6 must-know CSR trends for public companies in 2017

One of the biggest focuses for public companies in the New Year is improving their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in terms of tailored goals, visibility, reporting, and more. The Ethical Corporation recently released a report in which they gathered research from 948 CSR professionals from around the globe on their thoughts of the state of their profession as it moves into 2017. We analyzed their research, as well as our own findings from what was most crucial for our clients this year, and developed these 6 must-know CSR trends for public companies in 2017.

1. CSR is more mainstream, which means more competition

A few years back, it was enough for public companies to have a fairly comprehensive Corporate Social Responsibility section on their website, with a simple PDF presentation and a few images of how they took into consideration the environment, communities, and their social impact. A vague understanding of social impact is no longer enough to stand out amongst the top public companies with the best CSR reputations. Taking action against climate change, contributing to social justice movements, and standing firm in founding principles are trends in themselves for big companies, and have become not just acceptable, but expected. With more companies understanding the value CSR can bring to both their public image and their stakeholders, it’s getting harder to make a message stand out in a sea of ‘do-gooding’. The Bmeaningful Blog writes, “Breaking through the clutter of messaging and advertising will be a challenge but we see tremendous opportunity for professionals who can authentically tell their companies’ cause story”.

2. CSR content will become even more personalized

Focus on CSR goals that make sense for your company and will garner the most trust from your primary stakeholders. As we talk about in our report entitled, What is CSR and Why Your Website Will Tell Your Story, “A trap that many companies fall into is thinking that CSR is only about giving back to the environment…CSR can also focus on efforts with local communities and interactions with your own consumers and what matters to them”. Building investor trust means tailoring content to their main concerns, while also ensuring you’re staying true to your company’s story and goals. If you’ve published multiple CSR success stories to a company newsletter, one focusing on community impact and one focusing on social change, you can serve different content to different investors based on what they most care about. As we discuss in our article about Digital Marketing Trends and Predictions for 2017, investors are looking for more personalized content. This includes what CSR stories you should be promoting.

csr trends for 2017 video

3. Showcase CSR efforts through video and animation     

Perhaps the biggest trend we see each year in the digital marketing world is that the online attention span of consumers is shrinking astronomically. We are so used to getting the information we want online right away, in bite-sized pieces. The same concept applies with investors. Your investors won’t have the time to read a 15 page PDF report on how your latest CSR measure impacted a community and benefited your company. Break down the CSR successes of the past year with videos, data visualizations, or animations on your website. Even more important: make your reporting shareable. Short videos illustrating your impact as a company are the perfect way to get some brand differentiation and easily circulate your message. TELUS’ 2015 Sustainability Report is a great example of how a company can mix text, bold images, and data visualization to highlight impact.

4. Align your CSR goals with those at the top

Ethical Corporation’s report states that “Only 25% of CSR executives [surveyed] stated their CFO is absolutely convinced of the value of the CSR report”. This is a problem. If your company’s CEO, CFO, and more aren’t aware of the CSR goals for the coming year, or don’t see value in spending more time, energy, and money on CSR initiatives or CSR reporting, your company will come across as disjointed and not united in your social message. Ensure that environmental impact, social justice, and community service goals aren’t simply dreamt and executed within one department. The whole company, from the top to the bottom, should understand the importance of what you’re doing and how it relates to your vision and end goals.

5. Make CSR presentations available on every platform

We spoke above about translating your CSR initiatives to video and animation, but it’s equally important to make sure what you’re putting out there can be accessed by anyone who wants to see what your company is up to. 2017 will see even more people disregard their desktops for a mobile phone, so make sure every downloadable CSR presentation, testimonial video, customer story, and website link are available by a smartphone or tablet browser.

csr trends for 2017 tablet

6. Don’t just report, relate back

Don’t focus all your CSR energy on reporting. Ethical Corporation’s report says, “60% of respondents agreed that too much time is being spent on the reporting process”. Investors want to see how CSR initiatives affected the numbers, but that doesn’t mean you can pull a ‘number dump’ and be done with it. Make sure you’re not just reporting the numbers or you’ll create a disconnect between your company and the lives you actually impacted. So this year, think about other ways to illustrate the impact you’ve made. Include more employee testimonials, customer success stories, environmental impact studies, or ‘Message from the CEO’ videos. Mixing up how you deliver CSR good news makes sure investors, as well as your target audiences, don’t get number fatigue.


