‘Chronicles of a Head of Digital’ – 15

This week’s BIG news, well to some at least, was the launch of a site. That site… you’ll know the one I mean if you were any way involved.

I say launch, the go live whatever you want to call it, but TBH it’s been live for months now. You sit my side, and indeed my lovely clients’ side…


Kelly Caulfield & Jenni Montgomery


…and it’s been live (well soft live on the dev box) for a while.

And, well, this site has been live in all honesty for over a year now.

Which is a good thing.

This site is a thing of beauty, and like a cheese, George Clooney, a decent Barolo or Rihanna will only get better as it gets older. Life will add data, and give more depth, richness and deeper journeys, meaning more interesting and weaving stories.

The initial, ‘we want a new site’ was challenged with a ‘let’s think about it properly’ so we don’t just need another new site in 12 months. For me, building a new corporate site is more than just looking pretty: it’s about depth, longevity, tannin, and the opening of complex blackberry flavours on the tongue intermingled with the lighter more zesty notes. A good site is like a complex wine. It needs to ask questions from the first sip, nay from the first sighting.

And it’s got to have an ageing process too. Built into it that is, so that as it gets older its flavours evolve, become more complex but also more intriguing and they draw you in. The site needs to be planned and built to grow, not stretch and go off.

So how did we get here? Well let’s bullet what we did and then reveal:

  • The sales bit – work out exactly what was needed by challenging. Don’t just say yes, work together (us and them) and see how best to spend the time and money to get the best net result for all involved #newbiz
  • The consultancy bit – look at everything, use some CSI skills, turn on the blue light, see the stains, work out what they are, swab for DNA and see how best to do it next time through science #CallmeGrisholm
  • The planning bit – map out all the above side by side and agree what’s next #LittleSteps
  • The scoping bit – in tandem with the planning, and look at it all again, this time looking forwards not back. Spec the tech, the real estate, the channels, the execution and make sure it all works #TheTheoryOfEverything
  • The signoff bit – present, discuss, and repeat. Agree #UpFront
  • The 1st design bit – site maps and layouts, journeys and content hierarchies. Then look at flavours and visual concepts #Layers
  • The 2nd design bit – agree layouts and a concepts and merge #ImageandIdentity
  • The last… design bit – artwork and finalise #Realise
  • The build bit – bring it all together, planning, design, concepts, maps, content all in place and build #Frankenstein
  • The population bit – sticking in the content, which was rather important here as we don’t really have navigation other than related content #BoldMove
  • The testing bit – ongoing cross-platform browser device and all that #ProddingPokingandAdjusting
  • And the launch bit – and finally we flip the DNS and let our child be seen by the world #FirstDayAtSchool

That’s it condensed into 12 bullets. I could do paragraphs on each, and may well do at some other point when I am after something to go on about in a future chronicle, but for now, let’s leave it there.

The point is, work it all out up front. Work hand in hand on both sides of the party, Client and Agency sides. #WorkingTogether

Stick to your guns and have belief in the vision. The grand plan will prove, and has proved, the theory if worked out properly. Get a proper lovely (trusting, inventive and switched-on) client and work them as hard as you do yourself and never lose the faith.

And at the end of it…

Well, it’s not the end, as ‘go live’ is just the start of the next phase with a proper site built to evolve and grow.

You have something you can actually be happy with, proud of. And that’s from someone who is never happy at the end, and not wishing to speak on Kelly or Barton Willmore’s behalf, something my dear client is happy with too.

With a project of this scope and size we all had demons, politics, battles, and fun and games to deal with. We all will, always, but I think, at the end of this one, everyone is smiling and actually pretty satisfied with where we are #Chuffed.

So, do it properly with everyone involved all the time, and we end up like Charlie Sheen, i.e. #WINNING

Go on – here it is –

Hope you like it too… please do LMK.