We recently spent a good chunk of time using internal talent to move our design agency to the next level. This has meant developing our brand and hand-coding our website from scratch to reflect what we're about today.
Our service offering has improved significantly over the last six months, we've worked with some amazing people and we have all learnt a huge amount. Not only are we more strategically focused than ever, we've also added some great skills to our repertoire; Jon has been mastering video animation, Ryan has given interesting talks and is leading the field as a planner and strategist and I've explored a wide range of new web platforms and technologies.
This is nothing but good news for our client partners, past and present, as we continue to deliver industry leading campaigns and projects to solve a whole manner of problems.
Here is what starting from scratch with our web presence and working to evolve our brand, as well as countless client projects, has taught us:
Focus on UX & interactions
Most websites are flat, stationary objects that have been translated very literally from a designer's original artwork. This is often the case when you have one group of people working on the design and another on the development. We're lucky in the fact that the people in charge of creating websites at Little Lightbulb do both. This leads to very succinct and consistent products.
Engaging web experiences feel alive on the screen. We believe in using subtle animations to aid with the user journey, to add to the intuitive nature of the site and to ensure your potential customers see what you want them to see.
A recent project with Content Coms is good proof of this. Their website feels undeniably more alive, the content is engaging and conversion rates have since flown through the roof.
Develop your brand, but keep it familiar
Every business with the desire to improve year on year will reach a point whereby their brand is holding them back. Not every company will have the need or the desire to completely rebrand and the most logical thing to do is to improve upon what you have built to this day.
Brand evolution is a calculated mix of the old and the new. It needs to be recognisable, yet exciting and fresh. It's vital that the underlying ethos of the company remains while future ambitions shine through.
Promote your launches properly
If you've been lucky enough to meet with our marketing guru, Ryan, you may have heard one of our favourite analogies:
"Creating a website and not promoting it is like building a rollercoaster in your garden and failing to tell anyone about it"
This can be applied to any product or any bit of marketing content you've spent good time and money on. Shout from the (virtual) rooftops, bang the drum and make sure the right people hear what you have to say.
Our advice is to fire out emails, use the social media tools at your disposal and get together a budget to promote it. Just don't waste any time on social media platforms that are not relevant to your client base.
Make use of new technologies, but keep it lightweight
The key to using cutting edge techniques is to first make sure that they're proven technologies, that they're compatible and accessible to your audience. This ensures that things work as intended and will make you stand out from the crowd.
One major caveat to this is that these fancy new things shouldn't have a detrimental effect on performance, usability and speed. Our rule is simple: keep it lightweight.
We used Flexbox when creating the layout of our new site, something we wouldn't have done a year ago, but it's now something that displays correctly in most browsers. The website was hand-coded from scratch so that we know exactly what has been put into it, guaranteeing a lightweight and unique code base. Not only is this more attractive to our visitors, the search engines reward it.
Our Content Management System (CMS) of choice this time round is Perch Runway, due to how speedy yet powerful it is. It doesn't dictate how you code and it's many times faster than the popular CMS platforms.
Coupled with a CDN, this is a dream team. We're big advocates of Cloudflare, not only because it's completely free, because it instantly caches your site around the world and reduces load times dramatically.
Consistency is key
The secret behind any good brand, any brand that you recognise immediately based on a single aspect of it, is consistency. Every single piece of content, every outward communication, must adhere to the principles of your brand. Failure to do so causes confusion and will undo all of the hard work you have put into your marketing to date.
Many companies make use of brand guidelines, others use a design partner to deliver strategic campaigns. Whatever your process, always make sure your brand is accurately reflected and that your message is consistent.
If you like the sound of anything mentioned above and feel like it could be helpful to you, give us a shout!