We had worked with Wild Birds Unlimited in the past, but when we got together for our first Factory Day, a new and exciting partnership started to blossom. The nature-focused franchise set out to update the website for their potential franchisees and while starting your own business is a scary thing, our shared task was to make the decision easy with a completely re-imagined website and process. What we didn’t anticipate is that the exploration would spark new energizing processes for their internal team – an impact that lasted beyond this project and into others that we have since partnered on.
After nearly 35 years, over 285 stores opened and countless awards from the likes of Entrepreneur magazine and Franchise Business Review, Wild Birds Unlimited realized the final piece missing in the franchise development puzzle: an intuitive website that helps potential store owners dig deep into the details. After all, starting a business is a big life decision that requires lots of number crunching... in addition to passion and elbow grease.
This website not only needed to provide a modern user experience, but more importantly it needed to tell an incredibly compelling story about the industry, the brand and the people who "spend money on bird stuff." We decided that the most effective and efficient way to tackle the challenge was to get all the right stakeholders in the room for a day-long exploration and planning session, which we call Factory Day.
The franchise industry is full of best practices – ways to guide your potential franchisees through the sales process. As a successful and well-respected franchise, Wild Birds Unlimited knew all of these things and you could see them throughout the existing site. But for a short time during the Factory Day, we threw those to the wayside and truly focused on the consumer and their needs, wants, questions. It was less about what worked historically and more about putting the user first.
The first milestone was to map a prospective franchisee all the way through the journey of decision-making – exploring what users think, feel, and do along the way. This led to identifying key pages we would want on the site.
The group then discussed content elements for those pages and with a shared list we were able to explore new page layouts. With each participant of the Factory Day contributing their own ideas, we ended up with the ultimate collaborative wireframe – leaving us all on the same page about the new site’s direction and next steps to take.
The Factory Day session produced the much needed content strategy that would power the website to grow its impact on prospective franchisees and ultimately "bring people and nature together" in new cities across the country.
A collaborative sprint in conjunction with pushing the boundaries of an existing process generated a new site that inspires and compels the users. The bonus outcome was a deeper understanding of the customer's needs for the entire marketing team, who walked away feeling energized with new ideas to bring to the design and promotion of Wild Birds Unlimited.
The results from the audience-focused website blew all of us away.
The Wild Birds Unlimited team has since returned for another Factory Day – one focused on their retail marketing (filled with members of their team, franchisees and even customers!) and they will soon be back for a third as we start exploring a redesign of their consumer website. We're looking forward to working more with this fun and inspiring team!