Conclusion: Don’t choose a CSR focus based on what’s trending

Ironically, even though this article is all about CSR trends, make sure you’re not shifting your CSR strategy each year based on what’s trending. Although many big companies have jumped at the chance to show their support for social change in the past few years, that doesn’t mean you have to organize something similar for your company if a big social justice push doesn’t match your short or long term goals. As long as everyone is working towards your company vision, you should be okay.

For a comprehensive look at ways to improve your CSR on your website, as well as some great examples of public companies with great CSR reporting, download our guide below!



Connecting With Your On-The-Go Investors: The Complete Mobile-Friendly Checklist

Welcome to Part 5 of the Blender Blog’s highlights of our CIRI BC collaborative interactive eBook called Connecting With Your On-the-Go Investors: The Complete Mobile-Friendly Checklist. During the last month, we’ve written a lot of big picture articles, given you examples from peer companies of great mobile optimization, and peaked your interest (hopefully) at the fearsome “Mobilegeddon” Google update of last year. This week, however, it’s time to get down to specifics and think about what concrete steps you can take now in order to create an effective mobile strategy for your investors. Big picture articles are important in order to grasp exactly what is going on, but sometimes we get that you just want to see a checklist.

That’s why Section 5 of our interactive eBook provides you with a complete mobile-friendly checklist to run through yourself and assess the mobile readiness of your public company website. Section 5 also features some scenarios that on-the-go investors may encounter when viewing your website from a mobile device. How long will it take them to pull up your latest annual report while they’re in line for their morning coffee? What if they want to give you their email to receive a company newsletter? Are they able to do it on their walk to lunch? Test your website with our scenario section and see how easy it is for investors to download your information to their phones.

Mobile-Friendly Checklist

Here are three elements the complete mobile-friendly checklist looks for, and why they’re important:


But does it work? Your company can have the flashiest or most cutting edge website design out there, but if easy processes don’t work from a mobile phone or a tablet, your investors are bound to get frustrated. The Functionality portion of our downloadable checklist checks items such as:

  • How long do images take to load on your website?
  • How easy is it to pull up an email signup form and fill it out?
  • Are image galleries easy to navigate?
  • Are there any broken links?

User Experience

The User Experience section of the checklist takes you one step further and asks you to put yourself in the mindset of your on-the-go investors and decide how fluid your website is, taking into account each pathway and call-to-action. Some things we’ll check include:

  • Does the content hierarchy make sense on the page?
  • Are all colours and text on your website on brand for your company?

Search Ranking 

This is where your website meets the digital age. It’s not enough anymore to have a website out there and assume people can find you from search engines. Improve your rankings on Google through SEO, make sure your meta-description is up to date, and more. The Search Ranking section will check:

  • In what place is your website in mobile search results?
  • Does your website have a ‘mobile-friendly’ stamp on Google Chrome?
  • What comes up when you type your company name into a search bar?

Take a look at the complete checklist and scenarios to get you mobile-friendly in our interactive eBook Connecting With Your On-The-Go Investors and start checking off those boxes!

Connecting with your On-The-Go Investors: Beyond the Website

What other aspects of your IR communications can benefit from a mobile-first focus?

Last week, we focused on specific website examples from Canadian public companies who have made mobile a top priority when it came to their website and investor relations section. While mobile optimization is definitely the first step, the job isn’t done once your website looks great on a phone or tablet. A mobile-friendly website is only one step in the process of getting your company ready for a mobile focused future. There are many other ways of communicating with your on-the-go investors that can benefit from revisiting your IR strategy with a mobile lens.

Section Four of Blender Media and CIRI BC’s collaborative eBook, Connecting with Your On-The-Go-Investors takes a look at every part of a conclusive investor relations strategy, beyond the website, and discusses how public companies can benefit from mobile-friendly presentations, reports, email signups, and more. Navigate to the interactive eBook now to take an in-depth look at our findings, or read the highlights below!


My website is mobile-friendly, aren’t I done?

Nope. As we mentioned above, having a mobile optimized website is the first step, but definitely not the last in order to have a complete mobile strategy for your public company. Get inside mind of your on-the-go investors and ask yourself: What issues might my investors run into when looking at my company info from their phones? Below are a few of our ideas for potential problems:

“I want to make note of the company’s next conference call/annual report/ tradeshow on my phone’s calendar, but it’s too complicated.”

Build an ‘Add to Calendar’ or ‘Remind Me’ function into your company’s latest updates so on-the-go investors can easily select their type of calendar and have the event saved straight to their mobile device. This process is easy to implement for you, and will save your investors time.

