Case study: Randall’s Décor

Renovating a brand with “distinction” 

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Randall’s is an established paint and home décor retail chain with a long history and an excellent reputable history in the Ottawa and Eastern Ontario regions. However, for the stores to remain viable and able to compete with the many big box home improvement chains now in the area, there was a need to reach a new generation of homeowners, including those who had no renovation skills or lacked confidence to try DIY projects. A brand audit demonstrated that Randall’s most valuable brand attributes were their knowledge, experience and credibility, qualities beginners value most.

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Armed with the need to demonstrate that Randall’s was “not your father’s paint and décor store”—and influenced by the popularity of shelter magazines and various DIY and home improvement TV channels and websites, seed president Joy Parks was tasked by greennmelon design inc, Randall’s communications firm, to build on their valuable knowledge and product authority with a branded content publication. This “magalogue” that would announce the new style and voice of their brand—a breezy, easy voice that invited readers to try their hand at home improvement—knowing they’d have the support of Randall’s experience and know-how behind them.

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The content asked readers to trust in Randall’s traditions and knowledge, but use that information to express their personality using their home as a canvas.  The goal was to deliver in the distinctions publication, a series of branded content articles that would be comparable to newsstand shelter publications—but based on Randall’s products, knowledge and overall offering.

According to greenmelon creative director Robert Smith, “When our client Randall’s, a local home décor chain, approached us to do a magazine, I immediately spoke to Joy. There was no one else that I would trust with such an important branding vehicle. Her talent for understanding an audience, and delivering compelling and pertinent content shone in this piece. The final product is something that I display proudly in the portfolio.”

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The client was extremely happy with the inaugural issue, and threw a launch party that included the mayor of the city of Ottawa as a guest. The publication continues to be available in stores and as an e-publication on the retailer’s website.

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Download the full issue of randalls_webmagazine

Download this case study as a pdf  Randalls Case Study

See more seed case studies.

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Case study: greenmelon inc. product site

Fictional storytelling: A “novel” approach to branded content

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When greenmelon inc. was first established, its primary focus was on product design, mainly lighting fixtures, furniture and household hard goods. Thing is, when small firms design products, they seldom have the financial support to actually produce the product—it’s generally easier, less risky and more lucrative to simply sell the design to a manufacturer or large chain, and let them take over the production and distribution.

Greenmelon creative director Robert Smith’s background lay in graphic design—and he had won many packaging gigs—so the company offered a holistic approach to product design—not just the product itself, but also the positioning, communications and packaging that went along with it.

Since the product didn’t exist beyond Robert’s imagination, the wonder of Photoshop and some technical drawings—there was only one way to get the product ideas across. Tell a good story. That’s exactly what Joy Parks, owner, senior writer and creative director of seed, did.

There was a simplicity and great deal of wit to the products developed by greenmelon—and that tone was central to the content on the website. Beginning with the understated “we’re greenmelon and we design things” tagline (which continues to appear on www.greenmeloninc.com, also written in large part by seed president Joy Parks), the site not only featured brief descriptions of the products—but also fictional stories of end-user customers who had bought the product. The short stories explained who the potential customer was, why they bought the product and how they were using it. These fictions not only outlined details about the product but also allowed potential licensees to glimpse their potential market. And they did so with wit, humour and down-to-earth simplicity.

According to President and Creative Director of greenmelon Inc., “I always infuse an element of wit and whimsy into my product design so it was imperative that the website articulate that. I chose to work with Joy from the very beginning of the project because the site required more than just words. It needed personality. It needed to tell a story. There was no one else that I would trust with a project of this scope. The results were simply, poetic. Joy was much more than a writer, she was a collaborator and the site would not have been the overwhelming success it was without her involvement.”

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The site got rave reviews from just about everyone who visited it and was, quite frankly, like catnip for young designers looking for a place to work. While greenmelon later shifted its focus to graphic design, this initial website showcased both the company’s innovative designs and creative approach to marketing them, established their “fresh” brand and proved the power of storytelling.

For more examples of greenmelon’s website, please go to:

http://seedcreativecontent.com/entries/retail/greenmelon-product-website

http://seedcreativecontent.com/entries/corporate-non-profit/greenmelon-inc-website

Download a PDF of this case study Greenmelon Inc

 

And you are?

How much does your title define you?

I was thinking about that while reading the Content Marketing Institute’s CCO magazine — for Chief Content Officers. Great publication–but it made me ponder if a one-woman creative content company with a tiny, but solid and growing client list, really needs C-suite titles. I’m thinking no. I’ve worked for design firms and agencies so small we didn’t put titles on our biz cards; that way we could assume any role in a meeting or proposal that was required. Recently in a meeting, I heard a fairly senior executive refer to the very visible and highly placed head of his corporation as “Grand Poobah.”  I’m betting he doesn’t call him that to his face.

During the heady new days of the dot coms, all sorts of strange and quite wonderful titles began appearing–Chief Humour Officer, Director of Originality, Brainy Guy (that was my title at a hip agency I wrote for because I was the only one who could decipher what the new tech clients were actually trying to sell), Corporate Jester–but when the VC money dried up, so did the cute monikers. I guess I could call myself Chief Content Diva or The Goddess of Words, but those titles aren’t really on brand — and just a tad too fey for me. Word Grower? Brand Story Gardener? Copy Pruner (that would be for editing, I guess). Nope, too cute and they’d all require additional explanations–clients are busy people, no need to burden them with something else to figure out. The bank likes me to be “president” so I can be responsible for the money, but I prefer “senior writer” (and the “senior” part comes from doing this job for more than a quarter century, not because I have a few “juniors” on staff).

So what’s your title? Does it bear any relationship to what you actually do? Like it or not, we are what we are called. That’s why it’s always better to name yourself. If you could make up your own title, what would it be?

If only…

12 Roles Essential to the Future of Content Marketing

If this much focus is ever put on content marketing and communicating with clients — just imagine the job market for writers and other creative talents. It boogles the mind!