2015 was the year that Danby® started its process of transformation, from its brand identity and online marketing, to its core technological support systems.
Danby® is a 65-year-old Canadian company that is amongst Canada’s largest and most recognizable appliance brands ever. The company supports a dealer network which exceeds 3,500 stores including retail giants and independent retailers a like.
Together with Danby®’s marketing team, we set out to rebuild the new Danby.com website, along with a product management system that would reduce internal resources and improve operational effectiveness.
Seeing the clear picture
Before understanding the why behind the decisions we made on this project, it’s important to understand Danby®’s situation better.
Danby® is an appliance manufacturer that sells through major retail and independent retail companies across Canada, USA, and Mexico.
Here were some of the challenges that, as Danby®’s marketing team explained, we needed to solve as a group:
Danby® was facing market pressures from an increase in competition. Some of these companies have been known to sacrifice product features, long-term warranties, and adequate customer support. Danby® is a 65-year-old company that stands behind their reputation. We needed consumers to know the Danby® advantage when visiting the website. We also needed consumers to know that support was just a click or a telephone call away.
These days, as consumers are walking through retail outlets like Costco or Wal-Mart, they can pull their mobile device out of their pocket or purse and go to the manufacturer’s website to learn more about the product. This trend will only continue to grow. We needed a website that would provide information while representing the brand in an effective way, especially when being viewed on small screens by in-store consumers.
Getting down the message
No great website will come together without locking in the right messaging. Our team spent the entire first month of the project in discovery meetings with the marketing team at Danby®. We looked at market research and tried to better understand who buys Danby® and why.
At the start of this project, Danby® had a recognizable logo and an established product line, but they weren’t clearly articulating why people should choose Danby® over their competitors.
To be honest, we were challenged by this too. About 40 days into the project, through much deliberation between Danby’s marketing team and tbk Creative, a positioning statement finally emerged: a Danby® appliance is a smart move.
Buying Danby® is a smart move throughout all stages of life – students, first home, expanding family, corporate, cottage life and downsizing seniors.
It’s a smart move for a number of reasons:
- Affordable price
- Rich in features
- Attractive in design
- Great customer service and warranties
- Smart, compact technology – doing the job with less space
When you combine these benefits, buying Danby® is a ‘smart move.’
Getting down the features
Now that we’d nailed the ‘why Danby®?’ message and outlined some of the challenges, we knew we would need to overcome the three obstacles listed above.
Here’s the approach we took on the new Danby.com website:
Intuitive design – Melissa went for a design inspired by the famous Bauhaus style. A design that in many ways is liberal and intentional about using free space. There’s an old maxim in art that goes something like this: “Good design can be seen. Great design cannot.”
Purposefully minimizing design aligns with the promise of a great appliance. If you notice your appliances, either because they need fixing, are making noises, or are too large, they aren’t doing their job efficiently and/or effectively. And you certainly wouldn’t use the word great to describe an appliance that had those nuisances. So Melissa and Serj took an approach to design that would allow the users to answer the question, ‘why Danby®?’ and find what they are looking for with the least amount of friction possible.
One of the ways we accomplished this design goal was by producing twenty-two (22) high-fidelity artwork files. High-fidelity artwork files are built using Photoshop before they’re re-created using HTML/CSS and combine high quality graphic design, imagery and copywriting in order to showcase a brand’s authentic greatness on the page.
Showcasing retailers – 100% of Danby’s revenue comes from over 3500 independent retailers across Canada, USA, and Mexico. When their retailers win, so does Danby®. We went with an avant-garde approach to promoting retailers. Each year, Danby.com gets over one million visitors and by driving a portion of that traffic to their retail partners, Danby® would directly be generating more revenue for these partners and themselves. Note: For business reasons, this feature is temporarily hidden on the current website.
Core messaging and copy
Throughout the website, we focused on the smart move messaging and addressed the 4 key life stages where it’s advantageous to buy a Danby® appliance. In a lot of ways, we tried speaking to the demographics and psychographics of the website visitors.
While building the new Danby.com website, tbk Creative also commenced the development of a new inventory management system (currently still in development). The problem the company was having was that there wasn’t one central location for storing all the specs for the company’s products. Danby® was finding that:
- CSR reps were accessing information from various locations, subsequently, slowing down their work
- Many departments were going to the marketing team to retrieve desired information
- It was difficult to keep the specs for their 100+ products up-to-date with correct information
These were serious problems that were clogging productivity. To speed up the time to market, d-Hub is being developed to contain features that fix many of these problems. For instance:
- Has a mobile first, responsive design that allows staff to utilize the platform at the office, or on the road.
- Acts as the single, master source for all product data within Danby®.
- Can publish product data in real time to various online websites.
- Is fully audited and provides 100% rollback data protection for all product and product data elements.
- Integrates a single sign-on for user authentication authorization and management.