How I Designed the Shiloh Events Brand and Website
Shiloh Events is a full service event management company with clients like Google, Microsoft, Obama Administration, and Oracle.
The founder of Shiloh Events is Huong Burrow. She graduated from SCU’s Business School, and after leading the event coordination teams at ServiceNow, she decided to start her own organization.
Houng’s business provides customers two main things:
- A to Z event planning and execution
- An event analysis report tool to measure lead gen quality
Although Shiloh Events provides a quality service and product, its online presence lacked in these ways:
1. Unclear call to action
2. Imagery was dated and generic
3. Inconsistencies in design layout
4. Repetitive and unnecessary content
Because Shiloh Events relies on organic search results for business, and the primary platform for users is desktop, it was absolutely necessary to build a new website.
Constraint #1: Too Much Content
Because the website was jammed full of content and key words, it was consistently at the top of search in the Bay Area when searching for event management. Huong was opposed to the idea of changing any content fearing that Shiloh would rank lower in search results. In fact, Huong wanted to add more content thinking that would drive conversion even higher. This principle is contrary to my personal design method. For almost any product, less is more. At Tesla, we‘re all about the 80/20 rule. Speak as much as possible through imagery and Illustration.
To work around this, I used Google search ranking methodology to demonstrate to Huong that you could in fact achieve top ratings in organic search with fewer characters. Just to prove it, I planned to AB test the site. In other situations where Huong could not let go of large bodies of text, I placed those in dropdown boxes incase someone wanted to learn more.
Constraint #2: Lack of Identity
Shiloh’s identity was like a quilt fabricated with little bits of inspiration from all competing event companies. It was like one day the business initiative was one thing, and the next day, it was something else. From my experience, this is common when the founder of a company is also the designer. But as a company grows, it is inevitable that responsibility gets divided—hopefully between a trustworthy team who also has a good sense of taste and vision.
To solve the identity problem, I rebranded everything from logo, color palette, iconography, business cards, stationary, keynote templates, and more. Shiloh Events’ new brand and logo feature softer, complementary shades of blue and green, evoking feelings of calm and confidence. The fresh, simple, smooth sides of the triangle underscore the principles at the heart of Shiloh Events: People, Precision and Passion.
The sides of the triangle flow effortlessly into one another, just as the organization’s values merge to ensure client satisfaction, before, during and after events. The triangle is also a symbol of strength, stability, and harmony. Shiloh Events has built their reputation on bringing those same traits to events.
With a fresh rebrand, I was ready for the website.
Events — business or personal — are meant to be exciting and memorable. For many events, people make personal sacrifices to attend, so in order for people to have a positive experience, the events need to provide an exciting and entertaining tradeoff. As a result, event industry funnels billions of dollars into audio/visual entertainment, food and beverages, staff, and venues every year.
To reflect the excitement of event execution with Shiloh, I went with a vibrant color palette. I also edited any photography used on the website to be more vibrant. In order to communicate to the users that working with Shiloh would be an organized and a stress–free experience, I pushed to have as much white space as possible. I drastically simplified the content on the website and asked the copywriter to keep titles under 65 characters if possible. One struggle I had was that there was a push to use as many images as possible, and event images are almost always extremely busy with all sorts of crazy colors. To combat this, I supplemented images with line art, which worked fairly well.
After doing a fair amount of research and many in–depth Skype meetings with Huong, I proceeded to sketch out and build wireframes. After making iterations, I used Sketch to put together drafts page by page. I built a simple GUI that me and my developers could reference. I would draft one page, send that for critique, edit another page while the first was being critiqued, and send the second page off while I finalized the first and sent it to developers. Time management was crucial for this project because I was also working full time.
Shiloh–events.com achieves top rankings on organic search
Conversion rate increase signifying that call to action was clear and successful
Shiloh now has branding guidelines and graphic content for email and print
Shiloh’s new employees stated that having a strong brand and website attracted them to the company
I learned the following from building a new identity and website for Shiloh Events:
- Be confident in my work; fight back when necessary
- Back up everything with research
- Avoid opinion bias
- Be organized from the beginning to save time later