An inside look into the thinking behind the new Adventure House.
When I bought Adventure House in 2011, my attorney asked me “Are you going to keep the name?” I of course said “Yes” but if I’m being honest, I’ve spent the last decade trying to understand what Adventure House means to people, what we are/aren’t, what we aspire to be, and what truly differentiates us.
About a year ago, I was watching a television show with my wife and I saw a commercial (pictured above) which prompted me to stop and take a photo of it.
A light went off. This cross-section of a house showing rooms packed with creativity and fun —each one its own scene—was the missing link connecting “Adventure” to “House” that I’ve not made all this time. And this is the approach that will fulfill its brand promise.
As I am too close to the Adventure House brand, I made a decision to bring on some new external partners without any preconceived notions to help me realize the new vision and help us differentiate our new website home from agencies with similar, commoditized services.
Getting a fresh perspective on positioning
After interviewing a number of positioning and writing agencies, what drew me to Treacle was their unique sleight of hand in writing very creative copy that inspired fun visual ideas by the agency creative team. This process started with a positioning exercise which was held over a number of Zoom whiteboard sessions and was essential in helping us unlock our true differentiators and position us on a course that achieved its objective.
Based in London, they have a fresh, creative, edgy voice that was critical in developing messaging that stands out from the same old same old agency value propositions that companies have heard over and over again. We worked with them for four months successfully and I am grateful for the experience.
Partnering for innovation
With the positioning and messaging on track, it was also important to bring on a new development partner without any prior conceptions of Adventure House technological constraints to help us realize the creative vision.
What stood out about Code Conspirators was not only their technological prowess but their willingness to take the ride with us and realize our vision of “Adventure House” through a dynamic, fun user experience. Our teams integrated over Slack sharing strategies, ideas, progress and blended perfectly. The development process was seamless, being able to communicate like we were all in one big physical room together, constantly improving on web strategies, and QAing the site over multiple devices to deliver the best user experience.
Building a unique creative strategy
Even though it was essential to bring on external partners to help us see the forest through the trees, it was critical for the core Adventure House design team to take the lead and execute the creative vision.
It was determined that the creative strategy will be focused around reinventing the concept of “house” or “home”. Through brainstorming, ideation, and numerous review meetings by the entire team at times, we deep dived into the concept and styles of how to express house and home:
But it had to be more than just house or home visuals – it was, after all, an ‘Adventure House’ digital agency, not Martha Stewart Living. It was essential that the design strategy needs to be pushed and primarily utilize illustration/animation to:
- Provide a nod to our roots. One of the original founders, Tom Wharton—now a successful painter based in West Virginia—was originally an illustrator of children’s books, including Hildegard Sings, which was developed into an iPad app. Inspired by and harnessing a certain level of illustrative whimsy was an important part of creatively differentiating the brand.
- Ensure limitless creativity. It was important to utilize a mixed media approach of illustration and photography, incorporating motion graphics as accents that provides an endless supply of creativity to bring Adventure House to life.
To start, we researched, identified, and audited many digital marketing and advertising agency sites worldwide which all were amazing in their own ways but many were quite formulaic, some using similar stock assets and approaches.
Utilizing mixed illustration and photography with SVG animations allowed the messaging to come to life and the site to tell more of a story than a straightforward capabilities and portfolio website. For example, the home page main brand panel and message randomly changes each time a visitor arrives to keep the experience fresh, yet consistent.
The background digital panels with scenes of adventure activates the brand messaging and the furniture in front of the full digital panels project elements of house and home. When combined, these scenes become the different rooms of the new Adventure House.
In addition, we utilize SVG animations throughout the site to feel alive and reinforce key messaging, employ a chatbot to provide answers to questions on the spot, and utilize case studies and insights content to reinforce expertise and design thinking.
At the end of the day, creativity and differentiation is key.
What we do for our clients every day is to differentiate their brand, messaging, and visuals that resonate with their target audience. With the new Adventure House website, we turned the exact same process on ourselves to realize Adventure House creatively with a memorable design strategy and a platform that will only grow and become the foundation for a successful future.