Going Mobile Beyond the Website screenshot

“I want to sign up for email alerts, but it’s too hard to fill out the form from my tablet.”

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to fill out an electronic form on a phone and having the keyboard open and collapse at random times, or the form fields stop registering, or the ‘submit’ button is too difficult to tap. Don’t put your on-the-go investors through that headache and ensure that every form on your website requesting information works flawlessly.


“I’ve opened their annual report on my phone, but the PDF is too small to read and I have to keep zooming in with my fingers.”

Ah, the old PDF pinch and zoom. Although downloadable PDFs are still widely used by public companies for annual reports, is that the way it always has to be? What about an interactive annual report as a separate website that functions well on any mobile device? Creating a digital annual report with animated highlights, easily selectable chapters, great design, and more will stand out to your investors much more than the same old PDF. Want to see an example? Navigate to our latest eBook that we call the “PDF slayer.” Connecting With Your On-The-Go Investors gives you a digital reading experience like no other.


Read about what other IR materials can be enhanced with a mobile focus (such as news releases, annual reports, and IR presentations), as well as testimonials from the industry’s top IR experts in our full report. Check it out here!


Connecting with your On-The-Go investors: Great Mobile Examples

Take a lesson from your peers, and get mobile optimized.

We’ve been writing a lot lately about why it’s so important to have a mobile-friendly website in order to better communicate with your on-the-go investors. You’ve learned the basics of what mobile-friendly means for public companies. We explained how giant companies like Google are changing the way their mobile searches work with ‘Mobilegeddon’.

This week, we’re looking at specific website examples from Canadian public companies who have made mobile optimization a top priority. In Section Three of our interactive eBook, Connecting with Your On-The-Go Investors, we pull together examples of great mobile websites from companies of all sizes and all industries.


Here’s what you can expect from Section Three: Examples of mobile-friendly websites.

Analyze the mobile readiness of your peers! Below, in this week’s blog, we break down one great example of a mobile-friendly website from our friends at Teck Resources. Section Three of the eBook, however, offers many more examples from great companies as well as an explanation of why mobile optimization should be on your investor relations strategy agenda. You can also read testimonials from IR executives at Teck Resources and others about why mobile was an asset for their investor strategy. The eBook’s collaboration with CIRI BC ensures that each example takes into consideration the needs of Canadian public companies. Navigate to the eBook now for the full experience, or continue reading for one example.


Why we love Teck Resources’s mobile website

Many assume that only companies in the technology sector can benefit from having a cutting-edge website. However, Teck is a great example of a natural resources company with a website built for this day and age. Here are some specific reasons why we love them on mobile:

Great Mobile Examples 1

The Design Isn’t Compromised

Teck’s mobile design is just as stunning as their desktop website. Sliding banners with high quality photos capture the attention of on-the-go investors and the mobile design keeps consistent with the same typography and colours as the desktop experience.


Great Mobile Examples 2

Company News and Performance Features

Teck’s mobile homepage includes pullouts from the latest company news and investor performance figures with an option to navigate to the full page to learn more. Pulling out performance statistics on the homepage makes it easy for on-the-go investors to quickly get the bite-sized information.

Great Mobile Examples 3

Wealth of Information

Teck’s mobile website provides on-the-go investors with all the information they need, from the latest news release to the importance of CSR and sustainability measures. Oftentimes, a public company’s desktop website offers the full breadth of information, while the mobile website lacks a majority of website sections. Teck’s mobile website, however, uses an intuitive navigation and clean design to display all the information needed in an organized way.


Great Mobile Examples 4

Focus on Sustainability

Teck’s mobile website features a section called ‘Our Approach to Sustainability’ with visual icons to help mobile users grasp their environmental plan. At the bottom of the mobile homepage, on-the-go investors can easily find the 2015 Sustainability Report, as well as the latest annual report.


Great Mobile Examples 5

Teck is only one example of the many Canadian companies who are helping their on-the-go investors find the information they need with their mobile websites. To see all the examples and learn more strategies, make sure to navigate to Section Three of the eBook: Connecting With Your On-The-Go Investors.

Questions to ask yourself when developing a brand story

Introduction: developing a brand story is crucial for website design

Where did you come from, what are you doing now, and where are you going? Developing a brand story that speaks to your vision and what sets you apart from your competition is an important factor of good website structure. You need to figure out how to best relay all the important information for an online audience that typically has a 15 second attention span per webpage. Yeah, tricky. The best way to ensure you have a solid brand identity is by narrowing your field and asking yourself the pointed questions below.

