Looking outside the shopfront

5 min read  
Date: 11 July 2017

Netwealth’s inspiration for its website redesign was businesses with nothing to do with financial services. It preferred to look to consultancy businesses and media and software companies for inspiration, businesses that sold ideas and thinking, not just products.

McKinsey Quarterly, Harvard Business Review and consultancy companies like Deloitte, were sources of inspiration. Online publications such as Wired and Fast Company offered insights into how to combine great story-telling with technology and business, while technology companies such as Microsoft, Salesforce and Xero who shared similar core propositions were also motivators.

According to Netwealth’s General Manager, Marketing, Andrew Braun, it feels right.

“It feels like we have landed in a place that is both inspirational but relatable, challenging but helpful, informative but entertaining.”

Braun said building a website can be as big or as small a project as you want it to be.

“Most businesses approach a website as though they are building a brochure, but it is as complicated as building a shopfront. You have to think about things like the height of the shelves, how products will be displayed. Smart web development means you have to think through all these sorts of things.”

Three years ago, when Netwealth began a detailed review of its brand, its website was nine years old. Back then, the website could be described as a static brochure, with no sales funnels, no advertising and unresponsive to mobile phones.

Today it is radically different. The website is now a multi-media platform, communicating to all Netwealth’s various audiences – advisers, their clients and end investors. It is fresh, uncomplicated yet stylish. It is insightful. A place of ideas.

For Netwealth, the learnings it gleaned from its brand strategy work provided the guiding light to the whole project. Here Netwealth’s business purpose and its identity and creative treatment were articulated.  It was clear however these attributes were not reflected in its marketing collateral, which meant the business was not clearly articulating its value. A website redesign became a must.

“The redesign was a great way of communicating who we are through what is arguably our most important shopfront, our website,” said Matt Heine, Netwealth Joint Managing Director. “We are proud of our brand qualities, how we define ourselves and our mission. Being a creative, purposeful, optimistic, positive and agile business, we wanted to show this.”

Netwealth marketing team managed the six-month website redesign project, concurrently managing the copywriting, UX (User Experience), UI (User Interface) and worked closely with Netwealth’s own IT team.

Copywriting work was done by the writing team at 64 Media. Principal Julie Bennett said getting website copy correct, is about being succinct, simplistic and recognising the digital journey that a user is on when they use the site.

“Websites are shopfronts and when you write website copy, you have to imagine yourself walking through the front door, getting your bearings, identifying what you are interested in and the purpose of your visit.  It is the copywriters role to ensure this is as easy as possible for all different audiences.”

For the UX and UI work, Netwealth partnered with MASS, a consumer brand design business, who had not worked with a financial services client before. Netwealth welcomed the fresh perspective and approach MASS brought to the project.

MASS was also responsive to Netwealth’s style and commitment to purpose. “As an industry, you can assume being financial services it should be dull and boring,” said MASS Creative Director and Founder, Tim Kotsiakos.  “Some people may look at an audience and put them in a box, so they are that sort of person, etc. But that person going to the Netwealth site is the same person who is using Uber X and ordering through Deliveroo.”

It is this humanistic attitude to the project that is reflective in the end project, an appreciation that people who use the Netwealth website will be users of plenty of other digital services.

Each page had to fight for its very existence.  If a user was in the top of the funnel, that is on the home page, Netwealth knew it was talking to someone who didn’t know the brand, and moreover Netwealth didn’t know what that user needed. If a user was deeper into the website, Netwealth knew the person was more likely to be interested in the product and so the call to actions had to be more targeted.

“Put simply, the information architecture effectively guides a user through the site, an outcome only possible through great design, great technology, great copy, great teamwork,” Braun stated.

Another thing that stood out was Netwealth’s desire to get its staff involved the project, people who are part of the fabric of the Netwealth identify. Staff feature highly in the site through the majority of the photography and the videos.

“This project has been a collaboration of specialists, each bringing their professional skill to building a website we can truly call ours,” said Heine. “But it’s not just ours. It’s ours to share, a platform of ideas.”