Kalexiko & Business Report: The Digital Odyssey

Here at Kalexiko we have had the opportunity to work with some really interesting and inspirational clients. Occasionally we like to showcase certain projects we have worked on to provide an insight into how we work with our clientele and some of the journeys we have embarked upon.

 

One of the most recent and successful journeys of ours was the the redesign of Business Report. This was a very important project for us and a lot lay on our shoulders, as you will find out…

 

Kalexiko are proud to present; Business Report: The Digital Odyssey.

 

‘Read all about it; the history of Business Report’

Business Report beginnings go back thirty years ago when it was established by Birmingham journalist Andy Skinner, before being bought out by the ‘Aim Listed’ 10 Group plc.

 

In 2002 it was taken over by Jason Pitt and his team. Since then it has flourished from a small local business newspaper into one of the most progressive publishers in the West Midlands.

 

Business Report used to take the form of a free weekly newspaper that was delivered to thousands of businesses across the country.

 

Obviously, it being a free newspaper meant that its survival would be tough at times, but Business Report maintained itself through selling on-page advertising space.

 

But in 2012 Business Report made a bold decision, a decision that would change the publication forever and ultimately balance its future on a pinhead.

 

‘News Flash; Business Report go digital!’

Ten years after taking over Business Report, Jason Pitt decided that the publication had to go into a new direction.

 

He envisioned a new digital Business Report; a strictly online publication. This meant an end to the formula that had proven successful for Business Report. This decision could potentially make or break the publication.

 

Mr. Pitt realised that a lot of newspapers were ‘forced to go digital’ due to falling revenues. In many cases the transition from print to digital hadn’t proven successful for many publications. Due to the boom of e-readers many people found it more convenient downloading publications in a digital format, obviously this meant for many long established publications that times were changing and they needed to too.

 

Obviously, this was a bitter pill for many ‘old-school’ publications. Many niche publications dwindled for many reasons; a dichotomy in digital and print seeking audiences leading to dwindling sales, attempts to go digital being clumsily managed and of course the economical recession. All this meant that people were just not buying printed publications as much as they used to.

 

Nevertheless Mr. Pitt decided to take the risk; joining forces with Kalexiko the digital revitalisation of Business Review commenced.

 

‘Breaking News; Business Report join forces with Kalexiko design agency’

Never afraid to get our hands dirty, we accepted the challenge. We knew what was at stake with this project. We had to successfully digitalise a publication that had thirty years of success in print form. If we didn’t deliver, it could have spelt the end of one of the midlands most important and well established publications.

 

Our main objective was to successfully transform the whole of Business Report’s business model from print to digital- that was paramount as everything rested upon this transition being a success.

 

We wanted to make a website for Business Report that would relish the publications print form. We didn’t want to remove it too far from its original context. Not alienating the current customer base of the paper was important. So it was vital that we carefully mapped out the aesthetics of the site; the typography and the placement of articles and advertisements had to resemble the print form in some way.

 

Secondly, and equally as important was consideration of the  advertisements. Business Report survived as a free publication through tenacious and successful relationships with other businesses. We had to ensure that website adverts were included and that they generated business sales better than the advertisements in the newspaper did. This meant taking full advantage of placement opportunities and internet visibility.

 

Thirdly, ease of usability had to be considered. This would pose a huge challenge. The advantage print publication has is that navigation merely requires a turn of a page. Information is easy enough to find, granted the paper is laid out well enough. To find information there is a contents or a reader becomes familiar with the content layout; most subscribers to a publication know the rough whereabouts of certain content through habituality.

 

A website on the other hand is endless. There is a plethora of information stored in a myriad of web-pages that go on forever. We had to devise a way in which website navigation could flow seamlessly. This was made challenging by the fact that Business Report was making its first digital transition. We had to ensure that readers of the newspaper would be able to find the content they were familiar with in the publication as easily on the website. This had to be an instant success. We had to ensure that the readership still felt like they were reading the same publication.

 

The sensitivity of the reader was an area that we had to penetrate to the core. We wanted to guarantee that the readers would be receiving a similar service as they were with the newspaper, while enhancing it with the features that were available on the web.

 

The delivery of the news on a regular basis, similar to the newspaper had to continue. We wanted to keep the articles current but again without alienating or perturbing the readers.

 

The challenge seemed a daunting one, we would have to implement all of our creativity, knowledge and maybe take a couple of risks to ensure that Business Report’s future was a successful one…it was time to get our hands dirty.

 

‘Fresh from Kalexiko HQ; We have the solutions!’

The task was underway, we had to address all of the challenges with solutions. We had to consider every how every single area of Business Report could be change to suit a digital audience, this meant acute awareness to detail in every part.

 

Aesthetics of Business Report

In consideration to the aesthetics of the Business Report website we thought it was absolutely necessary to run with a form that relished the newspaper in print form. We decided that Business Report’s existing logo and branding had to be used. Though we wanted to make the digital revolution of the publication fresh and exciting (and hopefully a converting experience for many of the fans of the print form) we didn’t want to neglect the publications heritage.

