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More Than a Website

Historically, branding and web design practitioners would complete a company’s brand identity first and then build its website (along with other pieces of collateral).

While this is a viable practice, tbk Creative has developed a different approach. For several years, we found that, after getting partway into a web design project, the brand’s greatness wasn’t being communicated through their brand strategy (either through their logo, core messaging, or both).

This led to our new approach: tbk Creative starts a web design project and ends with modernizing an older logo or developing a new set of core messages that better aligns with the company’s greatest aspects.

  • Drive in. Drive on.

  • Smart Move.

  • We know fresh food by heart.

  • Enhancing windows for real life.

  • We believe people make a house a home.

  • Reaching beyond borders.

Sourcing the Greatness of a Brand

When Silhouette Appliances approached tbk Creative and asked us to re-build their website, we all figured that this was a prime opportunity to work Silhouette’s brand identity.

Truth be told, Silhouette Appliances was already a great brand. They are a subsidiary company of Danby®, a 65-year-old Canadian company that is one of the largest and most recognized appliance throughout Canada’s history.

“When you think about it, a website has become the most public representation of a brand – it’s on 24/7, its messaging is always consistent, and it usually receives at least 5x more traffic than retail stores or offices.”

Silhouette was a newer company in the Danby® family and, although it had a logo and millions in annual revenue, its brand identity wasn’t standing comfortably on its own two feet. We figured that if there was ever a good time to carve out Silhouette’s brand, it was going to be during their website project. When you think about it, a website has become the most public representation of a brand – it’s on 24/7, its messaging is always consistent, and it usually receives at least four-times more traffic than retail stores or offices.

When we work on web design projects and are sourcing a brand’s greatness, it isn’t up to us to make a company great. The companies we work with already have aspects that make them great — it’s our job to find the greatness that already lies within (which is sometimes dormant), and map out and execute a plan that authentically and vibrantly brings the company’s greatness to life online.

Product Luxury Meets Digital Luxury

We knew we needed the website to overcome a big obstacle — we needed it to overcome the following scenario:

Silhouette Appliances is a higher category product that sells to families — usually during a kitchen renovation project — with adequate disposable income. Typically, these consumers are foodies who like hosting parties and/or enjoy wine on a regular basis. If you’ve ever been in the middle of your dream kitchen’s renovation, you’ll know that costs can get out of hand quickly. When customers start looking at which items they can cut, they are going to keep the essentials like a fridge or stove — its usually the wine fridge that’s at risk of being dispensed.

“We wanted consumers to know that a Silhouette appliance would make their kitchen deliciously delectable and that they were at a stage in their life where they deserved to have one.”

When the website was complete, we wanted consumers to know that a Silhouette appliance would make their kitchen deliciously delectable, and that they were at a stage in their life where they deserved to have one.

Together, the Silhouette marketing and tbk Creative teams set out to create something new and fresh for the industry – just like Silhouette’s product line. Here are the core components that allowed us to source this brand’s greatness and communicate it online:

1

Design and user interface – Silhouette Appliances is a product company. Through design and UI, we wanted to highlight the product in the most positive way and at every chance we got.

High-fidelity artwork files – We ended up building over two dozen unique artwork files. When unique artwork files combine high-quality graphic design, copywriting, and great imagery together, we call them high-fidelity files.

Because Silhouette’s appliances are sold in over 1,000 retail locations across North America, we knew we’d have consumers from all over accessing this website. It was crucial to show off the company’s products in the most delectable light possible. Because of this, Silhouette Appliances and tbk Creative decided that the best approach would be to produce approximately 37 different high-fidelity artwork files.

Silhouette Home page

Hamburger menu – We made a progressive decision about menu navigation. There’s no doubt that menu navigations are easy to use, but they often take away from the integrity of the design. We went with the hamburger menu across all available devices (including desktop) because it was becoming well-known amongst consumers. With this design, the break points would be less jarring and consumers who overlooked (or did not understand the hamburger menu) would still be able to navigate the website since all the links re-appear on the main page.

Silhouette Website Slider Preview
Silhouette Product Mega Menu

The Cooling Collection – As mentioned above, showcasing the products throughout the website was essential. If someone missed the navigation, they could scroll down and reach the Cooling Collection where they would see the six categories of products beautifully presented.

