When Martin Guitar added our voice to the mix, the century-and-a-half old guitar manufacturer had a web presence that might best be described as antique. As a family run business lauded for producing the finest acoustic instruments in the world, Martin found they could relate to our close-knit team culture, cutting edge technology and dedication to quality. Martin handpicked us through an intensive agency vetting process to bring the same innovation they’ve become known for in their guitars to their web presence.
Playing to a new crowd
One of the key goals for the website redesign was to help Martin appeal to a new audience. Their established following consisted mainly of older, upper class guitar enthusiasts who value Martin’s quality and tradition. Our challenge was to help Martin break into a younger demographic and make them lifetime enthusiasts without alienating their already loyal fans.
We performed an in-depth competitive analysis comparing Martin not just to other top of the line guitar and instrument manufacturers, but to lifestyle brands like Burton that appeal to teens and twenty-somethings whether they snowboard or not. Our analysis gave us guidelines on which to base decisions as we moved into UX and Creative.
Classic, meet modern
Finding the right look for Martin was a careful balancing act. Early design concepts were stark and modern, clearly appealing to a younger Apple loving crowd. It was fresh and clean, but bordering on sterile, missing the handcrafted warmth of a Martin Guitar. Our designers hunkered down in the studio and orchestrated a collaboration between modern and classic. The final product’s warm wood tones and vintage feel stay true to the brand and their long-time customers with sleek navigation, rotating tiles and integrated social media making the site intuitive for the younger generation.
Pluck the right guitar from the lineup
With 175 models and endless combinations to choose from, picking the right Martin isn’t easy. The interactive guitar finder feature was designed to make whittling down the selection a walk in the park for both serious collectors and those picking up a Martin for the first time. A series of dropdown selections narrows the field to make it easier to find the one guitar to make your heart sing.
When we built the Martin website, Flash was in the middle of a swift exit. Before, Flash would have been the first choice for the unique sliding tile design of the homepage, but we knew using it would have dramatically shortened the shelf life of the website. Our tech wizards got creative and coded the whole thing without using a lick of the off-limits language. The end experience is just as smooth as it would have been in Flash, and users see the exact same scrolling homepage on any device.
Martin’s online apparel, accessories and collectibles shop – called the 1833 Shop to pay homage to their roots – is an important part of their web presence, especially as an entry point for new or younger fans who might not be ready to buy a guitar with pricing starting at $1,200, but are happy to sing the Martin tune wearing a $17.99 t-shirt. We developed the ecommerce platform to integrate with Martin’s backend ERP system, creating a seamless experience for both buyer and fulfillment.
Unlike hipsters, which abound at music festivals, Wi-Fi can be a little harder to come by. When Martin asked us to develop a way for them to collect customer information via tablets so they can conduct hourly giveaways at music festivals we needed to make sure the solution would work not just in the comfort of their offices, but in the middle of a field without being able to rely on consistent utility power or internet access. Our solution was to set up a portable web server/access point using a single board computer called a Raspberry PI, off the shelf hardware and open source software to create a simple device with no moving parts. The whole thing can run off a car power outlet or a battery pack. The web application can be run on anything with a browser – making it more versatile and less costly. Admins can export records, update giveaways, view/notify winners and keep tabs on prize pickup, all without leaving their tent.
Awards & Success
Interactive Media Awards 2012
- Outstanding Achievement Award
Summit Creative Awards 2012
- Bronze Award – Website Redesign
Summit Emerging Media Awards 2012
- Leader Award – Corporate/Image Website
Lehigh Valley ADDY Awards 2013
- Silver Award
Liquid Interactive has been our agency of record for three years now and the partnership has been stellar. Their attention to detail, creative collaborative spirit and industry expertise has proven to be an invaluable resource to us. Countless times the team at Liquid have gone above and beyond for us, always willing to do whatever is required to get the job done… well! I remain completely satisfied with their work and look forward to many more years of continued success.