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Transformation vs. Change

If you were to define change as incremental, and transformation as unrecognizable, then one could say the web is providing more transformation to businesses than we’ve ever seen historically.

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.

Months before starting the new rebuild, tbk Creative had just completed a website for a subsidiary company of Danby®, Silhouette Appliances.

Together with Danby®’s marketing team, we set out to rebuild the new 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.

“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.”


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.


Partnering with credible retailers is the core of Danby®’s business model. We knew that potential retail partners would go to to understand Danby®’s offerings in the marketplace, just like consumers. At the outset of the project, we would set the bar high for the new Danby® website. Our aim was to build the highest quality website in their industry and show retailers Danby®’s commitment to servicing their customers and their valued retail partners.

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:
  1. Affordable price
  2. Rich in features
  3. Attractive in design
  4. Great customer service and warranties
  5. 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.

“There’s an old maxim in art that goes something like this: ‘Good design can be seen. Great design cannot.'”

Here’s the approach we took on the new 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. homepage
Danby Product Index

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, 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. Find a Retailer
Danby Retailers

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.


The creation of D-Hub

While building the new 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.
dHub Product Search
dHub Single Product View
Danby Appliances

What we learned

  • Melissa McInerney, tbk Creative

    In the project , we were tasked with finding the perfect balance between an engaged customer experience and a simple user interface. People of all backgrounds, ages, and abilities can navigate the site with ease. We looked to design creative and memorable ``moments” for users such as the deceivingly simple product zoom feature. Danby’s smooth product zoom scroll with high-fidelity images allows people to see the products in exquisite detail. This website stretched our creative limits to design brilliant moments within a simple design.

  • Jonelle Carroll-Bérubé, tbk Creative

    On this project there was a lot of behind the scenes work that was completed that the user didn’t get to see. One of the unique challenges with a complex and multi-layered website is creating simple navigation to get the end user to the product they are looking for. The factors that made this project most successful was the teamwork and dedication that each and every one of our team members put in to it. This was much more than just a simple product marketing site; this was a multilingual, product registration, product publication, masterpiece.

  • Serj Kozlov, tbk Creative

    One of the unique challenges we faced while working on the new Danby Appliances website was to find the optimal way to lay out multiple product categories on the main page. After some discussion and several rounds of revisions, we decided to use a flexible grid system that makes an effective use of the available screen real estate, regardless of the device size. This allows users to easily browse through the available Danby products and select the appliance category they are looking for with a single click.