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Brand Maturity

Is knowing it’s not about you. It’s about “them”. They see you everywhere. From web, to print, to social … to the world. Your message, your look, your brand … needs to be perfectly consistent. We excel at helping companies who get this. And so, we Tie it all together.

Ad Campaign B2B: Davis-Standard, LLC

Product

Industrial Manufacturing Equipment (Plastics)

Situation

B2B

Market

Plastic Manufacturing, International

Deliverables

Advertising Campaign
Ad Development
Media Buying

The Need

Black Clawson Converting Machinery had recently re-branded itself and needed to start over with their advertising. Black Clawson was now part of a large international conglomeration of companies after having been purchased by Davis-Standard, LLC. The client required development of two new International advertising campaigns. MG Lomb was selected. NOTE: MG Lomb was a team player in this process, lead by the client’s VP of Marketing and Marketing Director.

Challenge

Part 1: Shape international market perception of the new Black Clawson (BC). This involved reassuring existing BC customers that the company was still strong and viable, as the acquisition had left many wondering if the company was still solvent. Further complicating the challenge were the dozens of other brands also acquired by Davis-Standard, included under the new company umbrella.

Although the new arrangement of companies offered strategic competitive advantages with BC being part of a larger international powerhouse, the real challenge was getting this message out.

Part 2: Develop two new advertising campaigns, one representing products and the other representing services. The resulting advertising required translation into: Chinese, Arabic, and German.

Solution

Part 1: Damage control. Stave off rumors of instability; reassure customers that Black Clawson still exists and inform them that their products will continue to be supported. MG Lomb developed a new advertisement for this purpose, the Family Tree Ad. This new Ad included all the brands acquired by parent company Davis-Standard, and communicated that they were now part of the newly combined company. It also conveyed that, as part of this new company, they would benefit from being part of an international powerhouse.

Part 2: Develop two new advertising campaigns (eight Ads) representing both products and services. Focus on brand continuity and clarity of message, are well addressed. Please select the examples tab to view these advertisements.

Progress

BC, in its first year of operation as a newly combined company exceeded its sales goals. Shortly after running the first successful advertisement developed by MG Lomb Advertising (Family Tree Ad) the CEO of BC’s parent company requested a copy of the Ad for use in his PowerPoint presentation at the company sales meeting, to deliver his message regarding the company’s new direction.

MG Lomb Advertising continues to support this client’s advertising needs, in addition to numerous additional responsibilities, including the development of their recently launched Chinese website.

AD Campaign B2C: LGB of America

Product

Electric Model Trains

Situation

B2C

Market

Toy Industry, North America

Deliverables

Advertising Campaign
Ad Development
Media Buying

The Need

LGB of America (LGBofA), the sole North American distributor of LGB brand electric model trains, needed quality new print advertisements developed for magazines targeted at their customers. MG Lomb Advertising was brought on to develop a new advertising campaign.

Challenge

The client lacked data defining their market and customers. LGBofA could not definitively characterize customer perception of their products within their market. LGBofA also sought to identify which market segments were purchasing their products, or what percentage of these segments was dominant, as well as segments that were increasing or decreasing. In order to be successful with a new advertising campaign, market research needed to be performed.

Solution

Extensive market research occurred. Interviewed were: retail businesses, distributors, national, regional & local sales representatives, employees, customers, and competitors. Findings were presented to management.

With research completed, MG Lomb Advertising built a new and effective advertising campaign. Developed were: new print Ads, event marketing (LPGA Sponsorship), point-of-purchase, retail cooperative advertising, and direct mail.

Progress

Meeting in NYC with LGB of America CEO and the President of their German parent company (in Times Square, and over many beers), Michael Lomb pitched a template advertising solution that became the strategy utilized for the next two years. The template successfully accomplished increased ad frequency at a lower cost, while tying ads to packaging and point-of-purchase, for increased brand recognition.

Brand Development: Washer Solutions

Products

Washing & Sterilization Equipment & Services

Situation

B2B

Markets

Healthcare & Life Sciences, U.S.

Deliverables

Corporate Identity Program
Website
Print Collateral
Direct Mail
Advertising

The Need

Washer Solutions originally approached MG Lomb to develop a print advertisement. As they were a new client, MG Lomb requested that we begin by first reviewing their entire Washer Solutions marketing and advertising program. It became clear that they were in need of a bit more than a print advertisement.

Washer Solutions needed an entire, and professionally developed, brand program. They also needed help executing that brand across “all” of their marketing and advertising tools.

Challenge

Washer Solutions was a fairly new company, three years old at the time they approached MG Lomb. But even though Washer Solutions was “new” the owners/managers had been in their industry over 30 years, with the primary principal having successfully developed and sold a prior (similar) company. Still, as visual identity and brand were concerned, Washer Solutions had yet to crawl.

To get themselves started again in business, they’d put together a simple logo, and some basic marketing tools. A rudimentary website and short brochure (in addition to some MS Word data sheets) had been created, none of which were designed well enough to be effective at obtaining the business goals they’d set.

Washer Solutions had lofty goals.  They were seeking to aggressively tackle a market where roughly five large international competitors dominated, and dozens of regional mom and pop competitors got by. Washer Solutions expressed that a smart, well organized, mid-sized company could dominate in the space where mom and pops struggled. It made sense, if the small mom and pops could exist and occasionally prosper, that a smart and organized business could aggressively capture market share held by the mom and pops … and maybe even take some business held by the larger competitors.

Solution

Clearly, this was a brand effort that required some sophisticated research to begin. MG Lomb has well over 15 years of experience building brands. If we can share one critical piece of knowledge and experience with our clients, it would be to “do your homework.” Fortunately, the people at Washer Solutions were smart business people. Enabling MG Lomb to develop the single most successful brand program we’ve built, Washer Solutions engaged in a sophisticated analysis of their competition. To begin this project, MG Lomb performed what we call a Competitor Materials Analysis – market research.

The research (CMA) yielded extremely valuable results. It not only confirmed that Washer Solutions goals were possible, but it positioned and explained the current marketing and advertising programs of 25 key competitors. With this data, MG Lomb could work with Washer Solutions to develop the new brand and marketing tools so that they would be more effective than those of their competitors – large and small.

MG Lomb went on to develop for Washer Solutions their:

  • brand identity program
  • all new written content (all materials)
  • advertising slogan & logo tagline
  • website
  • brochures & sell sheets
  • tradeshow booth
  • pocket folder
  • services icons
  • email stationary
  • professional photography
  • letterhead & envelopes
  • a fifty page brand styles guide

Progress

Washer Solutions had originally set a goal to aggressively capture market share currently held by a couple dozen mom and pop competitors, and a few large international competitors. With their old logo and materials, this goal would be difficult to achieve.

With their new brand program completed, Washer Solutions could now begin to pursue their business goals. MG Lomb succeeded in creating a new sophisticated brand program for Washer Solutions that not only allowed them to visually compete with their largest competitors – they were now visually represented as a better choice.

In their appreciation for our work, Washer Solutions COO provided a testimonial to MG Lomb. If you’d like to see it click here.

Corporate Identity: Gerber Homes

Product

Custom Homes

Situation

B2C

Market

New Home Buyers, Regional

Deliverables

Corporate Identity Program
Website
Print Collateral
Direct Mail
Advertising
Media Buying

The Need

Established local Home builder, Gerber Homes, was aiming to increase their market share. Accomplishing this goal was to be a challenge, as dozens of new regional competitors were beginning to enter the market. Making Gerber’s goal even more difficult were some national competitors who had also recently (and aggressively) moved into the area, including Ryan Homes.

For over 20 years Gerber Homes had operated locally by word of mouth and with small scale local advertising. With spares local competition in the past, Gerber had been able to grow and prosper using nothing more than a logo. Now facing the professional polish and advertising sophistication of national builders, plus a growing pool of competitors, Gerber had to step up and compete, using professional marketing and advertising tools.

As the third largest builder in the region, the company recognized that without a professional brand presence they could not increase their market share.

Challenge

Gerber Homes did not have a professional corporate identity. People may have heard the Gerber Homes name, but there was nothing anyone could visually put their finger on to say; “I recognize that, it’s a Gerber Homes sign!”  Gerber’s old logo was amateurish and too many versions of it floated around – no one knew which one Gerber logo was the right one. Worse, nothing in Gerber Homes’ corporate identity program matched.

Everything needed to be redone. Why? When comparing Gerber Homes’ marketing tools, signage, and advertising to competitors like Ryan Homes (who were consistently taking their customers) Gerber looked like a bad third choice. The old Gerber logo and marketing materials did not any give confidence to prospective customers that Gerber could compete with Ryan. Conversely, Ryan Homes had a professional and highly polished corporate identity program and marketing materials. Ryan Homes just simply looked professional, and organized. They had set the benchmark, and Gerber Homes needed to step up to compete.

Solution

Create for Gerber Homes a strong corporate identity program to compete with and surpass the competition. MG Lomb began by developing for Gerber Homes a professional new logo that incorporated an impressive and easily recognizable visual corporate identity. Now Gerber Homes’ customers could see a consistent visual brand and say; “I recognize that sign – it’s for a Gerber Homes Community!” Next, all of Gerber Homes’ materials were redeveloped using the new corporate identity and logo developed by MG Lomb.

Research was KEY to making Gerber Homes’ new corporate identity more effective. MG Lomb began development by doing field research on their competition (a Competitor Materials Analysis). The MG Lomb team investigated what it was like “to buy a home” by Ghost Shopping a variety of Gerber’s competitors, and by learning how they engaged their customers. Local, regional and national Home Builders were investigated, and sales kits were collected. Competitor advertisements and websites were also scrutinized for content and strategy.

With competitor research completed, creative could be addressed. MG Lomb’s creative team professionally developed for Gerber Homes’ its new corporate identity. The new creative was applied to: website, company brochure, stock plan brochures, pocket folder, business cards, stationary, envelopes, e-mail template, signage, print advertisements, TV commercials, mailers and more. MG Lomb placed media: print, billboards, television, web, and direct mail.

Progress

Gerber Homes could now confidently and proudly stand next to their competition. People began to recognize the Gerber Homes brand. The Gerber Homes’ sales team also noticed and proclaimed immediate results, reporting generous customer compliments. The new corporate identity program and marketing materials were clearly useful against the competition, to the point where a fight to gain increased market share was now possible.

Direct Mail Campaign: Sutherland Global Services

Product

BPO, International

Situation

B2B

Market

Fortune 500 Decision Makers

Deliverables

Direct Mail Campaign
Supporting Microsite

The Need

(This is a highly complex, and sophisticated program that accomplished an impressive return-on-investment for the client. Summarizing it briefly would be nearly impossible. It is worth the read!)

If you’ve ever been presented with an impossible deadline, accepted it, and delivered “on time” with amazing results, then you’ll appreciate this case study. It’s long, but we’ve made the story entertaining to keep it easy to read. It also provides a really good idea of how the MG Lomb team works, and what we can do.

