Aug 27, 2012

New web site takes next step in product integration

Tony Treadway

We’ve just launched a new web site for a client that takes the next step in product integration. The client is one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of brick and other hardscape products, General Shale. You have GOT to take this site for a test drive to appreciate the work our team put into this project.

The strategy for the site is simple. Sell more products by “recommending” additional complimentary products when the user searches for a particular color or style of brick. No other brick company does this and in an economy where home remodeling is outpacing new construction, the function was strategically on point. The engine for such a capability was anything but simple.

We began in December of last year on a giant white board to develop with our new media development partner, Stellar Studio, a wire frame for the web site. Everything we could imagine the Stellar team said was possible, so we presented the scary-good ideas to the client who loved the concept of upselling their products online.

The back end of the new web site was created by cross tabulating more than 200 SKUs of products that were organized by color and style. Our production manager, Randy Greear, is an expert at organization and did an exceptional job of using logic to review each brick and then matching other General Shale products, such as pavers, retaining walls, outdoor living products, etc. to recommend to the user.

Travis Akard, the art director for the project, found or created images for the products and developed other art files that makes the site a thing of beauty. Kristen Lawson, our digital media manager, did her usual magic of managing the process and Stellar’s Chris Hendrickson was a coding genius in making the site intuitive, fast to load and simply extraordinary.

This blog can’t cover all of the great things about this site, but allow me to highlight some other great things about this new baby. Once a user clicks on a particular color of brick, they are presented with thumbnails of a variety of bricks within the color family. They can click “compare” under several of the thumbnails to create their own comparison sheet and either e-mail it to their contractor or a General Shale dealer who can then contact them with pricing and additional recommendations toward closing the sale.

The site also enables the user to find any General Shale retail outlet in the country. Each retail outlet has its own microsite that is customizable by the store manager to recommend local contractors or interior designers for the consumer or to highlight local store activities such as DIY clinics or home shows that that store is participating in. Each microsite pulls the functionality of the mother site, including monthly nationwide store promotions, a gallery of gorgeous homes using General Shale brick and a Great America Homes magazine where they can read case studies of other consumers who built their homes using General Shale products.  The site is also loaded with DIY installation videos that help the consumer build their own firepit or outdoor fireplace.

The project marked the most complex web site our agency has completed thus far and we are proud to have served up genius for our client, Dawn Duncan and Mark Kinser at General Shale. It feels good to give a client a best-in-class online presence.

Tony Treadway


President & CEO

Regarded in the advertising and PR industry as a top strategist, Tony is considered one of the most respected marketing minds in the business, especially in the $600 billion foodservice industry. As president, he leads Creative Energy in serving a variety of regional and national accounts in the textile, hardware, building materials, electronics, nuclear power and health care markets.