How does a great company story online help you become a major player in your industry? Here is How to establish yourself as an industry leader through your website. 

Question 1: What distinguishes my goals from my vision?

First, let’s understand the difference between a company ‘goal’ and company ‘vision’. Goals are most often concrete steps your company will take in the next few years to achieve attainable milestones. These goals should be aligned with the interests of your company, your investors, and all others involved. A vision, however, is usually more abstract. Visions are something you hope to achieve in the future, and can be a bit more far-reaching. A vision often includes the way you see your company impacting the future and what it’s place in the world will be. When developing a brand story, make sure to separate your concrete five year goals from your aspirations for the distant future.

Question 2: How would I explain my product/service in one sentence?

Every company needs to be able to explain their main service in an ‘elevator pitch’. If it takes more than a few sentences to explain your ‘About Us’, it’s going to be very difficult to have a clear and straightforward content strategy on your website. It can be difficult to be concise, so start by writing everything that’s important and then drastically cut back until you have two clear sentences.

Question 3: What is one thing I offer that none of my competitors do?

Nothing kills a company’s website more than getting lost in the crowd. When developing a brand story, you should first do research on all your competitors. What elements are they pitching heavily on their websites? How do they structure their most important information? Did you develop your company because you saw something was lacking in your industry? What was that one thing? Find what you do that’s unique, even if it’s something small like extending your hours of operation to accommodate both east and west coast markets. Highlight those unique aspects on your website. You can also learn from the masters and read 6 lessons from famous companies on creating a killer brand. 

Question 4: What are three highlights about my company that investors would be interested in?

If question 3 was about researching your competitors, this question is about getting into the mind of your potential investors. What elements are important to investors of your industry, and how many of those boxes do you tick? If you’re a mining company, how many in-production projects do you have vs. exploration? Are any of your sites 100% owned? No one understands the assets of your industry like you. If you are newer and have yet to make any major strides, what are some concrete ways you’ve been moving towards your goals? Sometimes even showing determination and highlighting a strong plan for the future is enough to hook an investor.

Question 5: How have I failed?

This is a big one in developing your brand story, even if it’s kept as an internal question (we don’t mean you should be plastering your failures all over your website). What were some of the major setbacks in developing your company? Are they issues that could arise again? And most importantly, if a bit cheesy, what have you learned from your failures and how will you grow? Often analyzing your past failures will help you build more targeted goals.

Question 6: Why am I here?

The last question is the one abstract one of the bunch and might even include a bit of soul searching. But really, ask yourself: why are you here? What makes you work towards your company goals and vision every day? What is it about your company that you believe in? Get personal in thinking, because it’s most likely the reasons you love your company that will resonate the most with your audience. Web audiences are smart, and can tell when a company’s vision is ghostwritten or crafted from a template. Allow your audience to see the human side of your company and why you’re more than just a bunch of people in a building.


Conclusion: now get everyone on board

Developing a brand story means nothing if only a few people in your company understand what you’re all doing there. Every single person who works for you should understand as well. If you’re developing a brand story, make sure everyone else also knows the company’s goals and why they give up their time each day to be working with you. A common goal makes for a hard working and well-oiled machine. Happy researching and happy brand developing!


7 pain points that mean you need a new website

Introduction: how to know if you need a new website

Since the website redesign spectrum is all over the place, it can be hard to know if you need a new website. There are large public companies who haven’t changed the look of their website in decades, while other companies of the same size (like General Electric) are constantly challenging themselves digitally by adding new website trends, social media platforms, videos, and presentations. So how do you know where your company fits in all of this? We don’t mean you need to be keeping up with every single digital trend-that would just get tiring. We’ve compiled a few ‘pain points’ that website viewers commonly feel when viewing a website. If your website suffers from any of these frustrations, you probably need a new website. A whole new site can sound like a big undertaking, especially if you’re looking for outside help. Here’s a quick eBook on how to pick the right website agency.

Pain point #1: Not compatible with modern browsers

Ever heard of BrowserStack? This online tool allows you to type in your website’s URL and run it through every new and older version of of Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and more. If your current website isn’t looking so pretty on the newer versions of these browsers (or newer versions of Android and iOS devices) it’s time to start thinking of an upgrade. It should be compatible with most older versions too, but dinosaur websites can’t hang. We recommend that before IE 9 just needs to upgrade.

