Innovative approach under deadline pressure helps establish and reinforce new brand's online presence
When there is limited time in which to launch to the public a new product, a new brand, or an entirely new organisation, adding digital content to conventional technologies can be extremely challenging. In such circumstances, creating an attractive, engaging public image that matches the desired market positioning calls for a high order of skill in making an existing system deliver content to the expectations of a digitally savvy public.
Corporate credibility hinges on such capabilities.
This is particularly important in the financial services sector, where the negative effects of lack of trust in institutions can ripple through an entire economy.
It was strategically essential, therefore, when a new Africa-wide financial services organisation was formed by the merging of two separate entities, that the correct image of the new organisation was immediately established in the markets where both organisations already had a presence.
Timing was critical for maintaining confidence among existing customers and for attracting new customers to meet one of the objectives of the merger: growth.
For reasons of consistent messaging and positioning, an awareness campaign would be launched across multiple African countries at the same time, with the group's websites and content hub forming part of a broad array of print, broadcast, and online media.
A digital agency that had been working for some time with the one of the entities would provide continuity of design and messaging in the awareness campaign, integrating elements of both organisations' corporate identities in a fresh look and feel for all media.
The campaign was founded on a range of individual stories of the ways in which the new group makes a difference to communities on the ground. Many of the stories included corporate social investment projects. These lent themselves to the production of videos for use in broadcast media and in the refreshed websites.
To maintain the vitality and dynamism generated by the video images and to entrench a reputation for the group of combining global financial services product knowledge with regional expertise, the new organisation wanted the website to include animation. This would serve to focus visitors to the site on key messages.
There were several obstacles to achieving these objectives, however. The first was that there was a need for two websites, one for South Africa and one for the rest of continent.
The requirement for two different websites carrying different content but the same branding made the creation of a content hub more complex. The Africa website also needed to take into account the infrastructure differences among countries on the continent and, therefore, the ability of visitors to access the content in varying ways from conventional and smart – and fixed and mobile - devices.
In addition, the existing South African website, which was to form the basis of both new ones, was running on pre-digital technology. This made the rendering of some of the animation and the loading of videos problematic. However, the urgency of the campaign put upgrading the system out of the question.
At the same time, much of the video material was still being shot as the awareness campaign was being rolled out. This meant that approval of designs and layout had to be done piecemeal. Designs and approvals for conventional print and broadcast media were given priority, because of long lead times.
All of which meant that the material for use on the content hub and the websites was delivered at the last minute. Because some of it was incompatible with the existing platform, it couldn't simply be dropped in. The implementation team would have to come up with fixes.
The new group turned to Britehouse Digital (then 3fifteen) because one of the companies of which the group was formed had worked on websites with them before and trusted their experience and knowledge.
The Britehouse Digital team implemented the entire content hub platform in two days – working through the night. And they implemented the websites in three weeks, providing the customer with guidance on how to host and run them.
The business wins
The new financial services group's objectives in relation to the accurate expression of the awareness campaign via its available online public platforms were met. This helped position the group correctly in its target markets.
By achieving these results through astute integration of digital and conventional technology, Britehouse Digital enabled the group to sweat its technology assets a little more.
"Because we're not just technology implementation specialists but also do creative design for online platforms, we were able to maintain the communications integrity and intentions of what the digital agency produced while doing the necessary technical fixes," says Britehouse Digital's Tarkan Diaz.
"And, because I work with some very clever people, for whom innovation is the norm, we were able to do those fixes in what seemed to be an impossible time frame. In an ideal world, one would have more time. But, when the chips are down, a combination of deep experience, working smart, and a can-do attitude is the way to work miracles."