Smithills Open Farm is a family run working dairy farm with an attached visitor centre. The farm provides the local community with a place to meet a wide variety of animals and showcase how a farm works.
They are open all year round and welcome more than 130,000 visitors a year, as well as providing locally sourced goods.
Our task was to create an online experience which reflected the great services and attractions on offer, through the development of a content managed website which positioned the farm up against popular competitors while supporting pre-visit preparation, lessening queue time and enhancing storytelling through the integration of social media channels.
To fully experience Smithills Farm, we carried out an in-depth immersion into the emotional connections that customers and staff have (and wanted to have) with the farm, along with competitor research and analysis.
Our creative strategy was fully informed by what we discovered. People are proud of the farm, what it stands for and how it makes them feel. Everything about it makes them happy, it's much more than a visitor attraction to them, it's a real community. We also took the time to understand how we could best automate manual tasks, such as ticket booking and milk deliveries.
Having defined the brand, we worked to bring 'the happy place' ethos online. We made the website an essential brand experience by introducing a new illustrative style, typography and colourway. We established tone of voice principles which tapped into user emotions to make the online experience feel like a happy, fun place to be in the same way as the farm itself.
We also brought logic to the user journey, and developed a clear navigation, so whatever users are looking for is easy to find and relevant. Adding 'meet the animals' and 'news' sections helps the customer feel part of the brand. Integrating a ticket booking system and having a focus on the Q&A section helped reduce administration and enquiries into the farm.
The technical build of a flexible structure also allows the farm to change the creative on the website to match seasonal needs. The development of the new website, together with new printed materials to match has helped bring the offline and online even closer together.
Both farm customers and staff have praised the website.
increased average monthly engagement
increase in footfall since the launch of the website (Aug 18)