FINNOVATION Lab is more than a workspace. It’s an inclusive community that embraces social change, growth, innovation, and experimentation. From educational programs and resources to unique events, FINN Lab empowers social entrepreneurs of all levels and abilities who are ready to make a positive change in the world through the power of business. Naturally, we love this organization and everything they stand for…which is why we recently started coworking out of this space (but that’s another story).
This case study features the intentional behind-the-scenes work that set us up to launch the new FINNOVATION Lab website including:
SPOILERS! This is a long post. To drop down to a particular section, just click one of the links above!
FINN Lab was an enthusiastic partner and collaborator in Brio’s strategy process. That made all the difference for building the new site efficiently and effectively!
- Guided Ideation Workshop: Identified the challenges, opportunities, and complexity of the brand and the need for clarity
- Strategy Playbook: Provided direction for how the brand (messaging and design) would play out in the redesigned site
- Website Development: Built the site in record time, delivering a week early thanks to the Strategy Playbook
Without investing the time in Steps 1 & 2, the actual redesign wouldn’t have been as streamlined as it was. Why? Because we were in such perfect alignment with FINN Lab on the rationale, the direction, and the expected outcome. All the things that we document in the Strategy Playbook.
The Strategy Playbook is the most important part of this process. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a document that we create in collaboration with our client and we follow play by play through every step of the development process.
- The Core Strategy (developed with our Special Recipe) listing the umbrella goals, audience and motion that inform the site.
- The Website Infrastructure outlining platform, menu structure, and landing pages.
- The Creative Brief* including UX design, site features, design and messaging, and measurement recommendations
Strategy in Action: Brand Clarity
In the Guided Ideation Workshop, we examined the complexity of FINN Lab’s ecosystem, offerings, and connection to the parent brand, FINNEGANS Brew Co. The identities were confused, which presented challenges to communication.
So we developed versions of long and short copy, taglines, and keywords for everything. That included the messaging around FINNOVATION Lab’s offerings (including the flagship FINNOVATION Fellowship program, workspace and office rentals, and private event rentals). Just as important, we focused on FINN Lab’s role in anchoring the community it serves.
The copy we developed speaks directly to the target audience for each page and plays a significant role in the new website. You can see it in action everywhere, especially the About Us page, where we made sure to shout out FINN Lab’s connection to one of the longest-running social enterprises in the state of Minnesota.
Strategy in Action: Messaging & Design
Remember how we said design isn’t everything? That’s because copy is equally important as design when communicating your brand, especially on a website. But this isn’t your standard pablum about the nuances of copywriting for online audiences.
Here’s the most important thing: messaging and design need to be working as a harmonious unit to support and reinforce one another. Here’s an example of how we applied this approach in writing copy and designing this section of the FINN Lab’s new Community page:
The copy in the green box communicates the vibe of FINN Lab while also speaking to the types of people who thrive in this space. To further convey the environment of FINN Lab and to bring in other voices, we also included quotes from FINN Lab members. The photo shows two FINN Lab members having a deep conversation, in a creative space.
Together, the messaging and visual elements work in harmony to speak to a target audience and communicate the essence of the space in a very effective way.
Strategy in Action: UX Design & Measurement
And now, the finale.
The unsung heroes of any website project are user experience (UX) and measurement. These two core components did more than inform the website redesign. They shape how it will continue to be used as an effective marketing tool for FINN Lab.
We began by identifying entry points. The landing pages we created were designed to appeal to the needs of each audience. To ensure people would be able to get to the information they wanted quickly, each landing page was optimized for search engines and also placed on the site’s navigation menu. We took a lot of time considering the menu bar to not only simplify access, but keep revenue-generating programs front and center.
However, you can’t leave navigation to chance. It’s great to give users options and freedom, but effective website design anticipates a person’s questions and guides them to the answer. The Strategy Playbook identified specific goals for user behavior (for example, filling out a contact form or viewing coworking plan options).
Then we paved pathways for people to follow, helping them get necessary information and encouraging them to take the next step. Prominent buttons using the secondary color were used as directional markers to encourage people along those pathways. In this way, the site encouraged the user behavior we wanted.
All that’s left is measuring that behavior. We have to continually confirm that the site is meeting FINN Lab’s needs too! To track people’s activity, we invested quality time configuring Google Analytics and Hotjar. Conversion goals, audience segmentation, and heatmaps are the guides that allow us to refine those pathways going forward.
New Website: Endless Possibilities!
FINN Lab’s website strategy and website will continue to grow and evolve as the business does. Through this project, we set a solid baseline by establishing brand clarity, combining strategic copy with design on the site, and setting up analytics tools to measure user behavior.
Moving forward, those measurements will allow the website to continue to serve FINN Lab and its community strategically. We will continue to build new enhancements and extensions of the site to continue to support FINN Lab’s commitment to serving mission-driven entrepreneurs and businesses.