Pain point #2: You’re not mobile-friendly

This one’s a biggie. Check to see how your website looks on a smartphone and tablet. Do you have to zoom in on the screen to click buttons on the page? Is it really hard to type in your information on contact forms? Is it impossible for you to navigate to another page without clicking two things you didn’t mean to? A non mobile optimized website is very frustrating for your website viewers. Make sure one size fits all.

Pain point #3: Outdated design

Again, we’re not saying your website always has to be the latest and greatest in website design trends. But if it’s been over three years since you last upgraded your website’s design, you’ll probably need a new website. Remember the internet design trends of five or ten years ago, with neon flashing glitter letters and scrolling text on banners? It’s not just about looking good; a quality website design looks good on your company as well. It shows that you’re keeping up with the times and kept informed.

Pain point #4: No on-page content strategy

Remember that a website’s main purpose (especially the homepage) is to give users and potential investors the necessary information to make an educated decision and hopefully decide to contact you to find out more. Our digital attention span is getting shorter and shorter nowadays, especially with so many companies converting their messages to short, bitesized videos. No one wants to navigate to a website with lots of useless content and confusing pathways through the site so they are unable to find the information they  need.

Pain point #5: Content isn’t optimized for searches

Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) is a term that’s not going away anytime soon. When someone has an issue that your company  solves, they’ll most likely search for the answer on the internet. Make sure your content is optimized for search engines so that when someone Googles their question, your website pops up! SEO is a bit tricky to implement, but here are some SEO basics to know before a website redesign.

Pain point #6: You can’t update your own content

This is a huge pain point if you’re a public company and constantly need to update your investor section with the latest news release, or publish your quarterly numbers or an annual report. You need the help of a good content management system (or CMS) to be able to access the backend of your site and make the necessary updates.

Pain point #7: You like you competitor’s website better

Time for some honesty here. If even you love a competitor’s website more than your own, then all your customers or potential investors are bound to as well. A great website establishes you as an industry leader and makes you seem much more on top of your game than competitors websites who just can’t get it together.

Conclusion: okay, so what’s the next step?

If you’ve concluded from the above pain points that you need a new website, what are the next steps you should take? You want to decide if it makes more sense for your company to hire a website agency to take over, or possibly multiple specialized agencies to refine your full digital presence? Here’s the difference between full service agencies vs. niche agencies. If you want a more specific look about what to do when looking for an agency, download The Complete Checklist for Hiring a Website Agency below!

need a new website

Great website design examples to inspire your own

Introduction: design trends aren’t only for the ‘flashy’ companies

While we’ve written many blog posts about making sure your homepage is more than pretty, today we’re focusing on the design itself (so you have our full permission to ‘ooooh’ and ‘ahhhhh’). We pulled some great website design examples below, so you can see how both our clients and companies from all industries have managed to incorporate new website design elements. The below websites show that you don’t have to be Apple or Tesla to have great web design. Every company of every industry can benefit from these trends. How can you utilize some of these elements in your company’s website?

Inspired to start your own website design project? What are you supposed to talk about when you call an agency? Before you get overwhelmed, download our Complete Checklist for Hiring a Website Agency!


Great website design examples that follow current trends

Trend: large background images

1. Warby Parker

The white space of Warby Parker’s main website ensures that the big background images pop. The overall stripped back and clean design also mimics Warby Parker’s fresh young vibe as a brand.


great website design examples


2. B2Gold Corporation

Large background images are great for CSR sections of any public company website. Here’s an example the Social Responsibility section of a website we did for our friends at B2Gold. The images describe their social impact better than any paragraph on the page.


great website design examples

Trend: background video

3. Paperless Post

This is one of our favorite websites lately. Paperless Post does almost all their work from their website, so it had to be both beautiful and simple to use. The background video on the homepage shows examples of different scenarios in which their cards are used.


great website design examples


4. Uranium Energy Corporation

We helped UEC include background video to their website redesign to showcase their projects (as well as make their homepage really pop). Similarly to Paperless Post, this video also showcases their product to their audience.


great website design examples

Trend: mobile first design

5. Elespacio

Elespacio is a Spanish digital agency who recently won an award for their mobile first website design. Their scrolling homepage banners look just as beautiful and are just as easy to scroll through on mobile as they are on a desktop computer.


