Flat World Web Design and Marketing from the Ground Up
I’m going to say something that might come as a surprise.
Great marketing isn’t all creative campaigns, consistent design and compelling copy.
Yes, those things are incredibly important, but the key to making the biggest impact is thinking about the overall strategy and what comes next—or, sometimes, what comes first.
Marketing for Flat World Global Solutions.
When Flat World Global Solutions, a transportation logistics company, came to us to help execute their marketing strategy, like writing blog posts and refreshing their sales collateral, we needed to look at the bigger picture.
Flat World provides technology and transportation insights to help clients make quick, informed decisions about domestic and international shipping. (The company’s founders wanted to provide companies with better options—the name “Flat World” was inspired by a book by Thomas Friedman, which analyzes global supply chains and the factors giving companies around the world a level playing field on which to complete.)
We knew that we could help Flat World use marketing to grow their business — but we needed a solid foundation to start with.
First things first. Building a brand.
In the world of branding and marketing, there’s a hierarchy. It’s kind of like the old food pyramid—without all the carbs.
At the foundation is a company’s brand. Encompassing everything from brand positioning to visuals to language, the branding should come first—and everything that comes after should echo it, for consistency and cohesiveness.
Without solid branding foundation, a business will have a hard time being memorable or trustworthy in the eyes of its audience.
A solid foundation for the brand makes marketing easier to make, too. With an existing brand identity, companies don’t have to reinvent their visuals or brand language with each campaign.
Next step, building a website.
Next up is the website, usually the first place audiences look to get more information about a company. If the website doesn’t provide the right information, or help visitors move forward in the customer journey, it’s not doing its job. A great website will generate sales leads.
Okay, now comes marketing.
Finally, marketing is at the top. Often, marketing tactics like social media, advertising and email marketing point to the website, which emphasizes the brand.
But if things are done backwards, say, if social media posts point to a website that is unclear or doesn’t support the company’s brand, things fall apart.
(An important note: branding and web design provide the foundation, and marketing communicates those things and leads to growth.)
This is why we believe doing things in the right order is important for success.
To help Flat World market itself, we had to first build them a solid foundation on the web.
Flat World on the world wide web.
Flat World has grown a lot over the years. As they acquired new companies and expanded their service offerings, they tacked on new pages and content blocks to the website. The result was a somewhat-disjointed and inconsistent web experience. We wanted to give them a website that told the complete brand story while supporting the company’s goals for growth.
Like a lot of our projects, we started with language. Flat World needed to update the way they talked about the company and what it offers. We wrote brand positioning language to articulate what they do and for whom. Their team can use these statements as elevator pitches or across different marketing materials, and they even ended up on the homepage.
Keeping Flat World’s existing logo, we updated other aspects of the brand visuals to be more modern and dynamic, reflecting the power of their software.
A more intentional sitemap and thoughtful calls to action help Flat World’s lead generation efforts and improve the user experience.
And unexpected colors and engaging imagery make the website look interesting while staying appropriate for the industry.
Once we had a meaningful place for leads to land, it was time to get back to marketing.
Taking it to next level.
While our developers focused on building the site, the rest of the team could start focusing on that top part of the pyramid, the marketing, to support Flat World’s growth.
And again, doing things in the right order came in helpful. We created sales sheets with the entire customer journey in mind—knowing what information customers would need on the slick, and what they would find out from the site.
Using the Flat World team’s industry expertise, we also started creating blog posts that the company could use in its content marketing efforts.
After interviewing their team members, we’re able to use the insights to create compelling and educational content. New posts twice a month give Flat World’s sales reps something to share on their social media channels and with existing clients, positioning the company as a leader in the field.
Collaboration is key.
Branding and a conversion-focused website set the foundation, and digital marketing is supporting growth. But there is something else that made our work with Flat World successful.
The project wouldn’t have gone nearly as well without an important ingredient—the client’s trust.
At each step, the Flat World team listened to our suggestions and the reasoning behind our recommendations. When we proposed focusing on the website design before the other marketing projects, they adjusted their plans and we all moved forward. They weren’t attached to old ways of doing things and are always open to hearing new ideas. Without their collaboration, the project might have had a totally different outcome—and quite possibly, a customer experience full of road bumps.
We’re continuing to work with Flat World to roll out new marketing projects and help the company grow. Keep watching to see what we team up to do next.