Posted 14 June 2015

How to tell your story online: website case study

Written By : Marco Rosano Visit Marco's LinkedIn Profile

Stuart Gonsal founded Wolf in 2014. He presents extensively to industry groups and is on the Advisory Committee for Swinburne University’s Masters of Commerce (International Business).

Building a great website is always an act of collaboration between client and agency, and we’re lucky to work with some fantastic clients. And while we know what goes into a new site, it might be different on the other side of the table.

We recently built a website called ‘the headspace story’ for headspace, a vital resource that provides early intervention services to young people in relation to health, drug and alcohol assistance. So we thought we’d ask Ben Hart from headspace what he wanted for their website and what the experience was like bringing it to life online.

‘There’s so much information around these days, it’s often difficult to identify the amazing, positive stories that are all around us’ said Ben. ‘Telling the headspace Story’ is about showing people one of these stories in a way that is designed to draw them in as deeply as they want to go. Putting it right in front of them and making it impossible for them not to
grab it.

What made you decide to get the headspace story site built?

‘headspace has grown in seven years from nothing to become the nation’s foremost youth mental health organisation, supporting more than 100,000 young Australians and now being emulated around the world.

It’s truly one of the great recent success stories of the Australian health care system. Yet despite this rapid growth, and also conversely because of it (sometimes we’re too busy to blow our own trumpet!), many people are unaware of our story – even if they are aware of the services we provide.

What look and feel did you have in mind for the site?

Producing a stand-alone booklet or short video wasn’t for us. We wanted to tell our story in a way that was dynamic and allowed people to explore it as deeply as they wanted it to.

We wanted a look and feel that was fresh and was recognisable as ‘ours’ but also wouldn’t alienate older and perhaps more conservative members of our audience. We wanted it to appeal as much to a 60-year-old National Party MP as to a 30-year-old staff member of a youth services organisation. We thought it best to leave it to the pros at a digital agency.

Wolf listened to what we wanted and weren’t afraid to throw up options until we got it right. They quickly came back to us with a look that was pitched exactly where we wanted it to be: corporate but not stodgy and, above all else, accessible.

Perhaps Wolf’s greatest achievement, though, was aligning the look and feel to the content when the content was still in development. At the start we didn’t know who the ‘storytellers’ would be, or which stories they would tell, which makes it pretty hard to design a website. Wolf took it in their stride and maintained a flexible approach that allowed for a multitude of different eventualities.

What has been the response to it?

The response to the project has been uniformly positive. We’ve done a mailout to every single MP – state and Federal – in the country. It’s just a fantastic platform to lock in support from decision-makers to ensure our services continue to receive funding and help young people into the future.

Sector stakeholder and corporate partners have also been blown away by how good it looks, and how well it tells our story. So it’s benefiting us across all key audiences.

How do you create a site that speaks to such a broad range of key audiences, from MPs to worried parents?

With the help of Wolf, we came to the conclusion that if the timeline was set out clearly and the individual stories, in the form of videos, were clear, short and engaging, that a whole range of different people could have a positive experience with the website.

For example, many parents will get a lot out of radio star and comedian Dylan Lewis talking from the perspective of a young father. Political leaders will probably get more from watching their colleagues talk about the policy and governance challenges. But everyone will get something from it.

Another great thing about the format is that it becomes a living document with information being added and updated regularly. We’re really excited about the prospect of this becoming an archive for headspace going forward.

Has it furthered the cause of headspace?

Undoubtably. Not only can you send off the link to a journalist or potential partner who is thinking of working for us, but it can also be used at conferences when one of our clinical experts needs to take people through who we are and what we do.

Originally published 22 November 2014

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