The client, Sutherland Global Services, a global leader in International Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), needed a convincing and persuasive direct mail campaign, utilizing web, e-mail and traditional snail-mail strategies. They’d planned a free informational seminar to promote their new service, Sutherland@Home. This seminar (held in London U.K.) would educate prospective customers (managers at Fortune 500 companies) about the unique benefits of their new program. To make their event a success they needed a minimum of 25 business leaders to attend.

Challenges & Solutions

Persuade very busy, high-level, business professionals to take a day off of work, and attend a seminar. We needed to get a minimum of 25 Fortune 500 managers. MG Lomb was given less than one month to accomplish this goal. Complicating the challenge was the fact that our international campaign required sensitivity to some serious cultural, social, political and environmental considerations.

What is the new service, Sutherland@Home? It’s a work-from-home solution, and an alternative to outsourcing jobs offshore. Sutherland@Home keeps domestic labor employed within a company’s country of origin.

The client first contacted MG Lomb about the project at 4:30 PM on Tuesday March 2nd. We were briefed and asked to be available for a Wednesday conference call, with the client’s California and U.K. teams. During the call, we learned that our proposal was required by close of business on Thursday, and, that the project was due – written, designed, programmed, printed, enveloped, addressed, and shipped to the U.K. … in two weeks. (This was only the beginning of the challenge … we were also instructed that it needed to be “HOT!”). In other words – mission impossible. NOTE: We’d like to add; the client’s Director of Marketing had prepared an amazingly helpful Marketing Brief, complete with timeline and required deliverables.

Overall Challenge

Work sixteen hour days, and weekends, for a month. To begin; the MG Lomb team stayed late on Thursday night to complete our proposal. Knowing that the deadline bordered impossible, our team returned to work early Friday morning. With approval pending (our proposal had been forwarded on for signatures) MG Lomb worked straight through the weekend … our first concepts were “due” on Monday, at 11:00 AM.

NOTE: With time to “do it right”, you can. We did not have this luxury. Still, it had to be done right. What follows are a series of four, very interesting, Challenges and Solutions.

Challenge #1. Written Content.
The client’s original plan had been to provide MG Lomb with existing written copy (source data) for use in the new direct mail campaign. Upon review, MG Lomb discovered some noteworthy ideological inconsistencies. Result – the content needed to be rewritten. What made the content unusable? Between the client’s three participating offices (Rochester NY, California, and London U.K.) critical geopolitical variations were discovered; in other words – what works in the U.S. would not work in the U.K.

Solution #1. Rewrite the Content.
To rewrite the client’s content MG Lomb first needed to clearly comprehend the client’s new service, as well as the geopolitical variations. This would be critical for rewriting it clearly enough for anyone to understand and appreciate what was being said. MG Lomb facilitated resolution of these differences, between the U.S. and U.K. perspectives, first by reading, then by listening and asking questions. Next, we wrote, presented, and rewrote. In short order the MG Lomb team helped our client’s teams to a consensus; the written content was now settled.

Challenge #2. The Slogan: Invest, Cultivate, Triumph … @Home.
While enmeshed in Challenge #1, MG Lomb realized that (in order to succeed) we needed a slogan to make this campaign work. Our slogan needed to be simple to understand. Unless we had a short, intriguing and digestible introductory statement, our target audience would dismiss any of the materials we set in front of them.

So what should our slogan say? A KEY program requirement for our direct mail campaign was a “green and environmental” focus. Working with this theme, the MG Lomb team brought to the table our first-round creative and slogan: Plant, Nurture, Harvest … @Home. The idea (using garden imagery) focused on social responsibility, a reduced carbon footprint, and use of domestic labor. It was designed to invoke national pride, and present solutions to problems we knew the targets were experiencing – an answer in your own backyard. The idea was also specifically crafted to our target customers by focusing on results, which would be critical for customers to whom ROI is mandatory. It was a great start, and much of MG Lomb’s original creative would be used. Still, the client requested an alternative.

By request, MG Lomb’s second round of creative pushed a patriotic theme. Although not selected, it did result in further development of the slogan. MG Lomb’s original garden theme was chosen, but it was coupled with the second round slogan (an evolution of the original): Invest, Cultivate, Triumph … @Home. NOTE: After the direct mail campaign was completed, our new slogan was adopted company-wide and used in all related literature and marketing materials.

Challenge #3. Web-based: E-mail Teaser & Invite, Informational Website.
After nailing down the messaging, creative & slogan, MG Lomb developed an e-version of the campaign. The client had planned for the design and development of an e-mail teaser, e-mail invitation, and full website to promote the event. After the tough challenges were completed (Challenges 1 & 2) this portion of our project was a snap. Today, it is critical for any print campaign to have a professionally developed web-based complement. After engaging your print materials, people “expect” (and behavioral studies reinforce this) to visit your website to learn more. You should always plan to include a web-based component to any print campaign.

Challenge #4. Print, Envelope, Address & Ship.
Using recycled FSC certification paper and envelopes (to address our prospect’s social and environmental considerations) MG Lomb delivered the final products to our client’s offices, in the U.K., on time. When MG Lomb is selected, our clients expect delivery of their “final product” at their door and without complications. We deliver. MG Lomb understood that our client’s team was “extremely” busy planning and preparing for their U.K. seminar. So they could do their job with minimal interruptions, MG Lomb and team planned and prepared for (in advance – at the first week of proposal) printing of the envelopes, ordering of paper, and selection of shipping methods. By planning in advance we eliminated the possibility for surprises.

 

Results

QUOTE: “This is much better than anything I’ve seen before!” Peter Cochrane, Chief Technologist of British Telecom; and Key Note Speaker for Sutherland Global Services Sutherland@Home U.K. seminar.

MG Lomb’s efforts resulted in 50 U.K. seminar attendees. Sutherland Global Services had hoped to attract only 25 targeted attendees. With a limited number of potential attendees available (Managers at Fortune 500 companies) achieving their attendance goal of 25 qualified prospects would certainly qualify as a success. MG Lomb contributed to a doubling of their expectations.

Direct Mail Campaign: ITT Corp. Goulds Pumps

Product

OEM Parts

Situation

B2B

Market

Industrial Pimps, International

Deliverables

Direct Mail Campaign
Supporting Microsite

Brief: This is a complex direct mail campaign with numerous components. It addresses a need that requires a sophisticated business oriented approach. If your direct mail need is simpler, many of the same concepts still apply.

The Need

Develop an exciting direct mail campaign (print, email, micro website). Heavy competition in the clients’ Spare Parts business was negatively affecting sales. Instead of purchasing their OEM parts, customers were buying cheap aftermarket parts (bogeys). Sales were affected, and the competition needed to be addressed.

About the Client. ITT Goulds Pumps is a large international manufacturing company. Over 100 years old, the company manufactures a wide range of pumps, for industries such as: oil & gas, petro-chemical, mining & minerals, paper & pulp, and water & waste water. The company is a dominant player in their field, consistently targeted by aftermarket parts manufacturers.

The Problem

Aftermarket parts eroding market share. Heavy competition from aftermarket parts manufacturers (bogey parts) was being felt, in lost sales and service contracts.

The client’s attempts to stem losses were limited to individual efforts by sales personnel. In other words – no one was dealing with the problem, at least not in any organized manner. With aftermarket parts becoming a notable concern, the sales manager approached the marketing director seeking a solution.

Challenges & Solutions

Direct mail was chosen to reach customers. The marketing director decided on a new direct mail campaign, to reach customers and deal with the bogey aftermarket parts problem.

Good data existed. The client’s sales team possessed effective data that countered bogey spare parts value claims. There were numerous strong persuasive and convincing arguments available. But they were loosely organized, and had never been distributed to customers in any organized manner.

MG Lomb was asked to develop a creative and effective direct mail campaign. Experienced with campaign development and persuasive messaging, MG Lomb knew the answer to this problem lay in “getting the customers interested” in what we had to say. The client’s data, and reasoning to purchase OEM (not aftermarket bogeys), was great. We just had to get the customers exposed it, in a way they wanted to hear it.

Scoping the Project

Initial project discussion with MG Lomb. The client’s marketing director asked MG Lomb to discuss the issue, in person. The first discussion revealed no existing precedent for direct mail, either from a campaign standpoint, or from an execution standpoint. All that existed were rough ideas … maybe a sports theme? … a Nascar concept?

The project required some serious consideration.

MG Lomb’s first step was to “think.” It’s worth noting that the best, most effective campaigns, are ones that are well thought through. Instead of simply coming back to the client with “creative” ideas (running on a sports or Nascar themes) we got a brain storming session going.

Research & brain storming. MG Lomb’s team is led by Marketing & Creative Director Michael Lomb. Preceding our brainstorming session, MG Lomb’s team read the client’s input materials and data. Next, we spent a few days discussing the problem and researching aftermarket bogey competitors. We examined their marketing tools, websites, and discussed the best current trends in direct mail.

We found the answer. Next step – scope the project with a proposal.

Solution

Year long (monthly frequency) email, postcard, and micro website campaign. MG Lomb’s tactical strategy focused on reaching their customers, how they “want” to be reached. Our creative strategy targeted the customers’ specific personality traits, inherent in their industry. The customers are smart at what they do, and like a particular type of humor. Our strategy was to tell them what they needed to know, how they wanted to hear it.

Architecting the campaign. Marketing & Creative Director, Michael Lomb, is MG Lomb’s campaign architect and project planner. With twenty years of marketing strategy behind him, he understands that a campaign of this magnitude requires a highly documented action plan.

MG Lomb developed a project plan, which detailed every desired customer interaction with the campaign. The plan was based upon resolving questions such as these below:

  • How will the customer be exposed to the campaign? Print, email, web, other?
  • What is the desired initial customer response to material?
  • How will the customer’s attention retained, once acquired?
  • What immediate value are we offering the customer?
  • What topics will be featured? (SME’s)
  • What incentives are being offered?
  • How will we continue customer engagement, once captured?
  • How will customer interaction be tracked.

Resulting strategy employed the following tactics:

  • Engage. Hit them with humor they like.
  • Offer Value. Keep their attention with data they want
  • Get ROI. Win them over; forum to share & learn, captures data

The Campaign! That accomplished, we built the campaign … First, we engage with humorous imagery accompanied by “have to read” taglines. Imagery and taglines are based on mailer topics – true stories of value, from sales team. Although funny, the brief written copy reveals a “major loss or failure” event, and includes a problem solving sales person. Each mailer briefly summarizes the story, but leaves out key bits of information – driving customers to a micro website for full story. Supporting the drive to microsite is a FREE iPad giveaway (mentioned in all (“Engage” materials). At microsite, full articles (all months) are available, with bios page for sales team, useful industry calculator (captures data), and iPad giveaway sign up form
(captures data).

Implementation. We have a campaign. With all the tactical issues decided, MG Lomb implemented it. Each quarter, MG Lomb met with the client’s sales and marketing teams to decide upcoming featured topics. From there, we interviewed the sales people and wrote the articles, developed the taglines, created the email templates and print postcards for mailing, and uploaded.

