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Digital Marketing | Online Growth | Strategy

North Shore Digital 3.0 | New Website and Rebranding Transformation

Key Takeaways

We’ve been on a journey…

In February 2024 we launched our rebrand and new website.

We’re happy and want to share with you what we’ve been through to get here.

How did we navigate this process, and what lessons could you take away to benefit similar projects for your own company?

If you’re thinking of rebranding or a new website launch, there’s a lot for you to consider that our story may help you with such as:

  1. The 8-step process we went through that helped us transform our brand, website and and how we communicate who we are and our value
  2. How useful Donald Miller’s ‘Business Made Simple’ course was to help revolutionize our messaging
  3. The need to work with experts in their field on branding, graphics, UX design, messaging and of course, web design
  4. To acknowledge gratitude to all the people who have made this possible and contributed to North Shore Digital 3.0

11 min read

Introduction

July 5th 2022. That’s the date we first met with our branding and design consultant, Jessica Thomson, to discuss a brand relaunch and website revamp.

Nearly two years later, we’ve arrived as North Shore Digital 3.0.

Why 3.0?

Our agency has undergone a significant transformation with this relaunch and it’s because of this we’ve referred to it internally as version 3.0.

The truth is it’s been a long journey and something that every company should go through.

It’s tricky to set time aside to work on your own business if your business is working on other peoples’ businesses.

However, we’ve come through it and out the other side and this blog is all about sharing the process, the why, the how and what we’ve learned along the way.

Buckle up for the ride.

North Shore Digital 1.0

North Shore Digital 1.0 began in Ira’s apartment in West Vancouver in the summer of 2018.

There, Kaan, Ira and I decided to start a digital marketing agency that would fit our work and cultural values.

These values were about productivity and results with a flexible, respectful work environment.

However, this vision had to wait a few years as North Shore Digital 1.0 essentially involved me working as a freelancer with help from Ira and Kaan whenever we had enough work to warrant their expertise.

During this time, I relied on my network and Vancouver connections to go to countless coffee shop meetings to sign up clients on small contracts to build websites, run SEO campaigns and anything in-between.

I personally have very fond memories of some of our earliest clients and am immensely grateful for the opportunity they gave us. The first years were critical to survive, and then eventually to thrive.

Some clients are still with us to do this day, such as ROMEX who started with us as ROMEX Canada West and have now grown to be ROMEX North America with three separate websites. See our case study on ROMEX here.

North Shore Digital 2.0

A big part of the jump from North Shore Digital 1.0 to 2.0 was I joined a local BNI group. Read about our experience with BNI Shoreline here.

This brought in enough revenues and connections that Ira left his full-time job at Mulgrave School to become the second full-time staff.

It was daunting and exciting at the same time, not least because we were in the middle of COVID and the lockdown.

April 1st 2020 was the surprising unofficial start date of North Shore Digital as a proper digital marketing agency.

This was also the start of North Shore Digital 2.0.

We maintained the same visual identity (logo, colours, fonts, website) but the brand shifted to be more focused on Google Ads and analytics (Ira’s forte), and that led to better results, happier clients and more referrals.

The flywheel had begun.

North Shore Digital 3.0

The jump from 2.0 to 3.0 is even bigger for us.

I like to use the analogy of a child growing into a young adult. That’s where we’re at… Adulthood.

We have ambition, drive, focus and a steely determination to get to where we’re going. We’re excited and the world’s our oyster.

We incorporated in November 2019. We’re nearly 5 years old.

It’s time to unleash the beast… 3.0.

The Rebrand

Ok, going back to that date in July 2022…

We met with Jessica when she was working as the founder of DesignCoast, a branding and design agency out of Victoria, BC.

Jessica is Ira’s sister and very talented at what she does. Her talent is representing West Coast businesses, along with their mission and culture, in graphical format, and then deploying this on their website.

Over the next 6 months we ironed out our chosen designs and you can see the results below.

We went for a simpler, more sophisticated elegant design that had a very different feel to it.

Gone are the mountains and the green colours and in comes a logo that is esoteric in some ways… ‘Where’s the S?’ was a common thing we heard at first.

Now, however, once you see it, it’s hard not to see it. For us, it represents the bends and curves of the Capilano River in North Vancouver, our home.

North Shore Digital Logos 2.0 to 3.0 Transformation
North Shore Digital Logos 2.0 to 3.0 Transformation

The Messaging

Visual identity is one thing but what about explaining your mission or why you exist as a business?

One without the other is not going to work.

