For over 35 years, Westcorp has worked with residential, office, hospitality and retail properties across Canada. Recently, the company approached Kobot to redesign their website with two goals in mind: Build a site with an inclusive, aspirational message that makes potential tenants excited about renting with Westcorp, and one that makes information relevant to these audiences incredibly easy to find.
Embracing their clients
When Kobot first began talking with Westcorp, they were working with the site they created when they first hit the web. At the time that site was built, they were focused on attracting investors and potential partners to raise the corporate profile of the company. At this point in the organization’s lifetime, they realized that they needed to change their perspective: connecting tenants with spaces that would provide for their needs was far more important to the business than connecting with other people in their industry.
- The Challenge Shifting from a dry, governance-laden site to an aspirational, social media friendly site. This went deeper than changing the visual design; we reworked the user experience to take into account the information needed by the audiences we wanted to draw into the site.
- The Solution Helping visitors envision their lives in a Westcorp property. The use of photography in the Westcorp spaces and their surrounding areas show off a lifestyle to which potential Westcorp residents can aspire. The re-planning of the sitemap made information easier to find for the user, setting them up for success with Westcorp from the start.
- The Results A website that puts users in their new place. Once visitors see what it’s like to live or work in a Westcorp property—the close access to transportation or vibrant local areas, the available amenities—there are clear callouts to contact the leasing office and become a tenant.
Shifting messaging & aesthetics
The original site was clinical, and gave off a boring—even cold—impression to visitors. There was no evidence of people actually inhabiting the spaces anywhere on the site. The homepage was a rendering rather than a photo, and the shots of the properties were run-of-the-mill landlord on Kijiji photos. By shifting the aesthetics, we portrayed the spaces as warm and welcoming, somewhere a tenant could call home or envision having friends or family over to visit.
We worked to craft a site with messaging and images that were more engaging, more emotional, and more aspirational. We let Westcorp show off to the prospective tenants that their properties weren’t just a place to live or work, they were part of a better lifestyle for each person that inhabited the space.
Photos sell real estate, and the photos on Westcorp’s previous site were either lacking in personality or were missing entirely. The photos that were there were small, cropped so tightly they lost context, and did nothing to attract potential clients.
We incorporated photography in every aspect of the website to reinforce the messaging that Westcorp’s buildings help make life better for the people who live and work in them. We focused on people and their emotions—joyous, stress-free, content, fulfilled—to sell the vision of Westcorp to its audience. Our aim is to help people see themselves in a Westcorp building, having a Westcorp experience, by demonstrating what that feels like.
Making updates easy
Having an updated website is a universal best practice for any organization on the web, and Westcorp is no exception. When visitors can see that information on the website is up to date, it builds a strong sense of trust between the potential client and the organization right from the word go. This is especially true when it comes to real estate where things can change quickly. Establishing that trust leads to more conversions, when a client knows that the property they’re applying to lease won’t be taken out from under them, and builds a strong relationship throughout the whole lease (and help leads to a renewed one!).
We also heard from the client that updating the website was not their strong suit, so we wanted to make it incredibly easy from an administrator’s perspective as well. Using the web should (and can!) be for everyone. When employees have a good relationship with the website, they’re more likely to maintain it regularly and make it the best it can be. We made the site as user-friendly as possible and underwent extensive training with the web admins to make these goals achievable for Westcorp.
The Westcorp website proves Kobot’s ability to build a strategy that helps a client efficiently pivot their focus to achieve their goals. We were able to look at the problems the client was facing—both internally and externally—and use design, development, and strategy to help them move forward as an organization.