Event Marketing: LGB of America & LPGA

Product

Electric Model Trains

Situation

B2C

Market

Toy Industry, North America

Deliverables

Event Marketing at the LPGA

The Need

LGB of America, the sole North American distributor of LGB brand electric model trains, sought to improve brand awareness and increase its customer base. They needed new ideas. MG Lomb Advertising was tasked with uncovering opportunities.

Challenge

Expand LGBofA’s customer base by bringing in new blood. Historically, the client had engaged in only the most well known of hobbyist shows and events. These shows were satisfactory for existing customers, but not likely to bring in any new ones. Further, the client, although profitable, lacked a budget large enough to be aggressive with brand advertising. A cost efficient and results packed program was needed.

Solution

Professional Sporting Event Sponsorship – the LPGA. Market demographics played a KEY role in selection of the LPGA for brand marketing, as the overlap of customers was excellent. The typical attendee’s interests include gardening, they’re affluent, and they take pride in spending money on their yard. The match – LGBofA’s target customers are garden railroading hobbyists. Existing customers do attend LPGA events, but people who as of yet are not LGB customers attend in the hundreds of thousands. MG Lomb’s solution included involving as volunteers, local hobbyists.

Strategy: Visually engage future customers. LGBofA’s presence included a manned product info center, and an impressive 50′ x 25′ outdoor “live” electric model train display, on-site at the LPGA. The outdoor model railroad exhibit resulted in brand exposure covered by local television and radio, at no cost, and gained national media coverage via cable television for the LPGA.

Retailer Cooperative Program: MG Lomb recruited a local retailer and a hobby group to build the outdoor model railroad exhibit at no cost to our client. LGBofA simply paid the sponsorship fee. In return for co-promoting the selected local retailer, in advertisements and onsite exhibits, was able to avoid all costs associated with setup and maintenance at the event.

Cost Control: Where PGA sponsorship was exceptionally expense, the LPGA was affordable. Even better, no competitors were present. In addition to a cost reducing retailer cooperative program, MG Lomb was able to reduce our client’s sponsorship fee by 50%, in trade for a donation of product to be awarded to LPGA Pro-Am winners as prizes, which resulted in exposure of the client’s products and brand.

Progress

Participation in the initial LPGA event revealed a low cost opportunity to significantly increase LGB brand exposure. At conclusion, MG Lomb prepared a detailed summary report explaining how the client could capitalize on this strategy, by implementing a program on a national scale with LPGA events.

Competitor Research: Empire Precision Plastics

Product

Tool & Die Industry; Injection Molding

Situation

B2B

Market

Mold Making / Manufacturing, U.S.

Deliverables

Competitor Materials Analysis

The Need

Empire Precision Plastics (EPP) had been in operation since 1992 and was looking to grow. They had seen their market shrink as a result of international outsourcing. EPP knew that they would have to truly understand current market conditions and their competition before setting any new plans in motion.

Challenge

Acquiring data on competitors. The client knew their own capabilities extremely well. And they understood the need to improve their brand identity. They also knew that they needed outside help to accomplish this.

By the time EPP met MG Lomb they had interviewed half a dozen marketing communications firms, and made their decision. After meeting us, they changed their decision to MG Lomb Advertising. EPP’s President later communicated that, MG Lomb just seemed to have a better plan.

Solution

Perform a Competitor Materials Analysis. MG Lomb strongly recommended the client engage us with this responsibility. At first EPP was unsure about its benefit & value. MG Lomb countered by offering to perform a basic analysis. If after, EPP saw value in it, they could expand to the more comprehensive version. They did.

More than 30 competitors were studied. MG Lomb’s written summary document segmented competitors by size, reach and capabilities, each eventually categorized into one of three tiers. EPP was also categorized for comparison. With EPP’s help, a determination was made as to where EPP sought to be positioned in two-to-five years. A plan was developed to support their new goals.

Progress

By collecting and analyzing a broad range of competitor materials EPP was able to definitively determine their current position, as well as decide where they wanted to be five years from now. This knowledge enabled EPP to develop an effective marketing materials program that supported their future goals – not their current position.

Media Placement: Davis-Standard, LLC

Product

Industrial Manufacturing Equipment (Plastics)

Situation

B2B

Market

Plastics Manufacturing, International

Deliverables

Media Planning & Buying Advertising Campaigns Ad Development

The Need

Davis-Standard Converting Machinery had recently re-branded itself and needed to start over with their advertising. Black Clawson was now part of a large international conglomeration of companies after having been purchased by Davis-Standard, LLC. The client required support with media tracking, planning and placement of a new International advertising campaign. MG Lomb was selected.

Challenge

Coordinate media placement and buying for the new Black Clawson (BC). Although an internal marketing department capable of performing this responsibility existed, Black Clawson decided to seek outside support so that they could focus on other pressing concerns. To date, media placement had been handled casually and firm systems and forms for media insertion were not utilized.

Solution

Create an Advertising Venue Schedule, standardize the media insertion processes, and establish rate control with advance commitments. MG Lomb also became the established point of contact for media, freeing BC from having to sort through endless email offerings and phone calls.

BC knew when and where they wanted to place their media, and the publications had a rough idea how BC might place in the future. MG Lomb helped by structuring media placements in advance, negotiating pricing, developing a tracking process, and creating an advance annual plan – an Advertising Venue Schedule (AVS). This tool details a client’s total advertising expenditures by market segments, publications, dates and dollars spent.

Progress

BC is now able to determine how much is being spent on each market segment and can easily track and determine when and where each ad has been placed. They are also no longer stretching their marketing staff too thin. This support, and the resulting data, is helping BC to determine which advertising venues are producing results, which are not and how to adjust.

Web Development: Davis-Standard

Product

Industrial Manufacturing Equipment (Plastics)

Situation

B2B

Market

Plastics Manufacturing, International

Deliverables

Internal Family of Websites

Brief. This project was highly complex, with numerous considerations. If your website development need is complex, requiring a sophisticated business oriented approach, this case study is worth the read. If your website program is smaller, or local, many of the same business principals still apply.

The Need

Develop new international family of websites. The client’s previous website was six years old. Their brand had changed significantly, and their website no longer represented them. A complete visual rebranding and new website construction were required.

About the Client. Davis-Standard, LLC is a large international manufacturing company, with three major U.S. facilities, as well as operations in Germany and China. The company manufactures plastics converting and extrusion equipment, used by consumer and industrial product manufactures. Davis-Standard’s equipment encompasses an impressive array of plastics forming equipment, such as: machines that make plastic sheeting for packaging, machines that make blown film for plastic bags, and a wide range of supporting equipment.

Challenge

Davis-Standard had been acquired. In the years preceding this project, Davis-Standard had been acquired by a private equity company. During this transaction, a dozen or so competing brands were also acquired. Combined, these brands were collectively known as Davis-Standard. The primary objective of this new website project was adopting these known & established brands into one new entity, and clearly explaining this to Davis-Standard’s customers and markets.

From a business and branding standpoint, this was a highly complex project.

Challenges & Solutions

The client was losing business to key competitors. An outdated and incomplete website program were targeted as serious contributing factors.

Scope Challenge

Convince the client’s management team their project was bigger than they thought. In January, the client’s management team approached MG Lomb with their branding and design related problem; “We’ve got a competitor taking a lot of business from us, and their website program is really good. Can we improve the visuals on our website to compete better?” At the time, MG Lomb had been the client’s agency for a few years. We knew our client, and we knew their markets. We also knew that the answer to their problem was anything but inconsequential, nor would it be easily resolved by incremental brand modifications.

Between January and May, MG Lomb presented six iterations of our website and branding redevelopment proposal.

Six proposal iterations. A full service agency, MG Lomb tackles the entire range of marketing and advertising issues – not just the website. This gives us a comprehensive and sophisticated understanding of all aspects of a business’ related needs. It also makes our recommendations thorough, comprehensive and effective at achieving our clients’ business goals – not just a nice new website. Busy professionals, however, do not necessarily approach website development this way. Subsequently, some upfront discussions were necessary.

At the initial January meeting, Davis-Standard’s management team presented their problem to MG Lomb. Their request was for a proposal to “crisp up” their brand, and lightly update their website. MG Lomb recommended taking a step back to fully examine their problem.

MG Lomb’s responsibility includes providing effective, results-oriented marketing and branding advice. We’re interested in “doing it right,” whenever possible. After hearing the client’s problem, we asked that they entertain MG Lomb’s full perspective on their issue. Within a few days, MG Lomb’s Marketing Director returned and presented a comprehensive proposal, outlining MG Lomb’s take on their problem.

Synopsis. Rebuild Davis-Standard’s existing website program from scratch. Emphasize reintroduction of the Davis-Standard brand (to a market confused about their corporate structure), and, rebuild their website utilizing current reactive website design programming, accommodating for cross browser compatibility, addressing SEO, and improving mobile web viewing functionality.

MG Lomb’s recommendations were considerably more complex than expected. The Davis-Standard management team needed to do their due diligence, so they asked for MG Lomb’s patience while they considered the recommendations.

When they came back, a month later, Davis-Standard decided to do it right. They engaged MG Lomb in a process whereby the project was reexamined and re-scoped over a period of a few months. A proper emphasis on defining their brand, addressing customer related perception issues, and reconstructing their website to relevant technology and social media concerns was implemented. Due to budget constraints, not every recommendation was included, but an optimal cost & deliverables balance was struck.

NOTE: Scoping is the point where MOST website projects go wrong. With zeal to control costs; smart, effective and well meaning business professionals often falsely categorize “website development” as a commodity, delivered by a web developer. It’s not.

The best websites include a scope that accomplishes their company’s goals. Websites are your business’ most critically important marketing & advertising tool. A marketing expert, with supporting web developers, is the correct solution – not a programmer with tangential marketing knowledge. Project scope should support this ideology.

Customer Perception Challenge

Significant market confusion about Davis-Standard. It’s difficult to want to buy from a company you don’t understand. This was a serious problem. The Davis-Standard brand acquisition process had left their customers, markets and industry publications all confused; confusion equals loss of brand confidence – not a good thing for sales.

Paramount to the website redevelopment project was the correction of this serious marketing and branding issue. During the scoping phase, MG Lomb performed market research. The problem was specifically identified and MG Lomb recommend a solution.

The Davis-Standard brand acquisition process had resulted in a confusing corporate structure. The markets were asking … “What, and who is Davis-Standard.” The first line of defense in answering that question – the company’s website – wasn’t doing it. Worse, the existing website made it even more confusing. The acquisition process resulted in two separate divisions of Davis-Standard (and comprising a dozen legacy brands). But there was no clear connection between these two divisions, nor was it understood by Davis-Standard’s markets and customers.

Brand confidence equals stronger market control. This customer perception problem was eroding brand confidence, and contributing to lost opportunities with new customers. MG Lomb’s market research resulted in an effective solution – follow the auto industry branding model.

Solution

Reintroduce the Davis-Standard brand – via the website. When the Davis-Standard management team first received MG Lomb’s recommendations (during the re-scoping process) their initial response was that it seemed inconsequential. MG Lomb persisted.

