Meridian Audio are no strangers to innovation: introducing the consumer to active loudspeaker technology in 1977, the world’s first audiophile CD player in 1984 and the world’s first 4K home cinema projector in 2008. They have consistently worked to deliver best-in class performance and have garnered a following of passionate audiophiles and more than 200 industry awards along the way.
But come 2012, with the ubiquity of smartphones and the uptake of streaming music and video, the market was shifting to value short-term convenience over quality and longevity - the core principles that had served the company since its inception.
Meridian needed to reach out to a new audience - international affluents who simply want to choose the best with confidence.
Meridian’s first step was to focus on the web, and they tendered a brief for a web site redesign - Tangent Snowball won the resulting pitch.
Their existing website had a variety of issues: it didn’t reflect the quality of their products, its language was overly technical and it was difficult to maintain. The brief: redesign the site to focus on the brand and Meridian as a provider of systems rather than individual products.
At Tangent Snowball, our process begins with an Insight stage led by our User Experience and Planning team. Working closely with Meridian’s Sales and Marketing team we conducted competitor analysis, customer research and a series of stakeholder interviews aimed at identifying brand perceptions within and outside the company.
With each interview, survey and workshop we found new opportunities and challenges: from supporting their partnerships in retail, automotive, personal computing and interior design to effectively communicating the unique nature of Meridian’s approach in a noisy and cliché ridden industry.
We found their small but passionate customer base doing as much to define the brand as Meridian themselves. We needed to take control of the proposition and own it; not just for their customers, but for Meridian and their partners as well.
Meridian’s spirit lies in the combination of its award-winning industrial design and technological prowess – heartfelt innovation that is too easily reduced to some numbers on a spec sheet. The brand needed a way to unite the two sides and express its singular mission.
Meridian founders Bob Stuart and Allen Boothroyd told us “Our customers can’t participate in the download revolution – the quality sacrifice is too high. We need to offer them something better.” The brand had to capture this uncompromising spirit, and so ‘Redefine the Possible’ as a proposition was born.
BRINGING IT TO LIFE
Things began to move quickly: we had just 3 months until the launch of Explorer, Meridian’s first foray into portable digital audio in the form of a smart USB DAC.
Our team of designers, coders, writers and UX architects dug in and used the website and product launch as a testing ground for our new brand proposition - developing the aesthetic, a more human tone of voice, and a sleeker more cohesive experience.
Explorer launched with sales well over expectations, as the website and print campaign introduced customers to the new look brand, and the market responded well to this gateway product.
In the following months the website has grown to include an entirely new support section, providing a simple and useful first point-of-service befitting a premium brand.
WHERE WE ARE NOW
We’ve improved the visibility and accessibility for boutiques around the world, and launched a new section showcasing Meridian’s groundbreaking work in automotive audio.
Explorer is now available to buy online in the UK via the Meridian website, with US and Europe rolling out over the next few months along with availability of more products.
Initial results are looking good - the time visitors spend on the site is up by 30%, the number of pages viewed is up 50% and the bounce rate down by a quarter*.
By creating a ‘brand book’ outlining our strategy, a set of templates for print and email, and practical guidelines of how to bring it all to life, partners and boutiques are activating the new brand around the world - creating localised, but on brand communications quickly and easily.
Taking a broader look at digital music trends - with Apple introducing ‘Mastered for iTunes’ and Neil Young calling for a no-compromise approach to audio quality, it seems the market is once again shifting to value higher quality audio reproduction.
As Meridian look to bring their award-winning technologies to further new and exciting products in the coming months they are on course for a further 35 years of innovation – and they’re now ready to let the world know it.
If you’d like to know more about how Tangent Snowball’s collaborative approach to digital strategy can help your brand, simply give us a call or drop by our Great Portland Street office.
* Comparing July ‘13 to July ‘12
Peter Miller, Creative Director
Dan Jordan Bambach, Head of UX
Spencer Yates, Managing Partner
Hannah Kemp-Longhurst, Account Director
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