Slow and steady wins the race: Relaunching IMO’s digital brand

Last year, IMO relaunched its website to better reflect the company’s brand, values, and leadership. In just a few months, web traffic is up and the site was recognized for three creative industry awards. We sat down with Chief Marketing Officer, Michael Klozotsky, to talk about the benefits and challenges of developing a new digital presence.

IMO: What was the thinking behind launching a new digital presence for an established brand?

Michael Klozotsky: The fundamental guiding marketing principle for all companies — but particularly those in B2B industries — is storytelling. Clear storytelling. What does your company do? What does it stand for? How do its offerings solve problems that address the material business needs of companies looking for partners to address their pain? Absent a simple, comprehensible story, you’re dropping a major hurdle to success three feet from the starting block of any campaign.

In today’s economy, corporate websites represent the start of the race. They’re the first place buyers go to learn more about how your services might benefit them. Candidly, on our old website IMO’s story wasn’t as well-defined as it could be. In addition, even though IMO has been in business for more than two decades and serves upwards of 80% of the U.S. healthcare market, during our relaunch we were developing new products while naming and organizing them differently than we had in the past. So, the opportunity to reimagine our digital presence was both an opportunity and a necessity.

IMO: What were the biggest challenges to relaunching the brand?

MK: Time and, oddly enough, too many choices.

Time is always a challenge in the brand arena. When do you need it? Yesterday. How much does it cost? A lot. How much strategic and creative energy is required to develop a brand that not only resonates in the market, but also sticks? Infinite amounts.

In some companies, the time obstacles are so legion that marketers resign themselves to doing the best they can do and calling it a day. That’s an understandable approach, but it’s less than ideal. At IMO we certainly faced some time pressure, and we built bookends into the project to keep ourselves sane. But we were blessed with something that many marketing teams are not afforded: a true blank slate.

My team had the good fortune to start from scratch with the financial and “moral support” of a CEO, an executive team, and a Board of Directors who freed us to build the best possible web presence for IMO. Design, color palettes, naming conventions, tools, plugins, platforms, agencies — all these components were fair game and within my team’s purview to manipulate. That’s a marketer’s dream. But blessings carry curses too, and that leads me to my second point.

The freedom to build and create sometimes devolves into a never-ending series of tweaks and changes and permutations. The flipside of freedom is the discernment required to know when to say when. To stop, let the brand blossom (or even wilt a little), and then cultivate from there. Brand is never finished. But brand work needs to be continual, not continuous.

In today's economy, corporate websites represent the start of the race. They're the first place buyers go to learn more about how your services might benefit them.

IMO: What do other organizations need to consider when relaunching their digital assets?

MK: Keep it as simple as possible. Think, plan quickly, create, then rest. Rinse and repeat — but only after rest. The CEO of Levi’s spoke a few years back about the fact that people wash their jeans far too often. In his view, denim needs laundering a) when it’s really, truly dirty or b) a few times a year. If you wash your jeans more often than that, they’ll just wear out. I believe in the veracity of that advice on the basis that it seems counterintuitive to Levi’s business model. The more you abuse your jeans through unnecessary washes, the more jeans you need to buy. But when the CEO of a denim company says don’t wear out his products, I tend to listen. The same is true for brand and brand assets. Many companies fail to establish and evolve their brands because instead of nurturing, they fidget. They can’t wait for short term results, which they mistake for “success,” and so they have no patience for small failures. That’s an ironic mistake. Small failures are the proving ground for digital success.

IMO: What kind of results have you seen since the relaunch? Has anything surprised you?

MK: Frankly, the results have been astounding. In just a few months since we launched, we’ve won three creative awards, garnered 44% of the total 2018 site traffic in just 45 days, increased site traffic 267% month over month, and increased page views 165% month over month 35 days post go-live. Cliché as it may sound, effective digital strategies, nimbly executed, allow marketers to work smarter, not harder. The thing about clichés is they often start from a kernel of truth.

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