MG Lomb’s market research had identified an effective website branding model, which would solve Davis-Standard’s division related branding and customer perception issues. The General Motors website.

Instead of only updating Davis-Standard’s international family of websites, with new graphics, MG Lomb recommended creating an entirely new “Corporate Umbrella Website” … a Davis-Standard parent company website – with supporting brand relationship websites … like GM has done with Chevrolet, Buick, and Cadillac.

MG Lomb’s solution slowly gained acceptance, but quickly grew wings. By the end of the re-scoping process, the Davis-Standard management team was fully onboard with MG Lomb’s proposed solution. Creation of a new parent company website, with supporting brand websites for the Converting and Extrusion Systems divisions was settled.

Not only did the Davis-Standard management team embrace MG Lomb’s solution, they found that it provided a platform by which to address numerous other critical customer initiatives, such as: explaining the company’s Green & energy initiatives, technology innovations, address investors, and fully explain the gradual adoption of legacy brands via acquisitions.

Results

The new Davis-Standard website program was a success. Not only did Davis-Standard’s management team and employees perceive the new website program as a great success, Davis-Standard’s customers and competitors began contacting MG Lomb to request support with their website development needs.

Program Summary

International family of websites. Summarily, the Davis-Standard family of websites is constructed and consists of:

  • 7 Websites. One parent, two divisions, Chinese and German variations, plus a U.K. website
  • Reactive home page design (parent website)
  • Interactive design components
  • Cross browser and mobile browser compatibility
  • App versions of website, iOS and Android
  • Customer & employee web based data centers (content management system)
  • Visually rebranded, enhanced imagery

ECOMMERCE: NEED

Product

Equipment

Situation

B2B

Market

International

Deliverables

Website Design

Brief: CONTENT NEEDED

SEO Program

Product

Portable spectroscopic analyzers

Situation

B2B

Market

Industrial & Consumer Analytical Equipment

Deliverables

Sophisticated SEO Program
SEO Monitoring & Reporting

Brief. This is a typical SEO project and Client need, with notable complexities. MG Lomb has a high-level of experience and sophistication with SEO, successfully accomplishing our Clients’ SEO goals. MG Lomb does NOT outsource any of our SEO work. Our services are done in-house, by full time MG Lomb SEO specialists.

NOTE: Although successful in the end, we selected this project for case study, because it is an excellent example of how a typical SEO project can become complicated. Client driven variables can cause failures in SEO, and subsequently frustrations. This case study provides useful insight into why SEO can be difficult, confusing, and at times expensive. At conclusion of the project (a six month SEO program) MG Lomb had successfully ranked 14 of 15 of the Client’s search phrases, in Google’s top ten.

Project Background

Nearly every SEO project discussion begins with … “I want to be number one in Google searches.” Projects that differ include this, but add other objectives, such as pay-per-click programs, or ___ ? In any case, all projects require appropriate needs analysis, cost tolerance, and scrutiny for return on investment. This case study SEO project was typical, until it wasn’t.

Client Requirements. To be number one in Googles searches. And, determine if pay-per-click is useful. MG Lomb’s position on SEO, with regard to typical requirements, is most often the same … Organic SEO is more effective (for ROI) than pay-per-click (if it can be achieved); and, Pay-per-click is useful “upfront” while accomplishing organic SEO success, if it can be included in the budget (this provided no factors would prioritize pay-per-click).

Website & Company background. The Client’s company was fairly new (three years old), the North American division of a large Asian parent company. The new division was formed to take aim at a new beachfront market, using a newly engineered technology. For the company who would own the number one Google position, with relevant search phrases, a lucrative return would be possible. However, our Client was late to the party. As mentioned, roughly nine entrenched competitors already existed. Competitors who were serious about their SEO, long before our client even built and launched their new website.

Goal

Rank three (3) products in Google’s top ten organic search results, for fifteen (15) product search phrases. Develop and implement a successful SEO strategy, for a new company (and new URL), competing with ten established, entrenched competitors.

The Problems. (1) Roughly nine entrenched, well-funded, competitors. (2) Poorly managed legacy webpages. (3) Conflicting Client actions, detrimentally impacting SEO.

  1. Nine entrenched competitors. Nine is not a small number of competitors, when it comes to SEO. And entrenched means they have click-equity, where we do not. This SEO project required MG Lomb to essentially “unseat” numerous well-funded existing competitors, from their top 10 Google rankings – so our Client could rank. Anyone who knows SEO understands that this is neither quick, simple, nor easy. Additionally, many of the competitors were “well-funded;” well-funded meaning consistently SEO active. And a key to SEO success … is being active. So page activity, with on-going adjustment and consideration, equate to strong organic search results. Our competition was active, effective, and investing in SEO aggressively.
  2. Poorly managed legacy webpages. Duplicate, forgotten, redundant, and mismanaged legacy website pages and content “will” negatively impact your SEO. In this case, the Client had literally “hundreds” of old, forgotten webpages. These were evidently not known of by the Client. Worse, few (if any) had associated 301 redirects.
  3. Conflicting Client actions. Unknown to MG Lomb, the parent company of the Client had been “duplicating” entire sections and pages of the website, verbatim. Google takes duplicate content seriously. In the worst cases Google will potentially de-index duplicate pages (remove the webpage from results, completely). Google may also re-prioritize a duplicate webpage. This means, one page may index at the number 2 position (top ten), while the duplicate page may appear “unindexed” (51+), or even not at all. This is bad, and takes considerable time and planning to correct. These serious SEO problems were preventable. They were driven by a situation of “need to know” by the Client, who was overly protective of the web program. This protective behavior resulted in numerous negative SEO problems, all of which required identification, and resolution.

Project & Scope

A typical SEO program requires the following: (1) Identification of primary and secondary competitors. (2) Identification, justification, and selection of primary and secondary search phrases. (3) Setup, of 1 and 2 in an SEO software application (such as MOZ), and integration with MG Lomb’s proprietary SEO goal’s and tracking tool.

  1. Identification of competitors. To begin any SEO program, we need to know what competitors you’re looking to unseat, and how they’re succeeding at SEO. Part of most SEO campaigns involves identifying your competitors, specific to your products, services, and search phrases. Once selected, we’ll add them into your MOZ campaign, to track their SEO results, as compared to your SEO results. Although this is an important early step, on-going review of unknown competitors is commonly part of the on-going SEO review process. In this case study, we addressed three primary competitors per product, plus another three secondary competitors. We optimized three products, for a total of eighteen potential competitors. As there was overlap, a total of nine competitors was decided.
  2. Selection of search phrases. This is the most critical SEO task. Done poorly, you will be optimizing for (paying for) search phrases which will not yield you the best ROI. You MUST select the right search phrases, and document your justifications for selection. This is a complex task, which cannot be automated, nor should it be underestimated. Search phrase selection requires client participation, and usually begins with interviews, aimed at helping clients make the best selection. In this case study, MG Lomb assisted the Client with selection of five primary (product oriented) search phrases, and five secondary (industry oriented) search phrases, for their products. This totaled 30 search phrases identified and implemented. It is worth noting, the number of search phrases chosen to be optimized directly impacts the cost of an SEO project.
  3. MOZ, goals and tracking tool, setup. Once the competitors are established, and search phrases selected, MG Lomb can setup the SEO “campaigns” in MOZ, and MG Lomb’s proprietary SEO goals and tracking tool. This is the tool which MG Lomb uses to provide on-going performance data to our clients. This typical scenario is how MG Lomb addressed the Client represented in this case study.
  4. Temporary Website. An outlier to our typical SEO process, was a temporary holding website the Client had created. MG Lomb was engaged to build the new website, pivoting on the newest product, but knowing we’d eventually be closing down this temporary website, and migrating content for two other products. We took this into consideration, with respect to SEO, during website development.

Challenges

Some SEO projects start simple, and remain simple. Others, are not. Although MG Lomb was successful with this Client’s SEO program and goals, notable complications occurred. All relating to factors outside our control – but directly caused by the Client’s lack of knowledge. What is stated below are actual excerpts from the Client’s SEO report, with pertinent names redacted.

As mentioned … your SEO project has been far more complex than most. And definitely not what we anticipated to have taken on. But our agreement was for MG Lomb to optimize Client’s SEO to the best possible outcome. So that is what we have been striving to do. A little history of the Challenges will provide some perspective.

Challenge #1.  Search Phrases. (FIXED) It took some time (the first two months – we settled these on April 31st) to work with you to select and establish the best search phrases to optimize for. Once done, collaboratively, with Client, MG Lomb had to make physical changes to the Client.com website, so those search phrases could be optimized. This process took to the end of April, which is not unusual, being a result of decisions made jointly, with research and results monitoring of competitors to consider. So not too much of a Challenge, but it does cover what the initial 2/3 month period was focused on – again, pretty normal.

Challenge #2.  Product 1 indexing to ParentWebsite.com – NOT to Client.com (FIXED) With every SEO project, we have to prioritize. This problem was identified by both sides as a primary concern. As you recall … when a Google search was performed, only the Parent company website was indexing with Google (not the Client website). This error was caused by the Parent website “grabbing your page content” from our new Client.com website, and indexing with Google – ahead of us! Google does NOT like duplicate content, and penalizes (or selects) the chosen pages to be indexed. This type of Client driven error is not common. And it created a new problem MG Lomb had to identify and resolve. This effort effectively usurped the entire month of May, until it was resolved. MG Lomb did resolve it, but we lost an entire month to an unnatural SEO problem, created by the Parent company. Effectively, your own Parent company website was competing against you, causing your SEO results to fail. This is because the action taken by your Parent company violates Googles content indexing rules. This issue was identified and resolved, by MG Lomb.

Challenge #3.  Product 2 and Product 3 … OLD backlinks, to ParentCompany.com (FIXED) Roughly nine old backlinks were found and updated, from publication websites – these backlinks were wrongly directing Product 1 oriented web searches to the OLD ParentCompany.com webpages. We contacted these pubs and successfully redirected the OLD backlinks to the NEW Client.com website. How did we find these? In our initial investigation efforts, we wanted to see what kind of negative click equity (potentially causing Challenge #5) was out there. We discovered a number of OLD publication articles featuring your products, with Product 1 focused content. Without a doubt, this was causing problems. But it is fixed now. It did, however, uncover another problem (see Challenge #5).

Challenge #4Product 1 ONLY website launched, before Product 2 and Product 3 were added (Open Issue). By launching the new Client.com website with “Product 1 ONLY” your Challenge #5 was created. After extensive SEO problem investigation and troubleshooting, we think we’ve uncovered the root of the Challenge #5 problem. The original 301 redirects (January), which were correctly and properly directed to the NEW Client.com/products page, established a Product 1 precedent (overpowering Product 2 searches). When we launched the Product 1 only website, there was only “one” product, and no “general” products page. So when you selected “products” on the new Client.com website, you automatically went to the Product 1 page. The next step in development was to add the other Client products (Content Migration project). Still, when you were to click the Products top-level drop down navigation, you got the Product 1 landing page (which forwarded to Product 1). We think, this established click juice with Google (it did NOT happen in Bing) which subsequently drove the other Product 2 results to the “Products” page on the Client.com website, and subsequently resulted in Product 1 results for Product 2 and Product 3 searches. Strange … as we’ve never seen this happen before. And apparently neither have our peers. I should remind you that this is NOT happening in Bing. Bing is, and always has, indexed all our primary search phrases as intended.