 

In adopting the existing logo and branding we were paying homage to Business Report’s progression as a publication; the regular readers would receive something that they were familiar with already, they would recognise that it was the same publication that they were used to reading.

 

complete rebranding would no doubt have alienated Business Report’s existing market and signified the end of the publication as it was recognised as. This wasn’t what we wanted to do, we wanted to celebrate progression not bury the past.

 

In the formatting of the content, we again wanted to run with a design that relished the newspaper form, that clearly divided articles allowing for users to be able to identify and view content with ease.

 

To ensure the aesthetics of the page met this design ethos we decided to hold back on unnecessary embellishments. Rather than opt for a load of fancy design tricks we wanted the page to simply fit its purpose, but extremely well. We broke the contents of the page down into a number of article previews, relevant images, quotes and advertisements; like the front page of a newspaper. This layout allowed the contained information to be perceived and accessed with ease.

 

Clear Navigation

Now that we had the aesthetics covered we had to make sure that the website was easy to navigate. The layout of the page was rich in informative content and over time with updating of the sites content and the addition of new articles meant that we had to compensate for a wealth of information that was to held within the site.

 

To solve the wealth of on-page information we added a fixed navigation bar, meaning that wherever a user scrolled on a page the navigation bar would always remain fixed at the head of the page. This allowed for clear and simple navigation throughout the various sections of the site.

 

Realising that navigation throughout the website would be incredibly important we decided that the news content of the site would need to be organised efficiently and divided into succinct and logically divided sections. This would allow a user to head straight for the section that interested them the most. Not only did this make the site easy to navigate, but it surpassed the ease of finding content of the newspaper form; users now didn’t even have to flick through pages to find the articles they wanted, they merely had to click two or three times.

 

We decided to add the option to select ‘related articles’ at the bottom of each news article as we thought that this would help to condense preferred content thus enhancing the user engagement as well as making the content more compelling.

 

Now that the aesthetics and usability had been covered, it was decided that there was another way in which the website could resemble the printed experience, but with a digital twist.

 

Keeping it Traditional

Business Report was released weekly on a Thursday. Knowing that readers would no doubt be used to this cycle of release we created the site that at 10 AM every Thursday the site content would be updated and email digests would be sent out to those who had signed up to the website’s mailing list. That way the reader’s cycle had not been broken, they would receive their news in the same time as they were used to.

 

As mentioned earlier, it was a chief concern of ours not to alienate Business Report’s existing readership, so in every aspect of site design we ensured that we paid heed to the existing manner in which the publication operated.

 

That didn’t stop us adding a few digital tweaks to the website though…

 

‘Hot off the press: Business Report gets digital makeover’

To ensure that Business Report was a pioneer in digital publishing we added a number of features that we thought would benefit the sites online experience.

 

Reading a newspaper has been a source of conversation for aeons; you will hear people talking about the news wherever you go, people write in to newspapers, its an incredibly social thing.We created a blogging tool using social media API’s. When a guest blogger or author publish an article on Business Report, it is then instantly shared through their Twitter or Facebook account.This allows for people everywhere to connect in discussion over articles, with each other and the authors.This has also been responsible for the creation of a digital business community around Business Report. Like-minded business professionals can now browse and connect with one another and discuss business issues, events and ideas in one place.

 

Lastly we didn’t forget the importance of advertising for Business Report. Not only did we implement areas for companies to advertise jobs and events on the website, but we also created a digital marketing experience.

 

We created an area where Business Report could sell key tools for businesses, such as marketing data and documents within the resource area as well as access to reports on advert views, click-throughs and detailed tracking of visitors.

 

The Business Report

The digital launch of Business Report is a growing success.

 

Sponsorship and advertisement rocketed in the first quarter with an increase of 40% in comparison to the printed publication. Business Report’s digital form has not only secured them their existing readership, but by moving onto the web the publication has benefited from web visibility and built a reputation which has led to more interest from advertisement companies and sponsors.

 

It’s not only advertisers and sponsors that seem to be interested in Business Reports digital form. Traffic to the site has increased tenfold and continues to grow; attracting more and more unique visitors every week. Email marketing campaigns are also seeing an increasing popularity, currently email digest campaigns are receiving a 65% click-through rate. Business Report are delighted with these figures as they stand, but it is also increasing on a weekly basis.

 

A key success for the website is the new inclusions from industry experts. Industry experts from all areas of the business world submitting informative and inspiring posts regularly giving Business Report a reputable name in producing quality and unique content produced by both Business Report’s editorial team and professional guest bloggers. Most importantly the user feedback has been phenomenal.

 

Working with Business Support has provided us with a truly inspirational experience. Being a part of the process of helping its transition from print to digital demonstrates innovative progression and provides an insight into the potential future of publishing.

 

It just goes to show that when it comes to taking your business in new directions, the possibilities are endless.

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