Our old website was an organic mess… Tons of copy, conflicting messages and pages and posts that had sprung up in all directions.

It wasn’t quite what Sasha, our Director of Web Dev, would term a ‘Frankensite’ but it wasn’t how we wanted to be represented online.

To get clarity on our mission, vision, culture, brand and who are customers are and what value we bring to them, we had two major sources of influence and inspiration:

  1. An executive business coach. We’ve been working with Simon Lowe, the ex-Managing Director of 1-800-GOT-JUNK for over four years now. He’s been dynamite.
  2. The ‘Business Made Simple’ course by Donald Miller. This is the best business course I’ve ever done to get clarity on messaging. It has been fantastic.

Our team spent months going through the online courses of ‘Business Made Simple’ and went through all the worksheets to get clarity on what we do and how to communicate it to the market.

I loved it. You will too. You’ll also likely be familiar with some of its central tenets, such as ‘the customer is the hero’.

In short, Donald’s course emphasizes the need to talk about your customer’s problems, how you solve them and how you enable them to transform into their aspirational identity.

Be the guide on this journey, not the hero. All movies have the same script as this. Think Star Wars with Luke Skywalker as the hero.

Make your customer the hero of their own movie.

It leads to a simple but very effective change; you start to talk more about the customer and their challenges and less about how great you are (doesn’t always apply to blogs though 😉 ).

Check out our homepage as a lesson from Donald Miller. Hopefully we’ve done the course and him justice!

It also helps when you cut out content so you don’t overwhelm your prospective customers with noise.

You want to make music not noise 😉

Here is a one-page template from the course to create your own Brandscript:

I highly recommend you buy it here and go through it for your own business or organization.

The Website

Ok, so eventually we have the visual identity in the shape of the brand and style guidelines.

We also have the core messaging down…

We’re ready to flex our creative muscles and start building a website.

Hang on… Not so fast.

You don’t just start building and see what you end up with. You need a plan and so that’s what we did… Lots of research, planning and then drafting…

Here’s the 8-step process we went through:

  1. Develop Brand & Visual Assets such as logo, fonts, colours (Style Guidelines Document)
  2. Develop StoryBrand messaging about what you do, for who and why
  3. Research trends and competitor websites to create a plan about the new website identity
  4. Build a wireframe and plan out content page by page (we used slickplan.com)
  5. Work with a UX designer to plan out and design content page-by-page based on the needs of the user
  6. Get our in-house web development team to build out the draft mock-ups on a live site
  7. Review and go through the draft site so it is optimized for all devices and screen resolutions
  8. Launch, go through our SEO checklist, then review again, rinse repeat until you’re 99%

And… this is where we’re at. The end of the 8-step process.

Now it’s time to start telling the world about it. Let the promotion begin!

We also have to roll out our new branding and messaging for all our sister websites, such as Landscaper Marketing and Home Services Marketing and add new content based on our content strategy and production schedule to this website.

Every company has to be their own media machine these days. We are no different.

Finally… A Big Thank You…

I’d like to finish this with a big thanks to all the people who have contributed to the launching of North Shore Digital 3.0

My partners, Ira Thomson and Sasha Kevac, have contributed massively.

Ira was a huge part of doing the Business Made Simple course and getting clarity on messaging.

Sasha has led our internal web dev team for this project and kept things moving along with timelines, reviews and internal communication.

Archit is our internal web developer and is great at what he does. He waves a magic wand and brings websites to life.

Thanks to Kaan, too, our SEO Manager, who helped go through the technical SEO checklist upon launch of the new site.

Eunice Chung has been incredible from a UX design perspective. Thank you for all the meetings and reviews we went through to get to the amazing mockups.

Thanks to Jessica Thomson for the new visual identity that captures our spirit. We love what you created and every day gives us more confirmation.

Thanks to our business coach, Simon Lowe, for always having our back, giving us wonderful advice, and helping us steer the ship.

Donald Miller’s course was central to our new sales and marketing approach where communicating key messages and our value proposition is the most important thing.

Honourable mentions are also warranted in the direction of Humberto of Beanstalk in Calgary who introduced me to slickplan.com and to Carly Giroux for the intro to Donald Miller and StoryBrand.

I can’t finish without a huge slice of gratitude towards all North Shore Digital team members past and present for helping us shape our agency into what it is today.

Thank you.

It takes a village…

WORK WITH US let’s get started

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North Shore Digital is an award-winning digital marketing agency based out of North Vancouver, BC. We are experts in lead generation, ROI analysis, Google Ads and SEO for landscapers, home services, construction, health practices and private schools.

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