Holiday fun meets digital with Chocomel
Chocomel is the reigning chocolate milk king in the Netherlands and Belgium. Though it is popular year-round, especially during the cold holiday season there is an old Dutch tradition to drink hot chocolate milk with whipped cream. A delicious combination. Just like Chocomel and Dept.
Celebrating a new holiday custom
Every year around Sinterklaas, Chocomel releases its Letter packs – one of the fastest selling limited editions available. As their fresh leading agency, Dept developed the campaign A tot Z: updated packaging, social media, display banners and a unique TV commercial. The entire campaign was built around a simple idea. People love to make words with the letter packs, so we want all assets to celebrate this custom.
Part of a bigger strategy
The Letters campaign is part of a larger brand strategy (also developed by Dept) that focuses on the iconic traits of the brand and nothing else. We developed a new tagline, a new identity, and a new guiding strategy for all communication: funny, powerful, and yellow. Anything you see from Chocomel is always adhering to those three rules. Making sure an iconic brand gets iconic communication.
Crafting a website worthy of food for thought
It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words. This is why AVINA Stiftung chose to redesign their website in a more visual manner in order to convey the importance that change must happen in our food chain by supporting forward thinking ideas and pioneering minds.
A website meant to inspire action
AVINA is a Swiss foundation established in the 1990s that funds ideas aimed at revolutionising our current food system. The foundation turned to Dept to provide them with a central hub through which pioneers could find out more about the foundation and apply for grants. Based on the foundation’s manifesto, we redesigned the entire website and produced two videos that project AVINA’s message to the world.
Transforming the brand identity into digital elements
Our source of inspiration for this project was the foundation’s logo and brand identity. Some of their core values are transparency and openness. These were the two themes which guided our design choices moving forward. We also purposefully chose to keep our design minimalistic which is why it consists of only a handful of pages. This way, a user can quickly understand what AVINA stands for and then apply for a grant with little fuss or obstacles.
A design that goes against the norm
A user may be surprised as to the darker colour palette, however, this was done on purpose to go against the norm. Rather than a white minimalistic site with a lot of text, the black background is a bold move that highlights all of the typography while also ensuring that the video content pops and entices website visitors to click on it. In addition, the cursor is a circle to symbolise the circularity which AVINA is aiming for.
The core of the website
The heart of the new website is the AVINA manifesto. This is what guided our production choices when filming the videos. We travelled around Switzerland to get footage from some of the leading research institutions, capture breathtaking nature shots as well as scenes from everyday life. The video plays simultaneously to a recording of the founder Stephan Schmidheiny reading AVINA’s manifesto.
When a user lands on the AVINA homepage, both videos will play and depending on how the user navigates either one or the other will be displayed to the user. The two clickable and changeable video layers showcase AVINA’s openness and transparency and invites the user to look behind the scenes.
Inspiring and guiding users towards a better world
AVINA Stiftung wanted a new platform that inspired change. Therefore, we delivered a new website which captures this desire and makes it tangible. We created a simple website whose appearance makes a bold statement yet remains simple to navigate so as to not overwhelm the user with information. Crafting a website worthy of food for thought doesn’t have to be difficult, in fact, sometimes simplicity is the answer.
Refreshing an eco-friendly B2B brand website
Bevi is a leading manufacturer of smart water dispensers, incorporating touchless technology that enables you to customise your beverage, check your environmental impact, and view nutrition info right from your phone. Bevi is more than a smart water dispenser, it’s a step towards a more sustainable future. With every drink you pour, you’re not only saving a plastic bottle, but you’re also reducing the oil and emissions needed to manufacture and ship it. Founded in 2014, the company has secured $60.1M in funding and is on a mission to transform how beverages are delivered. Its stand-up and countertop water dispensers are used in the global offices of Volkswagen, Apple, Uber, Trip Advisor, and Netflix, and many more. Bevi partnered with Dept to refresh its brand website and bring its values and purpose to the fore.
Strategic brand discovery
Brands rooted in purpose with technical B2B products have a lot to say, but often struggle to communicate their message in the most effective way. how Bevi is perceived as a business has a massive impact on its ability to resonate with prospects and retain long-term customers. Bevi’s brand communications focus on the positive environmental impact its products have, the cool features and broad flavour variety, rather than concentrating on specifics tied to functionality and installation, which sets it aside from its competitors.
Dept analysed the business to fully understand its positioning, which informed the next stages of the project. This involved a google analytics review, website audit, competitor research and stakeholder workshops. Deliverables included:
- Map of Bevi’s business model identifying key customer segments, user journeys, channels, partners and more.
