The (Long) Story of New Branding and Websites
When 2014 started, we set a goal to improve our websites. Our main site (lifecenters.com) and our client focused website (pregnancychoicesindy.com) both were 8+ years old and showing their age (websites age in dog years). The main site was difficult to edit and was written in a programming language that was no longer being supported. It was also cumbersome and unable to handle many of the things found in a more modern website. The client site was worse. I could not update it at all, and when we moved into our Admin office, the address listed on the website stayed the same.
I began to interview web developers. I ended up interviewing eight different groups. It was probably premature, since we had no budget for a website. We applied for a grant from Grace Church for the project based on the average estimates from web developers that I had interviewed. On February 27th, we were notified by Grace that they were awarding us the grant for our website! God had answered our prayers! I quickly narrowed down the developers to three and did a second round of interviews. We wanted to know who had the most experience in coding and designing the next generation website. These developers had came up when we had been searching how to design shopify website as we were going to sell products to donate to charitable causes.
We decided on Fishhook to do the project. They are a local Christian communications and web-development group that has worked with many of the top ministries and churches in Indiana. In April, they went to work. The web development project was going well, but after a lot of prep work and discussion, I was struck by something that had been in the back of my mind since we started, ‘Was our branding where it needed to be?’ What if we built these two websites around our current look and then in a year needed to change it all? What would that cost? Tom and I discussed it, and we agreed to ask for Fishhook to do an analysis regarding our branding. After all, they were branding experts and had led many churches and ministries through the branding process before. Many people find the help of Portland Video Production can be really helpful in getting a brand out there. When they replied with some recommendations, we decided to go with what they termed a “branding refresh” – same name, new colors, new mark and new tagline. They could also fit this into our budget from the grant we received from Grace. On July 7th, we gave them the green light.
A branding refresh would mean that web development would halt and our deadlines would be moved back a couple of months. Did I mention Fishhook is meticulous? One of the reasons I chose them was because of their attention to detail and their ability to pull the information out of their clients rather than just write code. They conducted several meetings with differing groups gaining a full understanding of Life Centers. One of the words that came out again and again was compassion, which would eventually become key in our new tagline.
Through two rounds of meeting with our branding team, they brought a final proposal to me on October 7th. I was happy. For the volunteer/donor side, it was not a dramatic change, but it was dramatically better:
It was simpler, brighter and had a bold new tagline. The client side branding was a dramatic change:
We didn’t have branding before and now we do. It was the client website address that we have been using for almost a decade. Our centers can now have signage and names, whereas before the clients simply knew us as the “East Center” or “Downtown Center”. You might be surprised how hard it is to promote or advertise to potential clients something that does not have a name. But now we have a name for those purposes.
Now that the branding was set, it was time to work on websites again. Over the next month and a half, I worked on the website with Fishhook every day. There was a lot to do, but I was not alone. Besides Fishhook and myself, Angela McColgin (a writer who volunteered her time), Heather Miller (our graphic designer) and Tammy Johnson (our resident gladiator of grammar) all worked on it. It was a lot of work, but it was coming together.
On December 3rd, both sites went live. We are very pleased with how they turned out. Both sites are now mobile friendly (you can use them with a cell phone). Lifecenters.com is easier to navigate and has new features like blogs and a more engaging staff page. Pregnancychoicesindy.com now allows clients to make an online appointment for any of our centers.
We are so thankful for God providing funds through Grace Church. We are thankful for Grace Church for granting us the funds. We are thankful to Fishhook and everyone else who worked on the branding and the websites. (And thank you for reading this.) Two websites and new branding with no budget = God moved.
Please look around both sites and let me know what you think.