Challenge #5Product 1 search phrases cannibalizing Product 3 results (in Google). As you know, when a Product 3 search WAS done in Google (not Bing – Bing indexes fine) some of the results (10  out of 10) are wrongly posting Product 1 landing pages (clearly a problem). Today, only 3 of 10 are still wrongly listing Product 1. THIS problem has been the strangest and most unique SEO problem we’ve seen. It’s unusual, to say the least. To date; my team and I have invested numerous hours (outside of your project scope) to investigate and resolve this issue. To resolve, we also reached out to our SEO peers, current colleagues and new, with all of them telling us things we already knew. Again – we’ve never seen this particular problem before. After trying everything obvious, we started digging deeper, and we think we know where the problem is arising from (also see Challenge #4). There were approximately 600 ParentCompany.com pages (half of them deleted before we even took possession of the content) that have garnered “click juice” with Google. These all require new 301 redirects (see Excel chart). When migrating the OLD website content, MG Lomb did perform roughly three hundred 301 redirects. What we’re saying is we found “another 300 pages” that still require redirecting. MG Lomb feels that this (along with the previous 301 redirect strategy, and Challenge #4) is why Challenge #5 is occurring (although it’s already improved some – see Successes, top). We are confident that it will be resolved within the upcoming weeks (during July).

Results

At six months, the Client’s SEO related objectives were successfully achieved … with 14 of 15 primary (product oriented) search phrases indexing in the top ten, on Google. Our results with Bing were equally successful, sooner. Numerous unknown problems were identified and resolved, such that future SEO efforts need not be victim to problems relating to erroneous actions by the parent company, and by poorly managed legacy webpages. In the second six month term of Client’s SEO project, MG Lomb went on to additionally optimize for the Client’s industry related search phrases. Unfortunately, as the Client continued to take steps unknown to MG Lomb (even after discussing the potential for this to backfire), additional errors were made by Client, causing notable SEO gains to regress, during the second six months. The Client again duplicated the content, creating an exact copy of the entire website, and giving it (unchanged) to a distributor to use – with only a change to Logo. Again, Google perceives this type of duplicate content as “gaming the system” or potentially counterfeit.

Summary

This particular SEO project was selected for case study, in part, due to the fact that there were important complications to share, discuss and learn from. MG Lomb was, as we typically are, highly successful in this SEO project and campaign (14 of 15 search phrases indexing in the Google top ten). However, this particular situation highlights the importance of honest and clear communication, with respect to SEO.

Product Video: Getinge, USA

Products

Washing & Sterilization Equipment

Situation

B2B

Markets

Healthcare & Life Sciences, International

Deliverables

Product Video
3D Animation

The Need

Getinge USA approached MG Lomb to develop an interactive promotional product video.

Getinge is an international manufacturing company with more than 11,000 employees worldwide, operating in over 100 countries. Its world headquarters are located in Sweden, and its U.S. headquarters (Getinge USA) are located in Rochester, NY. The company designs and manufactures large washers and sterilizers for the healthcare and life science industries.

Getinge required a new promotional product video for use at their largest industry tradeshow, AALAS, occurring in November. The Getinge team wanted to explore using an interactive product video, in place of shipping a very large piece of equipment to their tradeshow. Interest was in part driven by an effort to reduce costs (associated with moving a large piece of equipment cross country to their tradeshow). Reviewing some competitor videos, Getinge suspected that an interactive video might be just as effective as having the real product present.

Challenge

The project was presented to MG Lomb in July. We began by meeting with the Getinge team (engineering, sales and marketing) to discuss their need and review a competitor video. Although the competitor video was acceptable, it was a few years old and lacked the current technology and sophistication necessary to represent an international powerhouse like Getinge.

MG Lomb first began by performing research, to find examples of cutting edge product videos for use as reference. We planned on building an unparalleled video for Getinge. Using the best videos out there as a benchmark helped to set our quality bar high. During the month of July, the MG Lomb team presented three times to Getinge, with each meeting we further refined our ideas. During this process MG Lomb presented numerous exciting and sophisticated product video examples, for review and consideration. Our final proposal recommended a combination of three unique and exciting videos, combined into one new marketing tool, and customized specifically to Getinge’s unique needs.

Once design direction was decided and approved, focus could shift to production and the timeline. The proposal was settled in early August and the project (with an early November deadline) began.

Solution

Not only did MG Lomb deliver a high-quality animated video that provides a realistic virtual product experience, our solution also enabled Getinge’s sales team to visually customize twenty eight different product configurations, instantly – and right before the prospective customer’s eyes.

A Benchmark Video Format.  No previous Getinge product video existed. MG Lomb had both the challenge and privilege of developing a new benchmark format for Getinge’s videos. The aesthetic styling, general formatting and chaptering strategy were all topics considered and resolved during this project. First, and most important, Getinge’s brand styling was implemented, using Getinge’s brand styles guide for reference. Next, general formatting was established; MG Lomb utilized a combination of Adobe Flash and AfterEffects software for the interactive graphics, and 3D Studio Max for animation and processing of CAD data. Finally, an informational chaptering system was established, offering video viewers full control over the information they wanted first. For new Getinge products, MG Lomb’s benchmark video solution now provides Getinge with an established format that can be used for all future videos. With these complex issues resolved, new product videos can easily and efficiently be created, by simply inserting new content into the template “benchmark” video format.

Animated.  KEY to making the new Getinge video effective is animation. How do you explain a product the size of a car wash without showing it from every angle? MG Lomb utilized Getinge’s CAD data, importing their engineering files directly into our state-of-the-art 3D animation software. The result is a camera that can go anywhere, directly over the product, inside it, and even into hard to reach areas that a customer could not dream of squeezing into. Even better, we can open and close doors, turn lights on and off, and even show high pressure water spraying. The result is something that could not be replicated with reality – at least not without seriously inconveniencing (or even injuring) the viewer.

User Navigation.  An appealing aspect of interactive product videos are user controllable chapters. Because of the amount of information required to explain this product, MG Lomb devised a chaptering system that allows users to quickly and easily select a topic, and navigate to the information they want to see first. Users can also pause, skip and restart topic selections at will.

Customizable.  Another invaluable attribute of interactive product videos is virtual reality. Using CAD data and 3D modeling enabled MG Lomb to create a virtual product. With a virtual product comes the ability to provide the user with innumerable product versions and visualizations, which we did for the Getinge video. You can certainly bring “one” version of your product to a tradeshow, but can you bring 28 of them? MG Lomb’s interactive video solution enabled Getinge to customize their product into as many as 28 configurations … all viewable in 3D, and part of the product video.

Voice, Music & Writing.  To be successful any video requires a well written script, an experienced and talented voice reader, and some pleasing music. Getinge’s new video provides all of these.

Progress

The interactive product video was completed by November, on time, and was used successfully at Getinge USA’s tradeshow, AALAS. As a result of this project, Getinge hired MG Lomb three months later to develop two additional videos.

Corporate Video: NEED

Product

Cage & Rack Washers
& Sterilizers

Situation

B2B

Market

International

Deliverables

Promotional Product
Video

Brief: CONTENT NEEDED

MOTION GRAPHICS: NEED

Product

Equipment

Situation

B2B

Market

International

Deliverables

Website Design

Brief: CONTENT NEEDED

Website Branding & Research:  MG Lomb Advertising

Product

Creative Services Website

Situation

B2B & B2C

Market

You

Deliverables

Brand Identity
Interactive Website
Animation & Multimedia
Market Research

Brief.  Your website IS YOU … it IS your company. To your customers, there’s no marketing, advertising, building, or presentation that is more you, than your website. MG Lomb’s website IS our agency. It’s who we are. As its Creative Director, our website reflects my creative vision for the agency. As MG Lomb’s creative leader, our website also represents the culmination of my personal creative vision, and my knowledge and experience in the creative industry. For MGLomb.com … I was the Client. No one could compromise the quality, direction and outcome. And because this is what I do professionally, MGLomb.com is everything a successful website should be. One additional thought … this website could never have been built without the amazing talent, abilities, knowledge and tireless efforts of my team. Their dedication to seeing this project through, and the pride they all took in their work, was nothing short of extraordinary.

This is why I’ve selected MGLomb.com for a case study. This is one of the most useful case studies from MG Lomb you’ll read. By example, it explains how to get the best possible creative, from any agency. Such as, a website that is not compromised. You’ll benefit from a better understanding of how an agency can give you the best work possible.

Analyzing Our Website Need

MG Lomb’s website was OLD. Really old. And should have been redeveloped sooner. But the agency was busy and growing, with staff working to capacity with no time to spare. But we were also losing opportunities. MG Lomb builds websites – for our clients. We build custom, high-quality, professionally branded websites. Yet we had an old looking, unresponsive, outdated website. Our clients noticed – not good. The most important marketing and advertising tool of our business was being neglected, because we were too busy (we’re betting you’re familiar with this scenario).

What kind of website did MG Lomb need? A great one. Website options are innumerable, especially in the creative field. But just one type of website would be right for us. Which type? Only research could answer that question. Our need, MG Lomb’s need, was the same as most our clients’; be better than the competition, be clear and easy to read, and successfully convey our capabilities and strengths. But what differed was, MG Lomb required a website that shows our creative talent, our deep industry knowledge, and advanced technical website aptitude, all this while exciting our visitors to “WOW!” Follow?

What would it take? We’re the experts, but you may wonder … What does it take to build a great website? As mentioned, “research” is important, but a wide range of professional skills, creative leadership, and an experienced team are the foundation. One person alone cannot build a professional website. It takes a team of skilled professionals. What does that team look like? Below, I’ve listed the skills our website required; not every website requires all of these skills. But under my Creative Direction I assigned no fewer than seven experienced designers and developers, and myself. These included:

  • Creative Director
  • Project Manager
  • Art Director
  • Frontend Web Developer
  • Backend Web Developer
  • Programmer
  • Motion Graphics Specialist
  • 3D Animator

This is a typical website development team … although simpler websites require fewer staff. At MG Lomb, these are all in-house staff and skills. But aside from the right team, what else makes a website great? I cannot stress this point enough … creative leadership and vision. In the creative services industry this is called Creative Direction.

Creative Direction is essential for most every creative project – but especially websites. If you want a GREAT website, you’re going to need an experienced Creative Director on your project. So what does a Creative Director do? This is the most advanced creative position a designer can have. A Creative Director … is the creative maestro, the creative GC (general contractor), the creative litigating attorney, the creative Warren Buffet, the creative strategist (you get the point). The Creative Director “is” where the best ideas come from. They’re also the person who makes sure the production team meets the targeted creative vision. A Creative Director is who makes your website great.

