Signalling strength through structure
Global finance provider CIC Asia Pacific has forged a strong reputation in Asia, providing clients with comprehensive solutions and an unsurpassed level of service for over 30 years.
Used as a second step marketing tool, the existing CIC website did not accurately validate first impressions received during initial face-to-face conversations with potential clientele. It lacked a distinct personality, offered little in the way of reassurance and did not truly reflect the strength and unique structure of CIC’s wider affiliate network that has been in existence in France since 1859.
The challenges & opportunities
How do we communicate the CIC brand and the philosophy of the Group in a more engaging and compelling manner?
How do we communicate the culture of the company?
How do we signal expertise across the site?
Prior to planning the online user experience, we began by conducting best practice sector research, followed by interviews with 13 senior members of the CIC team. These interviews aimed to further establish how the CIC brand was perceived and to identify what each section of the CIC business required from the new website.
Insights highlighted a selection of key brand attributes unique to CIC, which were used to inform the new site structure and the updated messaging that is now weaved throughout the site.
To further clarify the messaging hierarchy, prior to crafting CIC’s brand proposition, interview insights were used to inform a facilitated brand messaging workshop to open up opportunities for further conversation and endorsement from the wider CIC team.
Simplifying their brand language
Alongside the information architecture process below we worked with CIC to help distil and simplify how they described themselves to align the website content further with the face-to-face experience individuals receive; integrating meaningful connections expressed throughout the primary research phase, with more of their internal welcoming personality.
The online information architecture
Informed by the primary and secondary research phases we planned the new website’s information hierarchy, streamlining the structure to leverage CIC’s cohesive culture, and bring the unique group structure and authentic heritage story to the forefront.
The homepage was a central piece of the puzzle when planning the new layout and was developed to display a variety of content. Its primary function is to introduce CIC Asia Pacific, its global capabilities and dedicated employees whilst offering users quick jumping off points to CIC’s four key service pillars. Importantly, the homepage was also designed as a space to facilitate future updates tying in with events, new initiatives and internal CIC culture.
The complete wireframing process involved creating consistency across the website to ensure appropriate emphasis was given to key pieces of content. We introduced useful resource and footer callouts to help further user journeys throughout the site, whilst incorporating a new ‘Our People’ section within the navigation to bring focus back to the dedicated employee culture synonymous with CIC. In addition, we developed a dedicated ‘Our Global Network’ page, crafted to introduce the wider CIC affiliate network, providing more context in terms of group stability and the global services the CIC Group offers.
Design & build
Working with CIC Singapore and CIC’s head office in France the design process was less about changing CIC’s visual identity and more about utilising their existing logo and developing an expanded brand identity for use online and across multiple devices.
The final responsive design developed communicates a professional, approachable, strong company through the use of a cool colour palette, responsive layouts, subtle embellishments (such as the slider detail and a condensed header navigation on scroll) and professional imagery capturing the real people behind the company.
As the Private Banking arm of CIC Asia Pacific business already had an established separate brand colour palette, we also took this into consideration as part of the initial design phase to ensure that the design and visual assets developed were adaptable for this particular section.
Used throughout the site to create consistency across the headers of each page, selecting the correct photography was a key part of the design process. We worked with CIC to schedule, plan and conduct a photo-shoot that took place within the CIC offices. The aim: to create a set of authentic visuals bespoke to CIC that capture the culture of the company, signal trust, and link further with the website copy.
Imagery representing CIC’s French heritage was also sourced and integrated alongside the original photography to help unite both CIC’s heritage and internal culture.
The new website, complete with integrated Content Management System to facilitate updates with ease, is now much more representative of CIC Asia Pacific as a whole and can be used as a trusted resource to accurately validate initial impressions, communicate the qualities & ethos of the company, the strength of the group and capture enquiries efficiently.
Working with Sedgwick Richardson really felt like a partnership. It was an interesting journey which took us through the definition and articulation of our web brand messaging. With the use of strategic text and visual content, our newly transformed corporate website now truly represents our brand web aspirations.
Transform Awards Asia Pacific 2017
- Best Rebrand of a Digital Property – Silver
- Best Use of a Visual Property – Bronze