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Macro Website + Portal Redesign and Consolidation Case Study

Ajinomoto wanted to work with a web design agency that concentrated on aligning brand messaging and improving customer experience through a consolidated macro website build and a fully-redesigned customer portal.

Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition North America (AHN)

“Eat Well, Live Well.” -Ajinomoto

For global company Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition North America (AHN), the best way to change the world is to harness the power of amino acids and create opportunities to improve the world through them. AHN, located in Eddyville, IA, is a leading health and food technology solution provider, contributing innovation to nine primary industries: biopharmaceutical, food & beverage, sports & wellness nutrition, food service, animal nutrition, nutraceuticals, specialty & personal care, regenerative medicine, and medical food. 

As part of Ajinomoto, AHN has a pioneering spirit and is driven by contributing significant advances in nutrition and health to create a better life for everyone in the world. They started with the discovery of umami, which led to monosodium glutamate, the world’s first umami seasoning, and have been harnessing the power of amino acids to better the world ever since.

Global Company Seeking Efficiency Experts

Through amino science, AHN is committed to solving three worldwide problems: health & wellness, food resources, and sustainability. Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition (AHN) is part of the Ajinomoto family, which was founded over 110 years ago. And over the years, the company grew–and with it, their departments and corresponding websites also began to grow. Soon, AHN found themselves with 26 disparate websites to manage, all with varied messaging, an inconsistent customer experience and a long list of IT expenses and hosting costs for each of their websites. To improve their customer experience and brand awareness, AHN needed to consolidate to a single website, built around a cohesive message and a custom-made client portal. Enter: Solid Digital.

A Focus on ROI

Ajinomoto engaged Solid Digital to help with several pain points in their online presence:

  • lack of brand awareness,
  • isolated and inconsistent customer experience,
  • lack of digital lead generation funnel use, 
  • low web traffic, poor keyword equity, and missing SEO best practices

AHN sought to digitally transform and unite their brands under one platform with an experience that showcased AHN as the leading food and health technology solution provider. Unifying the brands and engaging customers in a consistent way would require a total consolidation and content overhaul of AHN’s 26 websites. Additionally, a bespoke customer portal would improve ROI and guide the customer experience towards consistency.

Analyze This and That

Solid Digital’s project managers and marketing team conducted over 15 interviews, which included division heads at AHN,  as well as clients, the (eventual) end-users of the newly-designed website and portal. This in-depth discovery process revealed the ideal standards and preferences for both clients and company, and Solid Digital moved on to gathering analytics from and commencing audits of each of the 26 AHN websites. SEO audits and content audits helped Solid Digital parse out the most important company data, aiding conversations with division heads about distilling down to the essentials of their discrete sites.

Representation Within A [Site] Hierarchy

Each department at AHN previously had its own website. Each of those websites had a similar, but not-quite-aligned message. From the start, each stakeholder was assured that the sites they managed would translate into a well-represented, single website that showed all AHN had to offer. Solid Digital’s team met the challenge of aligning each of the websites’ messages into one through concentrated discovery and apt site architecture skills. The second challenge was creating a client-centric customer portal that both catered to the previous experience, but could expand further as AHN grew its client base and product offerings.

Putting the Quest in Question

Teamwork Making the Dream Work 

In order to digitally unite the entire company under one platform, the website consolidation required a site map that would cover each necessary piece of data. Solid Digital’s creative team analyzed all the data from each of the websites, undertook the design and the UX/UI, and worked hand-in-hand with the client to finalize a site map informed by stakeholder interviews. 

By focusing on the data, the product, and telling the brand story in a systemized way, Solid Digital created a user path that aligned with the client base in AHN’s legion industries. Each of the 26 site managers were able to keep pared-down portions of their website that were integral to Ajinomoto’s brand, while website visitors were guided to find what they need. Additionally, breaking the site down into applications of each product created a logical, frictionless UX path leading down the sales funnel.

Once the site map was complete, the wireframes came into play, with particular attention given to each Ajinomoto product and the solution it provides. Also integral to the UX/UI, SEO-friendly 301 redirects in the site map ensured clients could easily find content through past bookmarks, or intuitively, through the drop down menu options. Much of the copy for the website was rewritten as well, to ensure the website was on par (in both design and copy) with Ajinomoto’s global brand.

Consolidation, Communication, Consistency

For Ajinomoto, challenges rose around brand recognition, SEO value, and general team efficiency. The website consolidation improved SEO value, and the rewritten copy for the macro website aided in SEO performance. Through crafted web page templates, brand recognition was dialed up with the new website, and the AHN marketing team was given the chance to manage the communication style.

When the time for rollout came, AHN and Solid Digital maintained consistent communication. Per Solid Digital’s recommendation, AHN allowed a test week prior to the press release and the corresponding launch. Users were alerted via email to re-register for the portal ahead of time, sent two additional reminder emails about the launch, and the press release was published on the general website one week after the website was up. In this way, AHN’s clients were ready for the change, and experienced the website’s flawless functionality when it was officially launched.

Outcome: Better All Together

Post-launch, the macro website shows positive analytics results. Of AHN’s 26 websites, a handful did not have historical analytics to reference, making for obvious improvement and proven ROI. The marketing team and IT team also saw lowered web hosting costs and improved efficiency through managing a single site, with burgeoning opportunities for cross-selling products. Most importantly, customers of AHN’s website loved using the new portal and had generous feedback for the company. 

Through a consolidated macro website and a built-from-scratch customer portal, Solid Digital helped Ajinomoto maximize brand awareness and concentrate the company’s visual brand identity and messaging. They also improved consistency in customer experience, increased leads, and ultimately provided cost efficiency and improved time management across multiple departments at AHN.