People were talking about Cheerios all over the web, so why wasn’t anyone visiting their website? We helped the brand move away from a standard model into a centralized hub of the information people were seeking out every day. After working with Zeus Jones on social media projects, the folks at Cheerios were curious about how we’d apply our digital strategy and design sensibilities to retooling their website. They asked us to create a proposal, so we got to researching. Right away, we encountered a tough question. What would motivate people to visit a cereal company’s website? We weren’t sure. We started searching Cheerios’ presence on the internet and found out that not only was it a frequently discussed brand, but that there were blogs, forums and queries about Cheerios popping up every day. Common questions centered on babies’ first foods, Cheerios and heart health and keeping kids healthy. Cheerios turned out to be a sociable brand, even popular enough that many mom bloggers had styled their blogs around Cheerios-centric themes. Despite all of that discussion, Cheerios’ website reflected little of that content. It was missing an opportunity to become a centralized, trustworthy resource and reflection of its devoted fan community. Cheerios decided that instead of spending money on Google search ads, they would invest it in exploring how their website could be more relevant. At the time, the first result linking to a Cheerios website was, on average, seven links from the top. If it became a real destination for all of these discussions, it would climb in search results naturally.
We decided to build Cheerios.com around the 65 most common search inquiries about Cheerios. The goal involved a simple inversion of strategy: Make Cheerios.com reflect what people wanted to know about Cheerios, rather than what we wanted people to know about Cheerios.
Adding Content and Making it Social
We started with the question – what would make people want to visit Cheerios’ website in the first place? With that in mind, we began developing different segments that would be helpful and engaging for visitors, and made the content front and center. To make it feel less like a brand telling people what’s what, we built the site to be social, inviting visitors to share their stories, advice and anecdotes.
A More Human, Modern Design
When approaching the design, we went away from flashy, hackneyed graphics and tried to keep it simple and centered on people. We wanted to focus on the emotion of visitors who are concerned about their children’s health and proud of their accomplishments and creativity as a family. Recipes, baby photos and more would take center stage.