We don't much like the word strategy, seems a bit formal, but a wise man once told us "strategy is about knowing where you are, where you want to be, and planning how to get there". Made a lot of sense. It's simply about thinking through what you want, working out what information needs to be communicated, what processes need to be followed, and then translating that thinking into a brief for a designer or developer. But sometimes you've just gotta get on with it and work it out on the way. So get in touch, and let's plan it together.
If you've started a business, then we assume you know a bit about it, and have done some research. You've got an idea that no one else is doing, or no one else is doing very well. You've got an idea of who might be interested in this idea, and how you're going to contact these people. You know what they're paying currently, and why they would pay you (less, or more than they're now paying).
Yeah? Cool, that's the basis of the business plan done then. Onwards.
Without getting all jargon on you, a brand can be as simple or complex as you want. At it's most basic form it's a mark (think back to branding cattle, "this is my cow, it's got my brand on it.". At it's most complex, it's the place that lives in your customers' head, it's their perception, the feeling they have towards your brand. But we're about keeping things simple, so let's start with a few basics.
We all live in the real world, and so does your brand. It's going to be judged in comparison with your competitors, so we need to decide where it needs to fit in. Do you want it to be perceived as expensive, elegant, cheap, fun? Deciding on where to position your brand amongst your competitors will decide the design brief for the identity.
Look & feel
The identity is about how your brand looks & feels, yeah we know, you just want to get to this bit fast, see some designs. But we're not mind readers, so give us a clue. That's why we've bored you with all this talk about planning….it's just about us getting into your head and finding out what you want. Now we're here, we can get some designs underway. Bringing all the identity elements together is the name of the game, so it looks like the one company, with the same design principles…the same identity, like a whole kit. Like a BrandKit. Now you get it.
Tone of voice
So now we know where your brand fits in, how it looks & feels, but how does is sound? Is it a bit uptight, very formal, awfully posh….or a bit down to earth, sarcastic, funny as hell, downright dark? Again, working out what groups it hangs out with, and what it wears will help to define how it sounds. It probably sounds a bit like you, well it should…if you're going to be active in your brand, the way you talk, the way you write will shine through. Be yourself, people like that.
So you just want a "little website" then? Really? So what's on the homepage, and what happens when you click that, and will you send newsletters, oh and a blog. And that will need a page of it's own. Etc.
Working out what goes where, hat sections you need, and ultimately how you will manage it is all part of the site planning process. It often starts with working out what the menus need to be, then that dictates how the rest of the site will flow.
It is unusual these days to have a static site – one where you build it and it never changes – instead, sites are built to be dynamic, where content changes on a regular basis, be it new pages, new products, new blog posts etc. Our online business system has all the tools you're likely to need, so our job is to work out what's the best tool for the job. We plan what the site needs to do, what parts of the system will manage it, and what parts of the system you're going to need to use to manage it.
At the end of the day, it's about delivering you a site that matches your vision.
The line between a website and an online business is often blurred. They're both online, may both be for your business, but when the site is taking payments you're really getting into online business territory - E-Commerce…and that requires some planning.
We've all bought from Amazon or eBay, and we love it when that package arrives with our goods. But between you clicking submit, and the courier arriving, there's a number of steps that the order goes through, and that's what we need to work out. What email does the customer get when they place the order, what information is on the invoice, how does the customer know when the order has been sent, how do you and the customer know how to track the order? Questions that need answers.
Maybe you've got a huge house and stock is going to live there (for now), or maybe the business needs a warehouse to handle stock. It all needs some thinking through, and a system to manage the inventory. Again, we've got it covered.
Finding a good logistics company is going to be crucial, being able to keep track of deliveries and returns is the backbone of an online business. Get it wrong and you're in a world of pain. Get it right and you've got an oiled machine that's making your life a breeze.
So, we know you want to get on with it, see some logos, see some site designs, see some orders roll in, but a bit of planning goes a long way. Work with us and we'll get you the site you deserve.