.
Digital Impact tweaked our designs, adding industry-standard blocks like testimonials and a blog — the sort of stuff we’d overlooked earlier.
A key objective was to make sure that, if a customer walked into our Paisley facility or clicked onto our website, they would have the same experience — and we believe we’ve achieved just that.
Working with Digital Impact’s designers, we produced something truly special and precisely tailored to our business. And that’s something we simply couldn’t have got if we worked in a more traditional supplier-customer relationship.
So what advice would I give anyone planning their own web development project?
The first step is understanding who you are and what is it that sets your business apart.
Defining your brand identity is a huge step in any business and it’s one I strongly recommend you take. Consider creating official brand guidelines and company voice documents.
Once you’ve got your culture nailed down, it’s time to educate the people who will be building your website. Let them get to know you, your staff and your services. Make them feel like part of your team so they know how to sell your company.
It’s essential you stay involved throughout the design process so that, two months down the line, you aren’t handed a website that you’ve never seen before and absolutely hate. Ask when and where you can give feedback on designs and make sure you ring fence time to actually look at, and comment on, them.
Remember it’s your website and you’re going to have to use it for years to come. If there’s something not quite right with the look or feel, don’t be afraid to ask for changes. A good agency will never take it to heart.
But that doesn’t mean you should ride roughshod over your designers. If you’re employing a design team who probably have years of experience, that’s a huge chunk of knowledge to tap into.
If they make a suggestion, don’t ignore it. Listen to their advice and use their expertise to tweak, tune and perfect your new site.
The above blog post has been made possible through the generous support of Creative Clyde and the named contributors.