When we first met Kansas City Tent & Awning, they knew they needed something different – but they didn’t know what exactly. They wanted to rank better in searches. They wanted their site to show up on mobile devices better. (Their old site had a lot of Flash and the screen did not respond to mobile.) And after interviewing their employees, there was a lot of confusion as to why we were completely redesigning their site. They loved their old site. All of their friends and customers said they loved the site. And in reality, compared to all of the other awning company sites, this was one of the best ones we could find.
However, that wasn’t saying much. The site was broken. Not only could people not view it on mobile devices, they couldn’t be found on search, their usability was wrong and there was no definitive direction about why they did what they did.
A little research uncovered the true nature of KCT&A. They were artists. For the longest time, they promoted that they were an ethical, hard-working group of workers that met deadlines and had been around since 1901. A quick look at other awning sites across the country, and you quickly find that’s what all awning companies say about themselves. But as we spoke with their staff, we found out that they saw what they did as a work of art. And their results confirm it. Their creativity went beyond their craftsmanship. It could be seen with their sales staff engaged with clients; the way their project managers collaborated with contractors and architects; the way their leadership encouraged their staff; and in the way their entire organization embraced art and entrepreneurship. They were always doodling and inventing new concepts.
It was inspiring – and it made it easy to see that this was the thing we wanted to promote. We wanted to show the world that this isn’t just another awning company – but a group of artists committed to their craft. We wanted to show off their creativity, but more importantly, we wanted to communicate what this meant for their work. For homeowners, it meant they weren’t getting something cookie cutter. They were getting something that fit their objectives and looked amazing.
For businesses, it meant that they could use art to draw attention to their store front. It meant that they could address challenges in new ways and collaborate with other designers to develop creative solutions. And it also showed that they were committed to high-quality parts and workmanship (the art is not just in the concept and design, but in the execution and the function).
And to the rest of the community, we wanted to begin to show everyone the beauty awnings bring to our city. We’re still using this concept of Awnings Are Art to create social campaigns to connect with artists and take the message even deeper.
And what could have been just a single website turned into many.
- A Residential and a Commercial Website – there is only one KCT&A, but two very distinct audiences. Communication to each audience needed to be very distinct. So, while the two sites look similar, by dividing them in this way, it really allowed us to focus the content to each group.
Take a look at both of these sites and see for yourself. You’ll never find another awning site (or other local professional site) come close.
- A Unifying Home Page – with the two distinct sites, we wanted to give them equal billing. In other words, we didn’t want the commercial site to be the main site with the residential site as an offshoot. So, when someone went to http://kctentandawning.com/, we wanted them to see Kansas City Tent & Awning for all it’s glory. Then they could chose what type of customer they were or the type of content they were most interested in.
- An Art Blog – With the new mantra of awnings are art, we also needed a way to create unique content to draw them in. Instead of just adding blog posts in a linear fashion to their sites, we wanted to create a magazine-style blog that would give them a platform to discuss many art-related topics within the industry and launch many of their social campaigns around this new concept.
- An Ecommerce Site – This site is still a work in progress. But the entrepreneurial nature of their staff lent itself well to a new concept. The client wanted to launch a new product. They wanted to compete with all of the do-it-yourself, store-bought awning kits that you could get at a home improvement store. They needed to be able to compete in price while also providing a distinct benefit above the DIY kits. So, we are creating a wizard-driven ordering system where users select their style, their fabric, measure their windows or doors and place their order. At a price that compares with the kits, KCT&A then creates a custom-built, handcrafted, hand welded and sewn awning and then ship it anywhere in the US. In addition, we combine the blog with the ecommerce site to take their product doodles to see if there was a market and then create a store front for them to be able to sell them.
So, take a look at these sites and see what a little inspiration can do in helping take your brand well beyond the ordinary.