- Five customer personas outlining motivations, triggers and content requirements to empathise with the audience’s needs.
Designing a website to unbottle the future
Making an impact with design
The new Bevi website was designed to reflect the brand’s forward-thinking approach to hydration. Taking creative inspiration from the aesthetic of its smart products, Dept designers infused the interactive nature of the water dispensers into its website design.
Bevi’s colour palette, resembling the four elements of fire, water, earth, and air, were used throughout. Misty blue and white tones with curved lines created a cloud-like base layer, while splashes of pastel colours showcased the refreshing fruit flavours. Animations bring the design to life; illustrated bubbles rise up the home and flavour pages, as they would in a fizzy glass of water, to create a strong initial impact and draw the user in. hover effects highlight call-to-action buttons and subtle motion elements keep users engaged.
Creating a clear codebase
Dept built the website in word press and created a reusable, custom library for all of the components using green sock, a robust java script toolset that helped us deliver optimum performance across all devices. From our analytics research, we knew there is a fairly even split between mobile and desktop users. Therefore, Dept developers optimised all points of entry for User experience And conversions with a bespoke set of components and solutions to respond to each screen size. When adding animations and video to the website, we balanced flare and functionality, ensuring smooth user-journeys and fast site-speed to optimise google’s rankings.
Search optimisation was a top priority throughout the build. Dept’s team of digital consultants and search experts oversaw the project from a performance perspective, and teamed up with Bevi to fuel the website with Seo-optimised content.
The yoast word press plugin was added to the cms, enabling Bevi to continuously optimise the website as new content is added. Our developers reinforced these practices by implementing schema.Org custom blocks, which adds context to the code, acting as a translator to populate google. By structuring data in sections such as the fa qs, new users searching for solutions are able to easily find the answers they’re looking for.
A sparkling future
Bevi’s new website clearly communicates its vision and brings its value proposition to the surface. It encapsulates the uniqueness of Bevi, and stands out against its corporate counterparts, just like its eco-friendly water dispensers. Eye-catching animations keep users engaged, while the introduction of information and product pages adds depth. Presented in a highly consumable format, these pages not only inspire users to pursue a sustainable future, but also encourages them to find their custom beverage. Users can set their preferred level of fizz, flavour or combinations, and enhance their experience with caffeine or electrolytes. By connecting to a mobile device, its touchless technology makes the entire process seamless.
We’re happy to be part of Bevi’s journey, helping the world reduce waste and plastic consumption through state-of-the-art office water dispensers. Dept is continuing to work with Bevi to maintain and evolve its website. Pardot forms were implemented into the website, which will underpin future campaigns and converting prospects.
Supporting farmers every step of the way
By 2050, there will be nearly 10 billion people on Earth, which is about three billion more mouths to feed than there were in 2010. Given the economic and environmental costs of current industrial agricultural practices and volatile weather conditions, one can’t help but wonder if we will be able to produce enough food to sustain our population in the future. Recognising this, Indigo AG wants to increase our planet’s capacity to produce food in a sustainable manner. The company leverages powerful microbiology, machine learning and digital technologies to make agriculture more productive, profitable, and sustainable.
Supporting a complex lifecycle
Indigo’s microbial seed treatment collection has the capacity to protect crops from abiotic stresses – from extreme temperatures and water scarcity, to nutrient-deficient soils. By increasing a plant’s resilience in tough environmental conditions and enhancing the use of resources such as water, the treatments have the potential to naturally improve yields and increase farm revenue. However, Indigo’s ambitions go way beyond seed development. The company is supporting farmers every step of the way from planting to crop harvest, delivery, and payment. Dept has played a role in helping to create the software which enables this complex lifecycle.
Supporting farmers every step of the way
Indigo Marketplace helps growers navigate the grain market with confidence. It helps buyers access high-quality, identity-preserved crops that meet their specifications. Buyers on this platform are able to source grain with a range of characteristics (eg. protein content, milling quality, variety), and production practices (eg. organic, rain-fed, non-GM). Growers are able to access a suite of tools and services to support their grain marketing efforts. Transacting digitally, both growers and buyers can increase efficiency and access a larger market through Marketplace.
Dept worked with the Indigo team to design and build the company’s Marketplace digital platform, which helps better connect farmers with buyers.
Once Indigo Marketplace was in place, crops still needed to be transported from point A to point B. Dept helped Indigo build Indigo Transport to pair growers and grain buyers with carriers (trucking companies), for the efficient transport of grain. Growers can opt to leave the hassle of logistics to Indigo Transport while carriers experience a seamless and supported way of finding new loads.
