A New Drive … Kinda …

By Sheldon Poon, published on

We did it!

Finally, after literally years of false starts, abandoned half projects, and many, many rewrites of content, we have our NEW WEBSITE LAUNCHED!!!

“The Shoemaker Always Wears the Worst Shoes”

While we were constantly launching new websites for our clients, our own website was woefully neglected.

Over time, it became a source of embarrassment for me to have to tell people “don’t go to our site, we haven’t updated it and it doesn’t reflect our work”. It made sales more difficult as we had potential clients tell me that they had second thoughts after a strong referral because of the state of our online presence.

We tried to address this by asking the team to take any free time they had to dedicate it to our site. This obviously didn’t work as we had no free time to spare.

Then we tried to assign a specific percentage of everyone’s time to dedicate toward the site and this kind of got us somewhere. We cobbled together an ok design, some decent text, and even got as far as setting up a test server with working tools and a copy of our blog articles.

Ultimately, when we “stepped back” and looked at the entire thing, no one on the team was satisfied. We thought “well, let’s just put something up as it will force us to fix it later”.

But that didn’t sit well with any of us.

Getting Our S#%^ Together

Looking at the mess we had created it was ok but nothing that would be good enough to present to a client, therefore, not a good representation of us or the quality of our work.

Working off the sides of our desks was clearly the wrong approach. We needed to dedicate time to this project as if it was for a client.

We started over.

We had to do some soul-searching to rethink our brand and what we wanted to present. We wanted to zone in on a few key items:

  • We do high-quality, professional work
  • The level of quality we provide is becoming harder and harder to find in our industry
  • We enjoy working with partner agencies
  • We have an unmatched level of expertise when it comes to bridging the gap between development and business needs

We started over by using the same process we use for our clients. No more cutting corners, no more half-measures.

The first thing we did was come up with a new sitemap based on the business-level needs of our own organisation. Jack, our head of strategy, planned out our marketing phase so that the rest of the team could work backwards and understand what the site needed to support.

Amal and Elena worked on deconstructing the message so that we could completely rethink the branding (not the logo) and messaging.

With new direction, we rethought the sitemap, then did the proper research for an appropriate theme, then created mock-ups that would be a good visual representation of what we wanted to convey.

Finally, by not cutting corners, by taking the same approach for ourselves as we do for our clients, we were making progress.

We were then able to hand the project off to the devs to implement the code.

… But Something Was Off …

When the first draft of the new site was up and running on the test server, something was still off.

While the new site looked good and integrated a lot of our new tools, there was something that felt a little flat. It didn’t stand out in the way that we wanted even though it now properly showcased our expertise and the professionalism of our work.

So Amal and I had a discussion and she immediately pointed out the issue: it wasn’t funny.

“We’re a funny team and none of the new content reflects that”

She was right (she loves it when I say she’s right so here it is now in writing).

The new site looked professional but what it was lacking was our unique personality.

This was the key thing that was missing from our branding. This was the thing that we, for whatever reason, were trying to hide from our audience. We like to have fun, and our sense of humour does not detract from our professionalism, rather, it adds to it.

We had not been embracing it this whole time because we never felt confident enough to engage with our audience in this way before. But that changes now.

Like The Old Drive … But With A Bit More Personality

So what we’re doing from now on is loosening up a bit and standing behind our awkward, geeky sense of humour. We are still the same energetic, passionate, deeply technical team but we’re going to be a little more up-front about our nerdiness.

Going forward, we’re going to focus more on communicating our technical knowledge and how it relates to our clients’ business-level needs. We’re going to focus less on the “flash” and more on the substance of what we do without being afraid to fully nerd out about why we think something is cool.

We’re going to be better about showcasing our sense of humour and be bolder about pushing the envelope. We’re excited about this new direction and we hope that all of you (our supportive friends) will continue to join us on this journey :)

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