An important note:  Creative Direction is an added expense, but worth it. I’ve invested far more hours into MG Lomb’s website, than for most client projects, because I was not restricted by an insufficient Creative Direction budget. This is a key area where clients tend to be shortsighted, and cut their budgets. Cutting Creative Direction to save money is like asking a fan to “write a chapter in J.K. Rowling’s next book”. Everyone will notice the difference, and it will be no different with your website.

Step 2 – Research

Research.  A critical step in website development – often neglected – is market research, specifically competitor benchmarking. Barely twenty percent of MG Lomb’s clients engage in some form of market research, a service performed by MG Lomb, prior to their website project. As this was our own website, we’d never even consider neglecting research. I will firmly state … “Without the competitor research done by our Creative Director, and Senior Project Manager, MG Lomb’s website would never have been successful.”

What was researched:

  • Best of web competitions
  • Competitors (over 30 reviewed)
  • Competitor Tiers (3): (1) Largest and widest geographical reach, (2) mid-sized, (3) small / boutique
  • Approach to market & strategies
  • Written content: style of writing, amount of content
  • Portfolios, Samples and Demo Reels
  • Construction and technical functionality

This was research done “in and for our own industry”. Think about that. We work in our industry every day. We’re experts at what we do. Yet we understand that we needed to have our thumbs on the pulse of what is going on, in the broadest most current and comprehensive way. When we create “your” website, how could we possibly know all of this without research? And if we know it’s critical for our industry, why would it not be important for yours? This is why research should not be minimized in importance, and certainly not neglected.

What we learned. First, that our agency must succinctly position itself to the markets we wish to serve. To be more specific … From the broader field of research, we selected three competitors as baseline benchmarks: (1) Big agency with offices in multiple countries, (2) Boutique agency with cool and unique style, (3) Specialized agency with superior strength in one practice. All three were great examples. All three were completely different, attracting completely different clients. And all three looked absolutely unique. We liked bits and pieces of them all. And this is what research is all about. Not only does it tell you the truth about what’s going on out there … it helps you decide who YOU want to be. And THAT is biggest challenge of building a new website … deciding who you want and need to be.

Competitors:

  1. Big agency with offices in multiple countries. MG Lomb works with clients in many countries, but we’ve no offices outside the U.S. That said .. we do compete with agencies who do. To paraphrase Sun Tzu, “Know your enemy”. Due to our research, what we learned from Big agency, was: They utilize a highly-sophisticated business-focused approach to clients, accented by creative. Their approach is business first, driven primarily by textual content, while only supported by creative. They clearly know who their customers are, what they’re looking for, and they’ve adjusted their approach (website) to their markets accordingly. MG Lomb learned from their website how we’d approach those same clients, how MG Lomb (being smaller) is a sensible alternative, to an agency that’s more expensive, because of their size and overhead. We learned how to accurately position ourselves to those clients. Our resulting market position being that these clients are more important to MG Lomb, than to the Big agency, because they might get the Big agency’s B-team. At MG Lomb they would only get our A-team. This is a result of our research.
  2. Boutique agency with cool and unique style. Our second competitor benchmark (Boutique agency) is a small agency, smaller than MG Lomb, with an award winning website. Their creative was unique, and of high quality. But their text, and subsequent approach to market, was insufficient and amateurish. What we took away from the Boutique agency, is large viewer oriented services imagery, and tastefully animated interactive elements, delighting their visitors. Additionally, both the Boutique agency and the Big agency integrated a metropolitan persona. Our team had identified this as a critical weak point … a capabilities perception problem … this based on being located in a small city market (i.e. If you’re located in a small city, you must not be talented enough). This research resulted in MG Lomb’s new “global / explore” campaign and subsequent interactive functionality, on MG Lomb’s new homepage. Some negatives of the Boutique agency were also useful. Although the simplicity of their services segmentation is appealing, their lack of services description left us feeling they are good at graphics only – and lacking the sophisticated business acumen required for complex campaign development. This helped to shape MG Lomb’s new written content approach.
  3. Specialized agency with superior strength in one practice. Our third competitor benchmark (Specialized agency) is a medium-sized agency, similar to MG Lomb, with award winning video credits. Their website utilized large full screen video and imagery. As MG Lomb offers three distinctive services, this example was helpful. Also derived from the third benchmark, was a current and effective style for video demo reel. As this agency has numerous video production awards, their perspective was useful and relevant.


Competitor Analysis Summary.
MG Lomb’s website would not have looked or functioned, as it does now, without this research. It would not have been nearly as successful. To our clients … MG Lomb would have never even considered omitting competitive research, prior to redeveloping our website. And, like you, we already know our field. Yet the majority of clients decide not to spend on research. To summarize: Websites are a company’s most important marketing and advertising tool. Invest in it accordingly, and don’t overlook the critical importance of research as part of your website project. More often than not, research will make a new website more effective.

Step 3 – Strategy

Strategic Plan. Market research provides the clear, fact-based knowledge, of what needed to be addressed. It tells us how our competitors are going to market, and it provides numerous examples to benchmark from. But research doesn’t tell you how to position yourself. That answer, comes as a result of meeting with your executive leadership team, and making hard decisions.

Who develops website strategy? That depends. With client work MG Lomb “might” develop the strategy. But we might not – it all depends on your budget, and your interest in being in charge. Think of it like a home renovation. A general contractor (GC) manages all the skilled trades people. Because of a GC’s experience, they guide your decisions. But, if you have a lot of free time, and you don’t mind trying someone else’s occupation, you can GC your home renovation yourself. Not the smartest decision, for most people. But with website development, many otherwise smart professionals decide it’s something they can do (Hint: This scenario usually works out about the same as if you GC your home renovation). Recommended: Let the Creative Director do their job. For this case study, a key point is … MG Lomb’s Creative Director performed as recommended herein – and the  results were superior because of this.

What was MG Lomb’s resulting website strategy? Every company needs to decide who they are now, and how they want to be perceived for the next five years (you never design for who you used to be … you may not even design for the business you are today … rather the one you aspire to be.) Our research helped us to identify our weak points, our strengths, and provided examples of how MG Lomb might position ourselves to our clients. Again, without this research, our being positioned for the best possible customer perception would have been impossible. MG Lomb’s resulting strategy is boiled down to: Clearly defined services; an emphasis on superior creative and technical abilities; and a focus on our global experience. By firmly establishing our market position, we were able to adopt an approach to market that exceeds our clients’ expectations. NOTE: Strategy for the new MGLomb.com was developed by Michael Lomb (Creative Director) and Josephine Burgos (Senior Project Manager / Art Director).

Step 4 – Superior Creative

With strategy established, now we could focus on making it cool.

Better than the competition. Whatever you do as a business, we all aspire to some advantage over our competitors; better price, superior quality, broader capabilities, etc. In MG Lomb’s case … Superior creative is one of the cornerstones of our market strategy. To make that case to our clients, we needed to “be the proof.” In other words … if MG Lomb is the best choice, then MG Lomb’s own website better be that good.

Three Creative Services. During our research and strategy efforts, MG Lomb narrowed our services offering into three categories. These were selected upon MG Lomb’s strengths, market potential, and experience. Further, it was established that each service category would require its own unique “campaign” (and tagline) to help make a personal connection with the customers wanting to procure our services.

Inspiring our Clients. As stated, each service warranted its own unique campaign. By way of research and strategy, Michael and Josephine focused on creating three unique and inspiring campaigns. Required were: Specifically refined naming of the services categories; Superior imagery (full screen) for each, and professional taglines, all designed to connect personally with each vertical. Michael and Josephine were responsible for the primary image selection and campaign strategy, jointly, with Michael writing copy, services titles, and taglines. (lower case formatting is intentional)

  • creative & branding.  market awareness + smart creative = BRAND DOMINANCE
  • web, SEO & social.  where creative & technical merge into AWESOME
  • video & animation.  creating reality with IMAGINATION

Critical importance of our three services campaigns. We’ve only a split second to capture our clients’ attention. Few things are more effective at capturing and inspiring, than the right, large, photographic image. This is how MG Lomb elected to inspire our clients. With each services campaign, Josephine and I sought an image that would perfectly represent who MG Lomb is, and what we can do for our clients.

Creating our services campaigns. Beyond “making a website” we created three, distinctive, services campaigns, each supported by primary images. That is creative work – not website development. And it was critical to the outcome and success. Campaign development is NOT easy, and we are extremely selective. As it evolved … Josephine initially presented a close up image of a suit and tie, with color pencils in the suit pocket. We agreed the image had strong potential, due to its creative and playful composition, serious business side, and relate to the agency’s tagline Tying it all together. Next, late one night and a bit loopy, we started drawing images on the tie (as designers will do). This is when our new website (and brand program) finally took form.

3 captivating images … Based upon our initial campaign concept, we began searching for other campaign images appropriate for our second and third verticals. The second campaign image (web, SEO & social) was found quickly; a top-down view of an office table, flanked by young professionals. This image already included numerous marketing and sales oriented hand-sketches, on top of the photo – like our tie image. So it met our “playful yet professional” idea. Yet the third campaign image, for video & animation, was frustratingly difficult to find. After some deep reflection about what really makes our video and animation services unique, we sensibly formed a basis on which our image was selected. MG Lomb, by way of animation, makes complex, abstract, technical things … human, and real. My thought was, we needed an image that showed a virtual machine, a robot, interacting with something human and delicate. By this concept, we found the image of a sleek chrome, black and white robot … and to it, we added the delicate blue butterfly. Remember … this wasn’t just “picking out a picture.” This was the development of three “new campaigns” one for each critically important vertical. The care, thought and effort that went into each effort was extensive and significant.

Interactive delight. Something else we took from our market research, is that website interactivity was becoming more prevalent. It gives visitors a sense of participation and connection. Done right – interactivity delights visitors. By adding interactivity, our branded website experience grew one step further. Applied to our suit and tie image (creative and branding services) we added an animated color “scribble” on the tie, using color pencils from the image (this was cool). When activated, all the color pencils uniquely draw on the tie. This is Creative Direction. From there, we added skulls and crossbones to the tie, smileys, and more. To the web, SEO and social image, we added an interactive Pac-Man pie chart, and dancing stick figures. For the video and 3D campaign, we made a butterfly take flight from a robot’s finger, and fly across the screen. This progression took us from facts, to ideas, to execution … and finally, to effective implementation.

Interactive Global Home Page. (Explore) The decision to turn MG Lomb’s new homepage into a pseudo “global portfolio” was driven, in part, by the research we performed. Something we’d noticed that impacted us; all the agencies we’d selected for benchmarking had positioned themselves as metro, or global. Knowing our industry as we do, we realized, many clients have a preference for – or perceive credibility associated with – agencies located in larger cities. We’d experience this sort of prejudice first hand, with local clients telling us, “We expect lower rates from you, because you’re located here.” This always confounded us, as our clients include “not so local” companies, like SiriusXM Radio, Thermo Fisher Corp., Crayola, Fisher Price, Belimed, Smith & Nephew, Mitsubishi, Parker Hannifin, etc. Not local. To address this, we adopted an international homepage strategy. And our navigation uses the word “Explore” to encourage visitors to see all the countries, states, and cities we’ve done work in. By rolling over and clicking the international images, you can see MG Lomb’s global reach and experience. It’s an effective way to make clear to our clients – new and old – MG Lomb is a sophisticated, globally focused, agency.

