- What we did
- UX Design
- Visual Design
- Our team
- Yasmeen Lemke, District Marketing Designer
- Urban Bergnaum, District Data Consultant
- Stanton Nicolas, Dynamic Identity Facilitator
- Robert Nienow, Central Creative Administrator
The challenge for Penguin Random House
As formerly separate companies, Penguin and Random House each had their own websites. Then they merged. Collectively, the two brands managed over 700 other websites, distributed across 6 publishing houses and over 40 imprints. Each website individually focussed on authors, books, series, and characters. Few of those 700 sites had significant levels of traffic, and commissioning new sites and marketing micro-sites with external agencies was getting expensive.
Penguin.co.uk was to become their new consumer-facing brand; it has 100% market recognition and the biggest catalogue in the world. Penguin Random House wanted to expand the brand beyond classics. People also don’t know that it’s related to two other strong brands, Puffin and Ladybird. How could we change the perception of Penguin and its related brands, and bring the brands together without diluting their identities? This brief became one of our biggest, most challenging projects.
How do you create a single strategy for stakeholders who may also be competitors?
Penguin Random House believed that the new Penguin website could help people discover the book they wanted to read next. At Clearleft, we love a good provocation to get theories and opinions out on the table; during one of our early workshops we asked a question of the stakeholders:
The results of the workshop with all the subsidiary brands of Penguin Random House contradicted what we had initially heard. Staff believed that the site could offer readers unique content, and better access to authors. To get strategic clarity, we worked with stakeholders to identify the top business objectives. Ones they could all get behind. With a bit of help from us, the internal team decided that the web should:
During the research we discovered:
- Wikipedia rules the roost. When asked to find out what an author had written, people ignored the author’s own website (1st result on Google), then headed straight for the author’s Wikipedia entry (2nd).
- There is a seasonality to the purchase of books. Most people didn’t find the idea of using penguin.co.uk to find books compelling. Yet, once there, they liked what they saw. We also saw an uptick in visitors using the site for this purpose at Christmas.
"Traditionally, digital has been commissioned in silos across the organisation. By hiring Clearleft, we've gained a vision of how we should all work together."Jon Salt, Head of Digital, Penguin.co.uk
Work on products & services
Radically improve existing products and services, or create them from scratch. Optimise a key interaction to get big results, give your website a new lease of life, or work with the team to conceive, create and build on an entirely new idea.
Get clear on your strategy
You might need a targeted intervention, to unpick a thorny problem, or a fresh perspective on your process. Our strategists work with you to research and develop an appropriate digital strategy that integrates with your organisation.
Transform your digital culture
Upskill your team, develop your processes, integrate design thinking and introduce new habits. By working closely with the Clearleft team as part of your in-house process, or in a bespoke workshop setting, you get an external perspective that’s directly relevant to your needs.