great website design examples


6. EXL Service

We’ve written about the mobile-first design of EXL, a decision-analytics and operation management provider company, before because it’s one of the best examples of mobile first websites we’ve seen. The best mobile websites make the user forget they’re even viewing from a smartphone or tablet because they don’t feel constricted by the device in any way.


great website design examples

Trend: long scroll

7. Apple

There are many companies that artfully include a long scrolling page to highlight products or elements of their website, but Apple does it the best. Complete with subtle animation as a user scrolls, the long scroll really captures the company’s story.

great website design examples

8. Rise 

Shoutout to a local company! Rise is the ‘future of HR’, or a people and culture platform. They recently rebranded and redesigned their website, and we love the long scroll they’ve incorporated to better tell their story.

great website design examples

Conclusion: know the trends, no matter who you are

In paring great website design examples from one ‘cool industry’ company with an example of how a lesser known company can also use these trends, we hope to inspire you to get thinking about how anyone can really implement great web design. Not sure where to start your redesign project, or if you’ll need the help of an agency? Download the checklist below to see if you need the help of professionals!


What is a full service digital marketing agency?

Introduction: You have many options for your website project

If you’re considering a website redesign project or want help planning your digital marketing strategy, a full service digital marketing agency is one of the options you’ll come across in your research. The word is one thrown around a lot in our industry, but what does it really mean? Also, you may be wondering if it’s better to work with a full service agency or multiple niche agencies. This blog will cover the differences between the two and why, in our opinion, a full service digital marketing agency is the way to go.

Want to know some specific steps to take when choosing a website agency, or specific questions to ask them? Check out The Complete Checklist for Hiring a Website Agency!


What is a full service digital marketing agency?

A full service agency manages all aspects of a company’s digital presence. While their services may focus on one area, such as website design or development, they also help clients with the strategy and execution of many other parts of digital, including social media, search engine optimization, content strategy and creation, and more.

what is a full service digital marketing agency?

What is a niche agency?

A niche agency, also sometimes referred to as a specialized agency, is a digital agency who only works in a very specific aspect of digital marketing. Often, companies turn to multiple niche agencies when thinking of reevaluating their website presence. It’s a possibility to hire one company to control your social media presence or, even more specific, to hire one company to control your Twitter, another company to control your Instagram, and so on.

Should I work with one full service agency or with multiple niche agencies?

A question many companies face once they’ve decided they want to revamp their digital presence is: ‘Do I hire several niche agencies, with one taking over Twitter strategy, one my website, one my Google analytics, and one my content writing? Or do I hire one agency that can help me in all of these channels?’ When making a choice, it’s important to think about your company’s goals. If you’re a larger company and your main priority for your digital presence is efficiency, then hiring different niche agencies may not work unless you have an employee responsible for keeping contact and communication open with each of them. However, the niche agencies are niche for a reason. Why wouldn’t you hire someone to control your Instagram who lives and breathes nothing but that specific social network? Unsure about what your specific goals are? No problem. Here’s a few points to consider:

Analytics and reporting

Niche agencies can dig deep into one platform for you and know exactly what to do with the data for that platform. Full service digital marketing agencies tend to look at analytics over the whole spectrum: what does the social media data vs. the website data look like, and what is that telling us?

What is a full service digital marketing agency?

One aspect or many?

Is your goal to gain exposure and followers on one specific aspect of your digital marketing strategy, or do you want to see what your digital presence looks like as a whole? Niche agencies are better at specifics for the platform you’re consulting with them on, while full service digital marketing agencies will look over everything.


Of course a niche agency will have a full service agency beat when it comes to experience, learnings, case studies, and feedback for the particular platform they work for, as they focus on it everyday. However, a full service digital marketing agency will be an expert in the digital space. If you want to figure out how these platforms can link together to align with your company goals, a full service agency will know how to create those pathways between platforms.

Brand voice

Full service agencies are more likely better at coordinating one brand voice across all your digital platforms, as they’re managing all of them and providing strategy. Niche agencies will be well versed and able to effectively speak to the audience for the one platform you’re paying them for.

What is a full service digital marketing agency?

Why we recommend a full service agency

In order to have an impactful digital presence, all aspects of it including your website, social media tools, presentations, and, for public companies, investor marketing materials, need to be effectively working together. Full service digital marketing agencies promise fluidity and cohesiveness when it comes to your company’s messaging, goals, and the way you to speak to investors. Multiple niche agencies will be harder to coordinate and sync together when looking at the digital components of your company.


