There are bound to be challenges along the way but a good plan pulls the project through. Barnes states, "…it's really important to try and lay out the pieces of the Web site the way you want them to ultimately fi t in terms of the basic backbone. If you can be as thorough as you can at the beginning in terms of what the structure will be and what the important components are it really does help you as you get closer to completion."
Going forward, Foothill Transit is planning for more changes. "Industry standards usually state that it's a good idea to reexamine your full Web site every three to four years which would put our reexamination stage around 2008." Friesema continues, "New tools come up all the time so we are looking ahead and trying to say OK, would these things be useful to us? So we're already looking at the next redesign."
With a Web site it's easy to track usage, you know if changes enhanced the usability. Friesema affi rms, "Prior to the redesign we were averaging about 250,000 hits per month, at current rates we're going at about a million and a half per month. It was a dramatic change from the time that we relaunched. You could see it instantly."
NOVEL APPROACH NOVEL APPROACH DELIVERS MESSAGE
Community Transit had a new vision and mission statement and needed to get the staff on board. Employees often see many operational policies and procedures and it's hard to get the attention of everyone and to get them excited about changes. As Tom Pearce says, "Rolling out this new message to our internal audience required a unique, fun approach which communicated its scope and importance."
The way the agency decided to go was with a "Coming Soon" movie theme complete with a red-carpet premiere. Full-color stylized posters were displayed throughout the agency. At the "premiere" movie popcorn boxes were handed out. The boxes were "bursting with piping hot core values" and contained laminated core values cards, informational support pieces and even microwave popcorn.
As Pearce says the results were overwhelming. "The unique posters and popcorn boxes created a buzz and added a sense of fun to a very important message." He adds, "Continuing the success of the roll-out, nomination stations throughout the agency feature individual core values posters and employees are encouraged to nominate co-workers who demonstrate that particular value." Keeping with the theme, the entry boxes are large popcorn tubs. Pearce says the agency has received steadily increasing nominations.
Pearce explains how a creative approach, where appropriate, can benefit a variety of messages, policies or statements. "Communicating with a creative twist guarantees awareness and invites acceptance on a personal rather than a corporate level."
BRANDING SETS THE TONE
Branding differentiates the agency, it delivers the message and it can create strong user loyalty. Your brand is your mark - your image in the community. Developing a brand involves an array of marketing techniques and a lot of creativity.
The marketing department for Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) had a long haul ahead of itself. It all started in 1983 when it began planning the new rail. Sue Bauman, vice president of marketing and communications, shares the agency's experience with the branding of the DART rail.
The focus of the branding effort was to combat any negative association with the project. "Between 1983 and 1996, when we opened, we were in a constant battle for our rail system," Bauman stresses. "Most of the public, their only real knowledge of the light rail was the political controversy that they read about every single day in their newspapers." She emphasizes, "We needed to brand the light rail system so that when it began it began fresh and with a great start."
The marketing was not focused on the negative - that was left to the political staff and board members to work with. The marketing team focused on the excitement of a new public project. "We approached it from the standpoint, isn't it great, you're going to love it and it's exciting," Bauman explains. Establishing a fun, positive image was the objective, making it happen would take a long year of planning and implementation.