Silhouette Product Display

Product pages – We spent a lot of time on the user interface and core messaging that was associated with the product page’s high fidelity artwork file. Silhouette’s entire revenue currently hinges on 12 products and, out of all the non-bouncing website traffic, 41% of viewers reach a product page.

Silhouette Products Home Page

2

Mobile section – We built the website on Twitter’s mobile framework, Bootstrap. With the inclusion of the hamburger menu (discussed above), the breakpoints’ visual abruptness were greatly reduced.

3

Find a dealer – Silhouette’s distribution channel is based on an independent dealer model and has over 1,000 stores across North America selling their products. We created a geographically-based, simple-to-use dealer locator that allows consumers to search for local dealers.

Silhouette Find a Retailer

4

Product Comparison – Studies show that the average consumer spends approximately 8 months in the sales funnel before buying a luxury appliance. They often spend months researching and comparing products online and in-store so, to assist consumers on their journey towards finding the perfect Silhouette appliance, we built a product comparison module in WordPress.

Silhouette Product Comparison

5

Explore the brands – While the page below would act very much like an ‘About Us’ section, we wanted to see how far we could push this key subpage’s boundaries.

We made it a long, scrolling, high-fidelity artwork file that was jam-packed with language and imagery that communicates what consumers can expect when they purchase a Silhouette appliance.

Completing a subpage like this took about 75 hours on our end and 30 hours on the client’s side, but in a competitive market, taking extra time to get it right is worth it.

Silhouette Home

Re-naming the products – Like many brands in the appliance space, products are identified and labelled by their SKU number. While this is useful for inventory management, its un-appetizing and confusing for consumers. For instance, does a consumer who’s new to the process of choosing a wine cellar know the difference between DWC053D1BSSPR and DWC031D1BSSPR? Wanting to be consistent with the cool and contemporary feel of the Silhouette Appliances brand, we went through the process of re-naming every product with the Silhouette marketing team.

6

Copywriting – We took the copywriting and brand messaging as seriously as the graphic design and programming. Great design isn’t enough if we aren’t communicating the value of the brand through words.

Silhouette Appliances

What we learned

  • Melissa McInerney, tbk Creative

    The Silhouette product deserved a stunningly beautiful online presence, and we didn’t want to clutter the storytelling with a cluttered navigation creating a stale experience. Instead, we took the bold leap to use a collapsed navigation, longer-scrolling pages and unique digital design choices for a world-class browsing experience. The results surprised us all. Our target audience adapted to the new website easily, and we had rave reviews with the overall impression of the new website. When we design a website, it has to have a life-span of at least 5 years. Knowing this, push those limits. People are learning how to navigate websites easily and efficiently these days. The learning curve is shortening fast. And you don’t want to design a website based on 2-year-old standards when you need it to last 5 years.

  • Serj Kozlov, tbk Creative

    When it comes to design, less is always more. Silhouette Appliances was one of the first tbk Creative projects where we decided to keep text to a minimum and put emphasis on product feature photography. Professional photos or high-quality renders are essential for almost any type of website — this was especially the case for the appliance manufacturer website. And if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is priceless, which is why we also included a video (produced by the client) that shows a Silhouette product come to life on the main page. The Silhouette team understood that plenty of images, facts about the product features, and the absence of lengthy descriptions would save visitors some time while still allowing them to make an educated decision. They very supportive of our clean and minimalistic vision.

  • Scott Blinch, tbk Creative

    Silhouette is a brand of very high-end, beautiful appliances that do very well at the job they are inherently meant to do. Your wine cooler is not just something that cools your wine, and it's also not just a slick, shiny piece in your home — it's both at the same time and we had to create a website that mirrored exactly that. We spent a lot of time making sure that every experience on the site was smooth, easy, comfortable, and very high-end so that customers knew from the start of their visit to the end that that was what they would be purchasing from Silhouette Appliances.

  • Jonelle Carroll-Bérubé, tbk Creative

    The Silhouette website matches the elegant and beautiful design of Silhouette’s brand and product. We were able to encompass the brand's look and feel into this website, making an easy-to-use, easy-to-navigate, stunning website. The slick, user-friendly design did not expose the complexity of the backend to the front end user.

    One of the unique features we created for this website is a product comparison tool that allows users to compare Silhouette products against each other to find the best fit. This stretched us as an agency in a behind-the-scenes perspective — we were able to create a multilingual, product-marketing tool with the ability to find the nearest dealer.

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