Conclusion: Think about your company’s goals

As we said above, when choosing you need to first assess what your company’s main goal is in wanting to refine your presence on the web. Are 90% of your customers accessing you on Twitter or LinkedIn? If so, hiring a niche agency specifically for social media may work. If your website, presentations, email marketing, and more need to be synced up with the same brand voice, start talking to some full service digital agencies. Not sure what questions to ask any agency when you finally do decide? Download the Complete Checklist for hiring a website agency. It’s right below!


7 reasons why companies hire website agencies

Introduction: Do I need to hire a website agency?

There are different routes you can take once you’ve decided that you want a new website or want to revitalize your old one. With companies like Wixx, Weebly, and WordPress (why all the ‘w’s? we wonder) offering you the build-it-yourself platform, it’s a valid point to wonder why companies hire website agencies. This week’s blog breaks down common reasons companies seek out an agency to help with their digital marketing needs. If you want more specific advice on what you need to be asking an agency once you talk to them, download The Complete Checklist for Hiring a Website Agency. 


7 reasons why companies hire website agencies

1. Agencies are often one-stop shops

Many companies, especially publicly traded ones, go into a website redesign project imagining that new colours and crisper images are the only thing holding them back from better website traffic and more email signups. What usually ends up being the case, however, is that upon researching further the company realizes that what they’re really looking for is help with their entire digital marketing strategy. Beyond just a website redesign, this can include content strategy, social media support, opportunities for mobile optimization, as well as looking at the latest digital trends. A reason why companies hire website agencies is because they feel comfortable knowing one group can take care of their digital presence.



7 reasons why companies hire digital agencies

2. Personalized support

While the DIY website builders have help lines and support pages, there’s thousands of people at once, from individuals to larger companies, who are learning how to use their service. Many companies choose to hire agencies for the personal touch of a client/vendor relationship. If we’re talking public companies, the space of website compliance and mandatory releases and filings can be tricky for anyone to understand. It’s helpful to know there are people standing by who do this for a living and are able to give personalized suggestions and assistance.



7 reasons why companies hire digital agencies

3. Continued website maintenance

This is especially true for publicly traded companies, who are mandated to keep the public updated on their activities, and who publish news releases and company information frequently. Purchasing a monthly support package from an agency ensures that your website stays updated with all the information you need. Also, with the digital world evolving at the speed of light, your website may not be up to standards in a year from now, or might not render well on a new device that comes on the market. Website agencies are on top of the latest updates and trends, so will make sure your website is at the highest possible standard.




7 reasons why companies hire digital agencies

4. Safety and security

DIY website builders like WordPress are open source, meaning that the code of their website is accessible to anyone who wants to look through it. The sheer multitude of people with open access to the WordPress process inevitably also makes it an easier platform to hack into. Companies with sensitive information who want to make security of files a top priority often look to website agencies for their website project. Website agency servers are more secure, especially if they have build their own content management system (CMS) to create and update content.



7 reasons why companies hire digital agencies5. Design originality

Another reason why companies hire website agencies is for the in-depth approach many agencies take to learn about their client and their goals with a new website project. The DIY website builders implement click and drag systems, and anyone can buy a design they like the best. Companies seek out website agencies when they have specific targets in mind, or want their website design to be 100% original to their story. Most agencies have some sort of ‘discovery meeting’ or learning session before they begin design to get to know their client’s style.



7 reasons why companies hire digital agencies

6. Expertise in the industry

We recommend that companies looking to hire a website agency should look for agencies with expertise within their sector. A company in the natural resources industry will have different website goals and a different content strategy than a retail company. Website agencies are often available for content strategy consultation, and can guide companies through the types of content their target market will want to see first.



7 reasons why companies hire digital agencies

7. Websites get stale

If we can get away with this one without the cheesy music starting to play: a website is a living thing. Once a site’s finished, it doesn’t just sit there, looking perfect, forever and ever. In a few years, after the iPhone 64 has been released, your website probably won’t look so hot if it hasn’t been updated with the latest design trends. A reason why companies hire website agencies is because they don’t have the time to be thinking about how their website looks, especially on all the different devices out there. Website agencies are on top of the trends and latest updates (it’s our job). They think about this part and let you know if something needs to change so you don’t have to worry.


Conclusion: Think twice before you drag-and-drop

We hope this gave you a brief overview of some of the main challenges our clients face when they come to us for a website redesign. Though DIY website builders are a lot cheaper to build, factors like safety, constant maintenance, and keeping the site fresh for years to come are why companies hire website agencies to do the job. Think about the most important goals for your company and decide from there.



