Rebranding of Online Presence with New Digital Strategy
Case Study: Digital Experience
A global institutional and individual asset management firm was in the process of selling one of its major assets and beginning to plan how it would physically and logically separate its numerous branded web properties, including its main website and authenticated extranet sites.
The company knew it needed to move all client-facing properties, including subdomains, microsites, and email addresses, to a new domain. All of the branding was to be transferred to the acquiring company as part of the sale, so the firm would need a new web presence and branding as well. In addition, the client needed to understand the risks to its external customer facing web applications and internal infrastructure, including directory services and other technology components. The risks were numerous: Impacts on SEO due to domain-name changes, maintaining the customer experience throughout the change, redirecting existing and new customer traffic to appropriate locations in the new domain, and so on.
Technological challenges were plentiful as well. The new domain would transition to a new cloud based Content Management System (CMS), requiring updated HTML page templates and all content to be merged and refactored into the new templates. With the sale almost complete, all changes needed to be planned under an extremely tight deadline, a herculean effort because the change touched every aspect of the firm’s business.
The company came to realize that the effort would be much more comprehensive than originally envisioned and that they would need guidance from a company with deep experience in change management and web development strategy; they found this expertise in AIM Consulting.
A team of change management experts from AIM Consulting stepped in, quickly analyzed the firm’s needs, and provided a roadmap of recommendations for the rebranding of the firm’s web properties. The work was delivered in a series of workshops, technology deep dives, and analysis at the company during an eight-week project.
AIM analyzed every component of the company’s technology stack comprising its internet and extranet sites, related systems, and applications, and methodically identified the risk areas. As part of this effort, the team located all hard-coded references of the firm’s domain across systems and code. Every reference would need to be addressed in order to minimize any impact to the firm’s environments.
As part of the rebranding effort, AIM Consulting conducted sessions over several weeks to produce a web strategy that provided recommendations in meeting customer needs. This resulted in new customer facing site designs and new templates. Formerly, the website had a different look and feel for each of the firm’s six major offerings, presenting an inconsistent brand and user experience. Over 16 different templates were in use for similar needs. AIM recommended and produced mockups of four new templates, uniting the UI with a much more uniform experience.
AIM Consulting also recommended organizational changes to help drive efficiencies and produce more stability to end users. These recommendations included creating a centralized tools team, with all structure-related information architecture elements managed through this one team where formerly responsibilities had been distributed across the website’s different audiences. AIM recommended that tools be developed with re-use in mind across the different business areas supporting their customer communities.
Around this time, the firm was also considering moving to a new content management system (CMS). The current system had done its job, but a more modern CMS was needed in order to realize the firms longer term vision Because of AIM Consulting’s work in identifying risk and the methods of mitigating that risk in the rebranding effort, the firm asked AIM to assist in an RFP for a new CMS.
In just four weeks, AIM Consulting captured the core needs of the organization and derived a set of requirements for the new CMS that all stakeholders could agree to, invited RFPs from several CMS solution providers, very quickly evaluated the vendors, and helped the firm choose a provider.
New Web Strategy
With the major risk management/rebranding work completed and a new CMS lined up, the firm saw further opportunity and asked for AIM Consulting’s help in developing a new web strategy to ensure its new online presence and business development strategies were aligned. AIM Consulting provided a high-level web strategy with the following components:
- The emotional and functional needs of end users
- Strategies for accomplishing various end-user interests
- A roadmap for functional implementation of these factors according to the firm’s timeline constraints
In rapid succession, AIM Consulting helped the company mitigate the risk in its rebranding effort, take advantage of the change by introducing a new CMS, and develop a new web strategy that aligned its online presence with business needs. The company was able to move forward and face the change with confidence.
By showing how the firm’s major offerings can be brought together, AIM Consulting helped facilitate a unified direction among the company leaders for the new web experience. In this fashion, management now sees that the different business units are more similar than they thought before in servicing customer needs. This is driving more consistent thinking around how the customer experience and branding can be delivered throughout the entire site.
AIM introduced numerous efficiency gains while reducing overall risk for the company. The use of fewer site templates, the more consistent UI, and consistent content and code delivery workflow will all save resources over time.
Because the roadmap paints a picture of the emotional needs of the new website’s end users, the company will be able to derive new functional requirements for its clients as part of the change. As the firm sells one of its major assets, it is now able to transform its offerings and position itself for new growth.