About Creative Direction

(Michael G. Lomb) As Creative Director, the MG Lomb website and branding project represents my best work. For over twenty years, I’ve practiced my creative trade. And for most of those years, it’s been my honor to mentor and employ artists from a wide range of fields and expertise. MG Lomb’s website and branding program precisely represents my work as an artist, as the agency’s creative leader.

For those who understand what a Creative Director does, you’ll need little explanation. But that’s uncommon. As Creative Director, it’s been my responsibility to establish this website’s creative foundation, the agency’s visual brand, our tone of communication, hipness and style, our written words, and those nuanced touches that make you say … wow! And from my immensely talented team, it was their labor to make my vision live, to do so at the apex of their abilities, with all their unique expertise. I’m privileged to represent an incredible team of amazing dedicated professionals, at MG Lomb.

With respect to this case study. The point is, your website is an immensely complex endeavor that goes far beyond being a simple task. And Creative Direction is instrumental to the outcome. A Creative Director’s time and rates are the most expensive at an agency. But as the saying goes … you’ll get what you pay for. My point is, if you rely on a skilled and experienced Creative Director, your odds of achieving a great website are really good. So reflect on the importance of this role, and include it accordingly. Reduce or eliminate this role, to reduce cost, and there’s a price you’ll pay. It will be in the form of a less effective website program.

Production & Implementation

As with any client project, implementation is performed by the production staff (described in Step 1). The production team was managed by MG Lomb’s Senior Production Manager, Josephine. Progress and development were continuously presented to Michael Lomb, to assure that the style and form of interactivity were meeting the standards he’d set. This is typical of any project using Creative Direction; it is a collaborative process, after all. And our production team always offers valuable ideas that may improve upon the originally specified creative, detailed by Creative Direction. Because the new MG Lomb website was an internal project, we had the luxury of “not counting hours,” and so we simply made it perfect.

Photography. Nearly every new website requires new photography, stock, custom or both. Our new website required a lot of new photos (stock and custom). For custom images, agencies typically reply on outside photographers, especially when it comes to higher-end images, like for our portrait photography work. Our team treated photography needs like we would any client project, and we hired a specialized portrait photographer. There are numerous other photos, but we’ve already discussed our use of stock photography.

Other Content. The rest of the MG Lomb website is highly stylized, with care paid to every detail of graphics and functionality. From menu to imagery, the entire site is a work of art. But, as websites go, it’s also fairly standard. About us, case studies, services … the text that defines us. Not to minimize the effort that went into crafting the text, imagery, and functionality, for the rest of the website. But to us, this web program is predominantly about promoting our brand and capabilities. Most of which is achieved by the home and landing pages alone. The experience we sought to create for our clients is achieved there. The rest is simply support data.

Budget

Expensive, by some people’s perspective. But if we’d have been addressing a high exposure consumer brand website – we’d have been right on target. Some of our client projects have rivaled this budget. While many other MG Lomb website projects are much smaller, both in scope and budget. That’s fine. We’re able to accommodate both large and small projects, simple and complex. But when considering your budget, and cost … don’t shortchange yourself. Your website is likely the most important marketing and advertising tool you own.

 

Final Thoughts

This website case study is intended to focus on ONE perspective of website development – specifically branding, and interactivity. It does also deal with research, creative direction, and provide insight into the approach an agency will take when unrestricted by budget or competing interests. MG Lomb has many other website related case studies, which address other questions you might have.


Related Case Studies

 

Website Branding & Research:  MG Lomb Advertising

Product

Creative Services Website

Situation

B2B & B2C

Market

You

Deliverables

Brand Identity Interactive Website Animation & Multimedia Market Research

Brief.  Your website IS YOU … it IS your company. To your customers, there’s no marketing, advertising, building, or presentation that is more you, than your website. MG Lomb’s website IS our agency. It’s who we are. As its Creative Director, our website reflects my creative vision for the agency. As MG Lomb’s creative leader, our website also represents the culmination of my personal creative vision, and my knowledge and experience in the creative industry. For MGLomb.com … I was the Client. No one could compromise the quality, direction and outcome. And because this is what I do professionally, MGLomb.com is everything a successful website should be. One additional thought … this website could never have been built without the amazing talent, abilities, knowledge and tireless efforts of my team. Their dedication to seeing this project through, and the pride they all took in their work, was nothing short of extraordinary.

This is why I’ve selected MGLomb.com for a case study. This is one of the most useful case studies from MG Lomb you’ll read. By example, it explains how to get the best possible creative, from any agency. Such as, a website that is not compromised. You’ll benefit from a better understanding of how an agency can give you the best work possible.

Analyzing Our Website Need

MG Lomb’s website was OLD. Really old. And should have been redeveloped sooner. But the agency was busy and growing, with staff working to capacity with no time to spare. But we were also losing opportunities. MG Lomb builds websites – for our clients. We build custom, high-quality, professionally branded websites. Yet we had an old looking, unresponsive, outdated website. Our clients noticed – not good. The most important marketing and advertising tool of our business was being neglected, because we were too busy (we’re betting you’re familiar with this scenario).

What kind of website did MG Lomb need? A great one. Website options are innumerable, especially in the creative field. But just one type of website would be right for us. Which type? Only research could answer that question. Our need, MG Lomb’s need, was the same as most our clients’; be better than the competition, be clear and easy to read, and successfully convey our capabilities and strengths. But what differed was, MG Lomb required a website that shows our creative talent, our deep industry knowledge, and advanced technical website aptitude, all this while exciting our visitors to “WOW!” Follow?

What would it take? We’re the experts, but you may wonder … What does it take to build a great website? As mentioned, “research” is important, but a wide range of professional skills, creative leadership, and an experienced team are the foundation. One person alone cannot build a professional website. It takes a team of skilled professionals. What does that team look like? Below, I’ve listed the skills our website required; not every website requires all of these skills. But under my Creative Direction I assigned no fewer than seven experienced designers and developers, and myself. These included:

  • Creative Director
  • Project Manager
  • Art Director
  • Frontend Web Developer
  • Backend Web Developer
  • Programmer
  • Motion Graphics Specialist
  • 3D Animator

This is a typical website development team … although simpler websites require fewer staff. At MG Lomb, these are all in-house staff and skills. But aside from the right team, what else makes a website great? I cannot stress this point enough … creative leadership and vision. In the creative services industry this is called Creative Direction.

Creative Direction is essential for most every creative project – but especially websites. If you want a GREAT website, you’re going to need an experienced Creative Director on your project. So what does a Creative Director do? This is the most advanced creative position a designer can have. A Creative Director … is the creative maestro, the creative GC (general contractor), the creative litigating attorney, the creative Warren Buffet, the creative strategist (you get the point). The Creative Director “is” where the best ideas come from. They’re also the person who makes sure the production team meets the targeted creative vision. A Creative Director is who makes your website great.

An important note:  Creative Direction is an added expense, but worth it. I’ve invested far more hours into MG Lomb’s website, than for most client projects, because I was not restricted by an insufficient Creative Direction budget. This is a key area where clients tend to be shortsighted, and cut their budgets. Cutting Creative Direction to save money is like asking a fan to “write a chapter in J.K. Rowling’s next book”. Everyone will notice the difference, and it will be no different with your website.

Step 2 – Research

Research.  A critical step in website development – often neglected – is market research, specifically competitor benchmarking. Barely twenty percent of MG Lomb’s clients engage in some form of market research, a service performed by MG Lomb, prior to their website project. As this was our own website, we’d never even consider neglecting research. I will firmly state … “Without the competitor research done by our Creative Director, and Senior Project Manager, MG Lomb’s website would never have been successful.”

What was researched:

  • Best of web competitions
  • Competitors (over 30 reviewed)
  • Competitor Tiers (3): (1) Largest and widest geographical reach, (2) mid-sized, (3) small / boutique
  • Approach to market & strategies
  • Written content: style of writing, amount of content
  • Portfolios, Samples and Demo Reels
  • Construction and technical functionality

This was research done “in and for our own industry”. Think about that. We work in our industry every day. We’re experts at what we do. Yet we understand that we needed to have our thumbs on the pulse of what is going on, in the broadest most current and comprehensive way. When we create “your” website, how could we possibly know all of this without research? And if we know it’s critical for our industry, why would it not be important for yours? This is why research should not be minimized in importance, and certainly not neglected.

What we learned. First, that our agency must succinctly position itself to the markets we wish to serve. To be more specific … From the broader field of research, we selected three competitors as baseline benchmarks: (1) Big agency with offices in multiple countries, (2) Boutique agency with cool and unique style, (3) Specialized agency with superior strength in one practice. All three were great examples. All three were completely different, attracting completely different clients. And all three looked absolutely unique. We liked bits and pieces of them all. And this is what research is all about. Not only does it tell you the truth about what’s going on out there … it helps you decide who YOU want to be. And THAT is biggest challenge of building a new website … deciding who you want and need to be.

Competitors:

  1. Big agency with offices in multiple countries. MG Lomb works with clients in many countries, but we’ve no offices outside the U.S. That said .. we do compete with agencies who do. To paraphrase Sun Tzu, “Know your enemy”. Due to our research, what we learned from Big agency, was: They utilize a highly-sophisticated business-focused approach to clients, accented by creative. Their approach is business first, driven primarily by textual content, while only supported by creative. They clearly know who their customers are, what they’re looking for, and they’ve adjusted their approach (website) to their markets accordingly. MG Lomb learned from their website how we’d approach those same clients, how MG Lomb (being smaller) is a sensible alternative, to an agency that’s more expensive, because of their size and overhead. We learned how to accurately position ourselves to those clients. Our resulting market position being that these clients are more important to MG Lomb, than to the Big agency, because they might get the Big agency’s B-team. At MG Lomb they would only get our A-team. This is a result of our research.
  2. Boutique agency with cool and unique style. Our second competitor benchmark (Boutique agency) is a small agency, smaller than MG Lomb, with an award winning website. Their creative was unique, and of high quality. But their text, and subsequent approach to market, was insufficient and amateurish. What we took away from the Boutique agency, is large viewer oriented services imagery, and tastefully animated interactive elements, delighting their visitors. Additionally, both the Boutique agency and the Big agency integrated a metropolitan persona. Our team had identified this as a critical weak point … a capabilities perception problem … this based on being located in a small city market (i.e. If you’re located in a small city, you must not be talented enough). This research resulted in MG Lomb’s new “global / explore” campaign and subsequent interactive functionality, on MG Lomb’s new homepage. Some negatives of the Boutique agency were also useful. Although the simplicity of their services segmentation is appealing, their lack of services description left us feeling they are good at graphics only – and lacking the sophisticated business acumen required for complex campaign development. This helped to shape MG Lomb’s new written content approach.
  3. Specialized agency with superior strength in one practice. Our third competitor benchmark (Specialized agency) is a medium-sized agency, similar to MG Lomb, with award winning video credits. Their website utilized large full screen video and imagery. As MG Lomb offers three distinctive services, this example was helpful. Also derived from the third benchmark, was a current and effective style for video demo reel. As this agency has numerous video production awards, their perspective was useful and relevant.


