In 48 hours we built a website. Digitas – along with tech/media giants like IBM, Tumblr, and Oath – sent a lean but mighty team of project managers, designers, writers, and coders to participate in the volunteer program 48in48. Hosted by an Atlanta based non-profit, the mission was to create websites for 48 non-profits in only 48 hours.
This is how we met Smiling Hogshead Ranch (SHR), and how we built a site for them that won the weekend’s top honor of best website, determined by a panel of marketing leaders from large corporations.
There are three reasons why this worked, and even though most projects are not completed within a 48-hour timeline, these principals are applicable to most product rollouts.
1. Trust the Creatives
Prior to kicking off the caffeine- and donut-induced weekend, the client provided information on branding and content to supply us with enough material and direction to plug-and-play our way through the site dev. However, when we looked at what we were provided, we envisioned something different.
After reviewing SHR’s packaged and public content, we graciously asked if they were open to us ignoring most of what they provided. Luckily, they approved!
With the organization’s spirit in mind, the team immediately started sprinkling their creative pixy dust over all copy and design elements (including a brand new logo), while other teams were well into their site builds late Friday. When we finally got the look and feel early Saturday morning, we knew we had completed the foundation to a coherent and attractive user experience.
It became apparent that the success of the project began when SHR took a creative leap of faith with us.
2. Obscure is sexy: don’t take yourself so seriously
Many of the fastest growing consumer and business-focused companies are simplifying their message and promoting a more fun spirit because that’s what the customer wants.
We skewed the messaging to be lighthearted and casual, earning positive feedback from the judges. They were able to easily learn about and understand SHR and could feel its character and mission through the content.
It can take brands forever, if ever, to wiggle out of their dad jeans. SHR chose the skinny jeans and won, proving you don’t have to use grown-up words to communicate that you mean business.
3. Embrace the MVP: the unsung hero
SHR provided us with ample direction on what was important and what wasn’t. They were responsive and collaborative when we offered guidance and flagged certain areas that deserved attention. We focused on key priorities within our bandwidth, allowing us to nail down a limited-but-crucial set of features.
The judges were very impressed with the overall functionality and user experience of our finished website. Focusing on key priorities allowed us to wrap early and spend our remaining hours QAing to improve the user journey and overall flow of the experience. It paid off.
It was an honor working with Smiling Hogshead Ranch and we’re thrilled to leave them with a quality product.
Besides the donuts, bringing home a big win for Digitas made the weekend a little bit sweeter.
Please check out smilinghogsheadranch.org and reach out, volunteer, donate, or just pay a visit. It’s cool.
Digitas members of the winning team: Nick Gamero, Dana Ferruzzi, Zach Zimmerman, Namreta Kumar, Alyce Regan