Beginning with just the idea of building an ecosystem to help farmers ship grain more economically, the Dept team worked with Indigo to launch the minimum viable product (MVP) for Transport in just four months. Indigo worked with Dept to launch Transport with an app focused on owner-operated trucking companies, while continuing to conduct user interviews to learn about what was and wasn’t working.
A key learning when rolling out the MVP for owner-operators was that other personas outside of the initial set could use and get value from the system. As part of a 5-day design sprint led by Dept, several other critical personas were identified within the shipping ecosystem that could be supported by Indigo Transport, including dispatchers managing fleets of trucks, shippers managing other agricultural commodities that need to be delivered, and individual drivers delivering the necessary loads. To better serve a range of users, Dept worked with the Indigo team to build out the app to fit these different personas in the transport journey.
Today, growers can select to use transportation services when transacting grain on the Indigo Marketplace app. Should they choose this option, their shipment is displayed in the Transport app so that carriers can see the load opportunity. The Transport app includes portals for shippers to input their needs into the system, and the carrier app is geared towards those transporting grain.
Indigo also partnered with Dept to help create a custom solution for farmers to quickly and painlessly settle complex contracts. The teams worked to design custom back-office tools to support Indigo’s accounts receivable and accounts payable teams.
Supporting all of this is a powerful platform that orchestrates the logistics to make sure crops are delivered to the correct place, on time, and in a compliant manner. With Indigo Transport, carriers can expand their business opportunities through easier access to more loads, and farmers and shippers can deliver grain with more confidence.
Planning for the future
Indigo is continuously capturing data from fields around the world in order to research how current crops are performing given a variety of factors, such as drought, extreme heat, insects, poor soil, etc. This data comes from many sources, such as drone and satellite imagery, data directly from combines or from their own agronomists collecting results. All of this information is funnelled into a Machine Data Factory (MDF) that helps Indigo’s scientists have an overview of crop performance across the world, in addition to helping inform how to bring new products to the market.
The company needed to be able to track this data and easily visualise what was and wasn’t successful, while ensuring the privacy of the company’s customers. Our team of specialists assisted with building the front-end of this database, a user interface that allows employees to interact with the anonymised data. The users get details about any tests that were performed and the current status of a particular field. This allows Indigo scientists to easily see which experiments performed well and which didn’t on a global scale.
From grain bidding to transport to payment for crops, Dept has supported Indigo to build multiple apps and platforms.
Within the first few months, Indigo Marketplace saw significant traction with thousands of growers and buyers utilising the platforms. In January 2019, Indigo Marketplace saw $4B in average daily bids over a 30-day period. In December 2019, average daily bids hit $51B over a 30-day period, a 1175% increase.
Today, at every step of the way, farmers have more options, processes are more efficient, and Indigo scientists have more information at their fingertips to help drive future innovations in agriculture that will be critical to feeding people for years to come.
SEO-success through customer orientation
Swissmilk.ch has been asserting itself as Switzerland’s most successful recipe platform for many years. In terms of search engine optimisation (SEO) hardly any topics are more competitive than recipes – and few areas rely on SEO as a traffic source more than recipes.
The Swiss Milk Producers (SMP) and Dept achieved a good positioning for swissmilk.ch despite the increasingly tense atmosphere. In doing so, the optimisation of organic search results as traffic channel nr. 1 was the highest priority. Throughout the last years, this project’s biggest success factor was the consistent alignment with the users’ needs.
Swissmilk.Ch asserted itself as switzerland’s largest recipe platform
SMP is the parent organisation of the Swiss Milk Producers, which is primarily working on the promotion of Swiss milk and associated milk products. In this context, SMP also runs Switzerland’s largest recipe database on swissmilk.ch. The content comprises of recipes containing milk products and tips and tricks around culinary art and nutrition.
Until summer 2016, a desktop and a separate mobile website were run simultaneously. SEO established itself as the most important traffic channel: more than half of the overall traffic between 2016 and 2017 was generated via organic search results. Because of this, it became more and more important to measure the incoming SEO traffic also based on qualitative criteria, meaning the quality of the content interaction. Especially when it comes to recipes, search engines increasingly operate with particularly highlighted illustrations such as the Rich Results comprising of, among other things, the Rich Snippets, Featured Snippets and Knowledge Graph integration in search results.
Swissmilk.ch is operating in a highly competitive market environment with numerous competitors such as Chefkoch.de, Betty Bossi and Annemarie Wildeisen. In 2017, the competition expanded by the recipe platforms belonging to the two leading retailers in Switzerland – Migros with “Migusto” and Coop with “Fooby”.