Competitor Analysis Summary.
MG Lomb’s website would not have looked or functioned, as it does now, without this research. It would not have been nearly as successful. To our clients … MG Lomb would have never even considered omitting competitive research, prior to redeveloping our website. And, like you, we already know our field. Yet the majority of clients decide not to spend on research. To summarize: Websites are a company’s most important marketing and advertising tool. Invest in it accordingly, and don’t overlook the critical importance of research as part of your website project. More often than not, research will make a new website more effective.

Step 3 – Strategy

Strategic Plan. Market research provides the clear, fact-based knowledge, of what needed to be addressed. It tells us how our competitors are going to market, and it provides numerous examples to benchmark from. But research doesn’t tell you how to position yourself. That answer, comes as a result of meeting with your executive leadership team, and making hard decisions.

Who develops website strategy? That depends. With client work MG Lomb “might” develop the strategy. But we might not – it all depends on your budget, and your interest in being in charge. Think of it like a home renovation. A general contractor (GC) manages all the skilled trades people. Because of a GC’s experience, they guide your decisions. But, if you have a lot of free time, and you don’t mind trying someone else’s occupation, you can GC your home renovation yourself. Not the smartest decision, for most people. But with website development, many otherwise smart professionals decide it’s something they can do (Hint: This scenario usually works out about the same as if you GC your home renovation). Recommended: Let the Creative Director do their job. For this case study, a key point is … MG Lomb’s Creative Director performed as recommended herein – and the  results were superior because of this.

What was MG Lomb’s resulting website strategy? Every company needs to decide who they are now, and how they want to be perceived for the next five years (you never design for who you used to be … you may not even design for the business you are today … rather the one you aspire to be.) Our research helped us to identify our weak points, our strengths, and provided examples of how MG Lomb might position ourselves to our clients. Again, without this research, our being positioned for the best possible customer perception would have been impossible. MG Lomb’s resulting strategy is boiled down to: Clearly defined services; an emphasis on superior creative and technical abilities; and a focus on our global experience. By firmly establishing our market position, we were able to adopt an approach to market that exceeds our clients’ expectations. NOTE: Strategy for the new MGLomb.com was developed by Michael Lomb (Creative Director) and Josephine Burgos (Senior Project Manager / Art Director).

Step 4 – Superior Creative

With strategy established, now we could focus on making it cool.

Better than the competition. Whatever you do as a business, we all aspire to some advantage over our competitors; better price, superior quality, broader capabilities, etc. In MG Lomb’s case … Superior creative is one of the cornerstones of our market strategy. To make that case to our clients, we needed to “be the proof.” In other words … if MG Lomb is the best choice, then MG Lomb’s own website better be that good.

Three Creative Services. During our research and strategy efforts, MG Lomb narrowed our services offering into three categories. These were selected upon MG Lomb’s strengths, market potential, and experience. Further, it was established that each service category would require its own unique “campaign” (and tagline) to help make a personal connection with the customers wanting to procure our services.

Inspiring our Clients. As stated, each service warranted its own unique campaign. By way of research and strategy, Michael and Josephine focused on creating three unique and inspiring campaigns. Required were: Specifically refined naming of the services categories; Superior imagery (full screen) for each, and professional taglines, all designed to connect personally with each vertical. Michael and Josephine were responsible for the primary image selection and campaign strategy, jointly, with Michael writing copy, services titles, and taglines. (lower case formatting is intentional)

  • creative & branding.  market awareness + smart creative = BRAND DOMINANCE
  • web, SEO & social.  where creative & technical merge into AWESOME
  • video & animation.  creating reality with IMAGINATION

Critical importance of our three services campaigns. We’ve only a split second to capture our clients’ attention. Few things are more effective at capturing and inspiring, than the right, large, photographic image. This is how MG Lomb elected to inspire our clients. With each services campaign, Josephine and I sought an image that would perfectly represent who MG Lomb is, and what we can do for our clients.

Creating our services campaigns. Beyond “making a website” we created three, distinctive, services campaigns, each supported by primary images. That is creative work – not website development. And it was critical to the outcome and success. Campaign development is NOT easy, and we are extremely selective. As it evolved … Josephine initially presented a close up image of a suit and tie, with color pencils in the suit pocket. We agreed the image had strong potential, due to its creative and playful composition, serious business side, and relate to the agency’s tagline Tying it all together. Next, late one night and a bit loopy, we started drawing images on the tie (as designers will do). This is when our new website (and brand program) finally took form.

3 captivating images … Based upon our initial campaign concept, we began searching for other campaign images appropriate for our second and third verticals. The second campaign image (web, SEO & social) was found quickly; a top-down view of an office table, flanked by young professionals. This image already included numerous marketing and sales oriented hand-sketches, on top of the photo – like our tie image. So it met our “playful yet professional” idea. Yet the third campaign image, for video & animation, was frustratingly difficult to find. After some deep reflection about what really makes our video and animation services unique, we sensibly formed a basis on which our image was selected. MG Lomb, by way of animation, makes complex, abstract, technical things … human, and real. My thought was, we needed an image that showed a virtual machine, a robot, interacting with something human and delicate. By this concept, we found the image of a sleek chrome, black and white robot … and to it, we added the delicate blue butterfly. Remember … this wasn’t just “picking out a picture.” This was the development of three “new campaigns” one for each critically important vertical. The care, thought and effort that went into each effort was extensive and significant.

Interactive delight. Something else we took from our market research, is that website interactivity was becoming more prevalent. It gives visitors a sense of participation and connection. Done right – interactivity delights visitors. By adding interactivity, our branded website experience grew one step further. Applied to our suit and tie image (creative and branding services) we added an animated color “scribble” on the tie, using color pencils from the image (this was cool). When activated, all the color pencils uniquely draw on the tie. This is Creative Direction. From there, we added skulls and crossbones to the tie, smileys, and more. To the web, SEO and social image, we added an interactive Pac-Man pie chart, and dancing stick figures. For the video and 3D campaign, we made a butterfly take flight from a robot’s finger, and fly across the screen. This progression took us from facts, to ideas, to execution … and finally, to effective implementation.

Interactive Global Home Page. (Explore) The decision to turn MG Lomb’s new homepage into a pseudo “global portfolio” was driven, in part, by the research we performed. Something we’d noticed that impacted us; all the agencies we’d selected for benchmarking had positioned themselves as metro, or global. Knowing our industry as we do, we realized, many clients have a preference for – or perceive credibility associated with – agencies located in larger cities. We’d experience this sort of prejudice first hand, with local clients telling us, “We expect lower rates from you, because you’re located here.” This always confounded us, as our clients include “not so local” companies, like SiriusXM Radio, Thermo Fisher Corp., Crayola, Fisher Price, Belimed, Smith & Nephew, Mitsubishi, Parker Hannifin, etc. Not local. To address this, we adopted an international homepage strategy. And our navigation uses the word “Explore” to encourage visitors to see all the countries, states, and cities we’ve done work in. By rolling over and clicking the international images, you can see MG Lomb’s global reach and experience. It’s an effective way to make clear to our clients – new and old – MG Lomb is a sophisticated, globally focused, agency.

About Creative Direction

(Michael G. Lomb) As Creative Director, the MG Lomb website and branding project represents my best work. For over twenty years, I’ve practiced my creative trade. And for most of those years, it’s been my honor to mentor and employ artists from a wide range of fields and expertise. MG Lomb’s website and branding program precisely represents my work as an artist, as the agency’s creative leader.

For those who understand what a Creative Director does, you’ll need little explanation. But that’s uncommon. As Creative Director, it’s been my responsibility to establish this website’s creative foundation, the agency’s visual brand, our tone of communication, hipness and style, our written words, and those nuanced touches that make you say … wow! And from my immensely talented team, it was their labor to make my vision live, to do so at the apex of their abilities, with all their unique expertise. I’m privileged to represent an incredible team of amazing dedicated professionals, at MG Lomb.

With respect to this case study. The point is, your website is an immensely complex endeavor that goes far beyond being a simple task. And Creative Direction is instrumental to the outcome. A Creative Director’s time and rates are the most expensive at an agency. But as the saying goes … you’ll get what you pay for. My point is, if you rely on a skilled and experienced Creative Director, your odds of achieving a great website are really good. So reflect on the importance of this role, and include it accordingly. Reduce or eliminate this role, to reduce cost, and there’s a price you’ll pay. It will be in the form of a less effective website program.

Production & Implementation

As with any client project, implementation is performed by the production staff (described in Step 1). The production team was managed by MG Lomb’s Senior Production Manager, Josephine. Progress and development were continuously presented to Michael Lomb, to assure that the style and form of interactivity were meeting the standards he’d set. This is typical of any project using Creative Direction; it is a collaborative process, after all. And our production team always offers valuable ideas that may improve upon the originally specified creative, detailed by Creative Direction. Because the new MG Lomb website was an internal project, we had the luxury of “not counting hours,” and so we simply made it perfect.

Photography. Nearly every new website requires new photography, stock, custom or both. Our new website required a lot of new photos (stock and custom). For custom images, agencies typically reply on outside photographers, especially when it comes to higher-end images, like for our portrait photography work. Our team treated photography needs like we would any client project, and we hired a specialized portrait photographer. There are numerous other photos, but we’ve already discussed our use of stock photography.

Other Content. The rest of the MG Lomb website is highly stylized, with care paid to every detail of graphics and functionality. From menu to imagery, the entire site is a work of art. But, as websites go, it’s also fairly standard. About us, case studies, services … the text that defines us. Not to minimize the effort that went into crafting the text, imagery, and functionality, for the rest of the website. But to us, this web program is predominantly about promoting our brand and capabilities. Most of which is achieved by the home and landing pages alone. The experience we sought to create for our clients is achieved there. The rest is simply support data.

Budget

Expensive, by some people’s perspective. But if we’d have been addressing a high exposure consumer brand website – we’d have been right on target. Some of our client projects have rivaled this budget. While many other MG Lomb website projects are much smaller, both in scope and budget. That’s fine. We’re able to accommodate both large and small projects, simple and complex. But when considering your budget, and cost … don’t shortchange yourself. Your website is likely the most important marketing and advertising tool you own.

 

Final Thoughts

This website case study is intended to focus on ONE perspective of website development – specifically branding, and interactivity. It does also deal with research, creative direction, and provide insight into the approach an agency will take when unrestricted by budget or competing interests. MG Lomb has many other website related case studies, which address other questions you might have.


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