mStoner has an office in St. Louis. So when an RFI for a website redesign at Saint Louis University hit our inbox, we were pumped. We work six miles from campus! Three people on the mStoner team are SLU alums!
We got the project — right here in St. Louis. In late April 2015, we started our work with SLU’s Marcom team and had buckets of fun all the way through to the launch of the new site in July 2016.
The Elevator Speech
When asked to prep a summary of our engagement with SLU for the mStoner website, I wrote this:
“The new website for Saint Louis University tells the story of what it means to choose a Jesuit education. Building on a new logo and visual identity, the site design is clean, high-impact, filled with institutional pride, and stunning on mobile. Placing Majors & Programs front and center, the new SLU.edu gets right to the heart of the matter — exploring academic options.”
When I finish a client engagement, I do some unofficial reflection. I think back to when we started. I recall the challenging and less fun parts — all projects have them. I think about what I could have done better. Finally, I identify “the standout.” In a nutshell, what was exceptional?
For the SLU standout, I had several options. The upfront planning by SLU’s Marcom team was strong; the strategic approach from the mStoner team was spot on; the key players at SLU were thoughtful and decisive. Upon further reflection, I knew that the standout for the SLU.edu project was the Marcom team’s focus.
Demonstrating their laser focus, team members:
- Engaged a website redesign committee during the RFI phase and kept the committee interested and involved through the launch. (That only sounds typical if you’ve never led a campus committee.)
- Listened to our advice, but they also talked things over to get what they needed for SLU.
- Were more prepared for the content migration phase than any client I’ve worked with before.
- Paid attention to all the right things. For instance, they launched with new academic program pages for 190 undergraduate and graduate programs. (No typos here: 190)
- Never said they were too busy, overwhelmed, or distracted by other priorities. I’m sure they were; but regardless, they didn’t let anything get in the way of action or progress.
SLU’s Marcom team started with the end result in mind. And, at the end of the day, this team buckled down. They wanted a great website, and they were willing to do the hard work to make it happen. They walked the talk.
The Proof Points
The copy on the new site is strong, smart, and refreshing:
- On Research: “Discoveries — big and small — happen here every day.”
- On Academics: “Your pursuit of greater truth starts here. We’ll push you to be better, to think clearly on your own and to seek higher meaning in the service of others. We won’t be shy about it.”
- On Jesuit Tradition: “We educate the whole person — mind, body, heart and spirit.”
Flourishes throughout enhance the content and messaging:
- Photography on the Admission landing page that exudes warmth and a personal approach to SLU’s tradition of academic excellence.
- Animated illustrations on pages, such as About and Life at SLU.
- Parallax imagery just above the footer that reinforces the point on key landing pages, such as Academics.
- A canvas for photography and copy to tell the stories of Saint Louis University.
The site has won its first award:
- SLU’s Marcom team is celebrating the first award for the new site. Interactive Media Awards recognized SLU.edu with a Best in Class — the highest honor possible and given when judges award high scores for planning, execution, and overall professionalism.
- The SLU site earned 494 points out of a possible 500.
I’m not done talking about SLU. Before the end of the year, I’ll join a couple of Marcom team members for a webinar about their redesign. I look forward to giving them the attention they deserve.