The share of mobile search queries has risen dramatically over the past few years when it comes to recipes. Many people experience “micro-moments” and automatically turn towards their phone when they have the urge to act, learn, try or discover something new. At the same time, search engines have tightened the demands for the mobile user-friendliness of websites. The necessity for Rich Snippets, Featured Snippets etc. is further shaping the requirements for content creation.
Another point to consider is the decrease in milk consumption in Switzerland due to the trend of alternative nutrition forms, such as low fat or vegan alternatives and the increase in food sensitivities such as lactose intolerance.
By focusing on these micro-moments, targeting was narrowed down, the content was reviewed and the KPIs were refined. SEO efforts were not primarily aimed at increasing traffic but at the optimization of the usage intensity of content (e.g. session duration, scroll intensity, download, print) as well as the increase in high-quality traffic. The SEO efforts were built around the idea of usability principles and the improvement of content interaction.
An analysis of current food trends revealed which content bears the biggest potential for traffic. Based on this, the recipe texts were reviewed and edited as needed. Furthermore, the library of recipes was expanded based on a targeted data-driven approach.
In order to differentiate between the target groups, the Blog Chochdoch was established to target a younger audience than Swissmilk . It posts recipes and videos as well as kitchen and culinary life hacks. In summer 2016, the switch to a responsive website with ongoing page speed optimization, server caching, image compression and deferred loading was implemented.
Organic traffic increase
- 36% traffic increase due to organic search results within two years.
- Extension of visibility in organic search results despite the market entry of fooby.ch and migusto.ch.
- Prominent positioning through Rich Snippets and Featured Snippets in organic Google search results.
- Google Page Speed Insights Score Mobile of recipe pages with 94/100 points and a Google mobile speed rated as “Good”.
- Differentiated KPI set with a focus on usability and strategic objectives: organic quality traffic for recipe content: > 25% compared to last year.
Using the power of technology for a good cause
What do you get when you bring digital and tech together with a good cause? A digital marketplace where donors are linked to African farmers, who shovel life back into the barren soil.
The climate is one of the major concerns of this generation. Realising this, Justdiggit trains people in areas of drought to dig half-moon circles in which rainwater is collected. This process of ‘greening’ ensures that the land will be fertile again within a year, something that is vitally important for the local population and which, on a larger scale, the whole world can benefit from.
Climate change is one of the major concerns of this generation
Spreading the knowledge
Justdiggit focusses on spreading their knowledge all the while empowering locals to organise and carry out the work themselves under the guidance of fundi’s, the local rangers. In order to have a lasting and positive effect on the climate, Justdiggit needs to fertilise as many hectares of land as possible, something it simply cannot do by itself. They believe that empowering the local population is a sustainable solution.
Justdiggit asked Dept how technology could help them achieve their goals. As we’re committed to making a change, the agency is a breeding ground for social and sustainable initiatives. So within Dept, a team was put together to give a helping hand.
In a strategy and design sprint, the team designed a platform where farmers who want to dig holes in a qualifying area are linked to people who want to sponsor them. Research showed that many of the farmers in African villages are well connected. They completely skipped landlines and ADSL and take care of a lot of business mobile. For example, over 40% of the population of Tanzania does their banking via M-Pesa, which amounts to 95 million mobile money transactions per month.
People in the West can easily donate money through Ideal and in the background, a system automatically connects the donations to all the farmers who are allowed to dig in a qualifying area. Once a hole has been dug, it is captured with a photograph. The donor receives the photo and the transaction overview. It is a fair system and a perfect example of cutting out the middleman, where Justdiggit is purely the facilitator.
The marketplace/app works as follows:
- People in the West can easily donate money through Ideal.
- In the background, a system automatically connects the donations to all the farmers who are allowed to dig in a qualifying area.
- Once a hole has been dug, it is captured with a photograph. This photo is approved by a fundi, who acts as a kind of overseer, and then the transaction is made.
- The donor receives the photo and the transaction overview. Digging a hole costs €3,64, of which €2,02 goes to the farmer (55%). The rest of the money goes to the purchase of seeds (27%) , the salary of the fundi (5%), transaction costs (5%) and the protection of project areas against overgrazing by cattle (8%). It is a fair system and a perfect example of cutting out the middleman, where Justdiggit is purely the facilitator.
The most important quantitative goals of the platform in 2019 were to raise the average donation height. Our prognosis was that the combination of complete transparency of the chain and higher engagement by use of messenger and/or the platform would make this happen.
This worked out: the particular donations via the platform is now €34,35 per benefactor; that’s almost three times than the regular online donation to Justdiggit before the launch of the tool. This was far above expectations, especially when you keep in mind there’s been no paid media involved.