Must-have elements of an investor website

Introduction: what’s the most important content for investors to see?

A good investor relations website or investor section relies on good content strategy. As public companies, you want to think like your investors and figure out what content is important to showcase first, as well as pay attention to what investors want to see during different times of the year. In this blog post we’re focusing on some must-have elements of an investor website. You may already know that contact information should be on a website, but at what point and which information? How important, really, is a media section, or news? We break it all down for you below.

Thinking it’s time for a website refresh, but not sure where to start? Check out The Complete Checklist for Hiring a Website Agency. 


Here are 8 must-have elements of an investor website

1. Multiple touchpoints asking for signups

As investors are browsing through your IR section, they should be subtly pushed to areas to sign up in order to receive the latest news and updates from your public company. And we don’t mean long forms in which you attempt to collect everything from their name to place of business to what they ate for breakfast that morning. A simple slide out prompting them to add their email address to your mailing list to ‘never miss out on updates’ will do just fine.


must-have elements of an investor website


2. Focus on the latest publication

The biggest draw on the front of your IR website should be the latest quarterly results, a recently released annual report, or a blurb about a hot-off-the-press release which links to a more detailed news section. Think of the space at the forefront of your IR section like your shop window: what is the biggest seller that people walk into your store to look at? Most investors will look to your website for up-to-date documents. Don’t make them search for them.


3. Upcoming events calendar

Don’t expect investors to know when your next shareholder meeting is happening: post about it on your investor website! Better yet, allow them to sign up for calendar notifications or send them an email reminder. And don’t forget to pay attention to the calendar yourselves. Is your company going through a big transition such as a merger or leadership change? Once the press release is done and dusted, highlight the change on your calendar so investors can understand the scope of what’s happening.


must-have elements of an investor website


4. ‘At a Glance’ or ‘Why Invest’ area

Potential investors most likely aren’t going to read paragraphs of content when they’re first browsing your website. We’ve come to the age where consumers like their information in bite-sized, often video produced, pieces and everyone is skimming.  (If you’ve read this far into the blog post, we’d like to give you a high five). Break down the most ‘bragworthy’ information of your company into a bullet pointed list of why you’re worth the investment. If you’re feeling extra creative, create small data visualizations so investors can see your progress as a company. These little touches are some must-have elements of an investor website that make the difference to your audience.


5. Keep your stock symbol at the top of every page

Many companies only provide their stock symbol within the ‘stock information’ section of their IR site. We’d argue, especially for our friends in the natural resources industry, that keeping your stock symbol at the top of each page is one of the must-have elements of an investor website. A fixed stock symbol ensures that investors never need to search through your investor website to find it. Or, take it one step further, as we did for our friends over at B2 Gold in the example below. A fixed stock information area at the top of each page shows the current price of gold, as well as the company’s current share price. Clicking on the fixed navigation at the top brings a user to a more detailed stock information page.


must-have elements of an investor website


6. Think mobile

More and more investors are viewing IR related content on their phones throughout the workday. What does your public company’s mobile presence look like? A current digital trend sees companies designing ‘mobile-first’, or putting a pristine mobile experience as a top priority. If investors can’t download your investor presentation or view it properly on their mobile devices, you could be in trouble.

Have you taken our Ultimate Mobile Optimization Test? See if your IR website makes the cut, or else it may not show up in Google search results!


must-have elements of an investor website


7. Investor FAQ

This is a simple add-on that not a lot of public companies think about. Most companies offer FAQ sections on other areas of their website, but not usually as part of their investor website. Apple’s investor website includes a thorough FAQ area addressing questions like, “What exchange does Apple trade on?” and “When was Apple’s initial public offering?”


must-have elements of an investor website


8. Offer specific IR contact info (if available)

If you have a specific investor relations email address or point of contact, offer opportunities for general inquiries as well as investor specific questions on your IR section. This not only gives potential shareholders more choice, but shows that there is a direct line of contact for them.


Conclusion: Now go above and beyond

These must-have elements of an investor website are great starting off points to ensure that your shareholders are happy and receiving all the information they need. What’s next, you ask? Start thinking of some ways you can improve the investor experience. Whether it’s adding a CEO video addressing your shareholders, an animated data visualization to showcase your company’s growth in the past five years, or a mobile-first way of thinking.