by Pádraic Gilligan, Managing Partner, SoolNua
The SoolNua site has been in soft launch mode for the past couple of weeks but next week we’ll officially launch V2 of the website. The soft launch allowed us to iron out some wrinkles and get some really valuable feedback prior to formally signing our names to its release. Like all contemporary websites, there are, effectively, multiple versions to cater for the diverse formats of desktop, tablet and mobile so it’s been a lengthy process but definitely worth it.
The SoolNua website was created with our great friends Simon Geraghty and Billy Gillooley of DotDash and I think it’s fair to say it’s has been a true labour of love for us all. When you find a partner that’s able to capture in visual precision those elusive and indistinct creative impulses that ramble around in the forest of your mind then treasure them dearly because they are as rare as hen’s teeth. We have worked with Simon and Billy for a number of years now both on our own and client projects and it has become a true symbiotic collaboration.
So how is V2 different from V1?
The original SoolNua website captured well our aspirations for the fledging start-up that we were but definitely lacked substance and depth. It was strong on energy, colour and personality but weak on content, data and details of what SoolNua actually did. Truth is, we weren’t so sure back then what we did! But now we’re beginning to understand and, more importantly, we know what we don’t do and all that’s been captured on the website by a simple venn diagram. We do projects involving Strategy, Marketing and Training or, indeed, some combination thereof.
We’re also much clearer now about our audience or client base. We work with destinations, hotels and venues or, indeed, any organisation or enterprise in the broad meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) marketplace. So this includes DMCs, exhibitions and trade shows, industry associations. We’ve been able to craft this into a simple statement:
(We’re a) … boutique consultancy helping destinations, venues and hotels increase MICE business.
Building the Portfolio
Knowing our audience and knowing our fields of work has enabled us to build a portfolio of successful projects and then express them in case study form. Thus V2 showcases the breadth of what we do with 3 actual case studies on each of strategy and marketing as well as a full catalogue of all the training courses we offer. And, of course, the training courses can also be downloaded as a PDF.
If V1 lacked substance around what we do and how we can help our clients then we hope V2 solves that by providing in-depth details. We layered the information too so that only visitors to the site that want more in-depth data need do so – more general visitors can simply keep scrolling!
A late addition to the site, which came directly from feedback received in the past two weeks, was a wayfinding system that, we think, greatly improves site navigation. Some visitors got lost on the Marketing | Strategy | Training section as this section has a horizontal, swipe-over navigation in addition to the vertical, scroll-down one. We put in signposts to help with this and then added a few more random ones, just for the fun of it!
Who are we anyway?
Having outlined “what we do” we then introduce an extended “who are we” section where @Supergreybeard and I present ourselves as professionals in the MICE industry but also as living, breathing human beings with a life! This was important for us in V1 of the site and received very positive feedback but we’ve developed the concept here following the wise old Jesuit adage “Show me your company and I’ll tell you who you are”.
The “our community” page was an opportunity to introduce site visitors to the full crew and cast that make up the SoolNua show and without whom we’d be mere flat, two dimensional characters. This community is comprised of clients, industry friends, competitors, collaborators who delight and inspire us and make us jump out of bed every morning with pep in our step. Our plan for this section of the site is to keep it fresh and new by introducing new community members every quarter or so.
It’s all about the Social!
And that leads us finally to the “Social” section of the site. Advances in WordPress and in the available plug-ins have allowed us express the full extend of our (twisted) personalities! There’s a pretty full palette of colour here with everything from Twitter feeds to Blog posts to Video to Spotify playlists on a scrollable page that’s also fully interactive, allowing visitors move the boxes around. This page, we think, also shows our capabilities as both creators and curators of content with posts from this blog, brilliant movies by Aoife, twitter feeds from us all, instagram posts from Sarah and Pat and our monthly Spotify playlist. If this was a fun page to create, it’s also the page that displays our ease and familiarity with digital, arguably the most exciting and crucial channel with marketing today.
So welcome to V2 of the SoolNua website. We hope you like it as much as we liked creating it. More importantly, we hope you find it useful both as a portal into the dizzy excitement of the MICE industry and as an clear statement of the value that SoolNua can bring to destinations, hotels and venues in terms of marketing, strategy and training for the MICE market. Please report any flaws, bugs, typos etc to firstname.lastname@example.org and do let us have your comments, both good and bad!
Pádraic Gilligan and Patrick Delaney are Managing Partners at SoolNua and look forward to working with you on your next MICE facing project