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Founded in 1998, Brandtrust is a Chicago-based brand strategy firm that uses social and behavioral sciences to solve business challenges and build brand value for their clients. Elevating the concept of branding several levels beyond the traditional notion of determining colors, fonts, tone, and client personas, Brandtrust dives deep to understand Human Truths that then serve as a foundation for a brand blueprint and brand experience for their clients.
Brandtrust seeks to fundamentally transform brands and businesses by pursuing a deep level of inquiry to unleash the hidden potential that is rooted in emotion and has a powerful impact on how consumers build relationships with brands.
Among first brand-building pioneers to address the “say/do” gap and delve into social and behavioral sciences, Brandtrust has evolved significantly over the past 20 years. Now that many other branding and market research firms have begun to make similar claims, messaging on the new website needed to definitively showcase Brandtrust’s thought leadership and the specific factors which set it apart. Key among them is the fact that Brandtrust conducts independent market research and pursues a distinctly consultative approach to taking brands and companies to the next level.
Brandtrust’s objectives for its new website included the ability to efficiently make updates to support current marketing initiatives and sales goals. The company also sought a design refresh, more streamlined navigation, and SEO that closely aligned with the search engines’ constantly evolving algorithm for ranking a site.
The company’s distinct vision and perspectives contributed to a high bar for all that the new site needed to accomplish. A compelling convergence of design, content, and UX was needed to capture visitors’ attention, reflect Brandtrust’s passion and purpose, and elevate the company as the clear thought leader within this growing niche.
While a grid of resources on the previous site reflected various components of what Brandtrust is all about, Solid Digital set out on the new site to convey the Brandtrust passion and purpose right upfront, without the need to navigate around the site in order to piece together the Brandtrust story. This was accomplished with concise and compelling content, along with a modern and minimalist design. Ample white space which gives the content room to breathe contributes to a story-driven user journey, which engages users and directs the focus toward one topic at a time.
Working collaboratively with Brandtrust, the Solid Digital design team maintained the site’s photo- and typography-driven design aesthetic. The prominence of photos synergistically aligned with the company’s emphasis on humans, or more specifically, Human Truth.
Describing the website as a “brand refresh” vs. a redesign, Gillian Carter, Brandtrust Marketing Director explained, “we looked to Solid Digital for guidance. We did not want to change our logo or get rid of our color palette, but we were looking to expand upon the base of our brand’s style. We trusted Solid Digital to take what we had and build upon it.”
From a navigation perspective, the consolidation of the menu structure into a mobile-first hamburger menu, along with the absence of multiple, potentially distracting dropdowns, served to direct the user experience into a story-driven journey that clarifies who Brandtrust is and what it does. Users are then presented with options to follow one of several journeys to pursue more information depending on their objectives and where they are in the customer life cycle.
Commenting on the UX and the degree to which the full range of objectives have been achieved, Carter characterized the site as “a new employee who is now working for us 24/7.”
“It was not enough for Brandtrust to simply have a website that checked all the boxes,” Carter emphasized. “We needed a modern, elevated user experience that sparked intrigue, took clients on journeys that were curated for their interests, and encouraged them to want to reach out and work with us. This site has managed to achieve that and more.”
“Working with Solid Digital was so unique for us,” she added. “The way they treated us is the way we interact with our clients. We were part of the journey, all the way through. We felt great about the process, and that’s exactly the kind of experience we aim to create for our clients.”
Solid Digital’s overarching sentiment concerning the project was that working with Brandtrust was a “total joy.” Despite the fact that the project kicked off and was completed during the Covid-19 pandemic, which meant that all interactions were virtual, the level of collaborative energy between the Solid Digital and the Brandtrust teams fueled expectation-exceeding outcomes.