For decades, GFSmith has been respected for its groundbreaking printed marketing materials. As a business who’s passion is paper, this is not surprising. The flip side of this is that the same level of thought and creativity had never been invested in the brand’s online presence.
With no clear direction or plan to build on, I instigated the development of the company’s digital strategy from scratch — starting with the website.
The foundations were laid on solid research; I conducted workshops with key stakeholders and leadership teams, site visits, desk research and internal user-mapping sessions with our digital partners, ico Design.
—Content is King Out of this work rose one clear principle, which led our whole approach: The site would not only showcase the company’s products and services, but it would also engage the wider creative community by becoming a dynamic creative resource.
This content-led strategy manifested itself in two key ways: 1) the site was to behave as a multifaceted creative journal, continually fed with inspiring and thought-provoking content that couldn’t be found elsewhere, including educational insights and collaborations with artists, designers, filmmakers, writers and trend forecasters, and 2) the site’s own design was purposefully recessive, to allow content to sing. An active Twitter presence has been pivotal in driving followers to engage with the site.
—A Digital Evolution The site was designed with capacity to grow over time; it was launched in its minimal viable state, with the aim of gaining the maximum amount of validated learning about users with the least effort in the first instance.
And to encourage the whole-hearted adoption of digital communication channels within the business itself, I arranged a number of internal engagement projects, leading to steady advances in other areas of digital activity.