Making a Complex Web Project Look Simple

At SCG, we take pride in our ability to simplify the complex. Whether it’s staying ahead of the latest tech trends to deliver a top-notch digital presence or web project, boosting lead generation to attract new business, getting a leg up on your advertising or refreshing your brand from top to bottom, we help our clients succeed. That’s why MEA Energy Association came to us to refresh the MEA brand and untangle the complex knot created by their main site, microsites and associated member services sites were tangled up in. We’re excited to say the MEA site family launched in October and our client and their stakeholders are thrilled with the results. But first, let’s get into how we delivered top-notch results.

About MEA Energy

MEA serves the people who deliver electricity and natural gas to homes and businesses. It was founded as a trade association more than 100 years ago by distribution utilities, whose vision was to improve safety and efficiency. Among their many offerings to the energy industry, MEA has education programs called EnergyU (training), National Gas Rodeo (a nationwide conference) and Energetic Women (a resource for women in the industry) – the latter two having their own dedicated and unique microsites. And therein lay the challenge: MEA needed unified branding for these sites while also maintaining their unique positioning within MEA.

Starting with Branding

We began by using our proven approach to branding. Formerly known as Midwest Energy Association (but commonly referred to as MEA), their executive team tasked us to develop refreshed brand to adjust to the association members’ changing needs. The result was to recommend a refined name – MEA Energy Association – with a new positioning statement – MEA Learning Empowers – to more clearly communicate their education mission. Using the word “Empowers” serves as an anchor throughout their company to establish them as a clear leader in the industry. From there, we created a logo that served as a nod to the MEA of the past but with a current feel, as well as an updated color palette made for a beautiful aesthetic. We paired that with a simplified messaging platform that allowed them to clarify their positioning and speak more directly to their audience. After listening carefully to what was most important to them, we began brainstorming how we would solve their problem for the best value. That’s where our knowledge of the latest in web development and tech trends played an important role.

Our Approach to Web Development

Our agency offers fully custom web development to fit any budget. Our nimble web team is always looking for ways to make our process more efficient and future proof. That’s why, for this project, we took our full custom WordPress development expertise and harnessed the power of a plugin called Timber. Rather than working with WordPress’s native API while creating custom themes, Timber allowed us to work with a very popular and powerful templating language called Twig used by other great CMSs like Craft and Drupal 8. This new approach streamlined the process of integrating WordPress with our custom frontend design.

With this new process and utilizing WordPress Multisite, we delivered unmatched results for MEA. A previously complex web of websites and microsites that operated separately now function in harmony with one another and drastically improve the user experience and MEA’s brand for their members and unique audience. MEA now has sites that offer nearly limitless customization for their intricate and varying needs with the client having complete control. To get technical (again) this control is accomplished by coupling the Timber plugin with the almighty ACF Pro plugin allowing for website managers to built page layouts from the ground up without compromising the custom design the SCG creative team has established.

A Project Defined by Our Process

Throughout our 25 years, we’ve done a lot of great work. Our success as an agency is rooted in a simple yet effective motto that we live by: Spark, Simply, Soar. This web project with MEA is a great example of that motto in action. The spark was ignited by closely collaborating with the folks at MEA to determine the most efficient, streamlined layout of the new site. We listened to what was most important to them and made sure that was reflected in their revitalized web presence. With a refreshed logo and color palette based on previous MEA logo iterations – a nod to the past, but with a fresh and current feel – we had our stellar aesthetic. The simplify came with solving the client’s problem by providing a large bulk of web content under one roof using two methods: 1) our collaborative process that resulted in a simple but highly effective information architecture (IA), and 2) WordPress Multisite, our web work which integrated our web work with other systems baked into their structure and allowed the use of multiple sites to function seamlessly. And we helped our client soar by building sites with maximum customization to allow MEA to build out web pages on their own terms, thereby saving them time and money due to the large amount of content and complex site architecture.

We’re always looking for ways to provide the best value for our clients. One of the ways we do that is by delivering top-notch web development while still accommodating nearly any budget. If your website is in need of a new design, new structure and/or more flexibility, SCG can help take your site or network of sites to a whole new level – drop us a line!

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Brian Larson

In an industry that changes nearly every second, Brian somehow manages to both stay on and ahead of that elusive “cutting edge.” With 16 years of experience specifically in interactive, Brian applies his geeky knack for a wide array of B2B and B2C clients and brands. Brian’s keen focus is on responsive front end web design and […] Read Bio »


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