Located in the North-East of Scotland in the heart of Speyside, Gordon and MacPhail is an independent family owned and managed firm, bottling Single Malt Whiskies for the over 120 years and a long-term client of ours. From humble retailer beginnings, Gordon & MacPhail is now wholesaler, exporter, bottler of world-renowned Single Malt Whiskies and owner of the Benromach Distillery in Forres. And, we're delighted to have been part of that journey for almost a decade now.
A long-term relationship
Back in 2010 we were approached by Gordon and MacPhail to design and develop a website that effectively presented their extensive whisky range to the world. But, this was just the beginning. We went on to develop a bespoke Generations microsite, illustrating the rich history of the brand, and the first Benromach website in 2013, presenting this unique brand to a new audience. Following the success of these projects, we facilitated Benromach’s growing international goals with the redesign of it’s new responsive website in 2014, which went on to receive a Special Commendation at the Scottish Design Awards for the ‘Website Design Award of the Year 2015’.
Our relationship continued with a redesign of the core Gordon & MacPhail website and we were thrilled when, earlier in 2015, the company returned to us to develop a stunning, interactive new portal to showcase the 'Wood Makes the Whisky' narrative.
The project aimed to develop a site that catered to and served a clear purpose for both key target audiences: the new whisky drinker and the whisky connoisseur, meanwhile telling the unique story of the brand in an interesting and engaging way, and educating the user about the full whisky process. With the book due to launch, an image-led design, which reflected the face and mood of the brand online was key, all whilst offering a more interactive online experience.
Our creative and delivery team packed their bags for an early morning trip to Elgin for a day of on-site discovery with the Gordon & MacPhail team. With a desire to extend their reach to both the new whisky drinker and the long-time whisky connoisseur, the morning included a brainstorming session of creative ideas and ways to incorporate their beautiful, intricate collateral into the online experience.
User Experience (UX) Design
With the aim of creating a user-centric, cross-device accessible web presence, our UX experts got to work on crafting a site which brings the brand story to life and illustrates the artisan approach to world-class whisky making. Catering to two very different audiences the site has two clear user journeys, allowing visitors to enjoy relevant content and explore with ease. New whisky drinkers can discover the different types of wood used and how different elements within each wood contributes to the final cask and the depth of flavour of the whisky. Clever transitions and multimedia create a stimulating and immersive experience for the user.
For the whisky connoisseur, interactive features allow them to delve into new ranges and identify detailed tasting notes for different whiskies.
With 300 expressions of Gordon & MacPhail single malt whisky, both the newbie and the whisky connoisseur can easily find their perfect whisky using the bespoke new ‘matchmaker’ functionality. In the initial stages of the project, the G&M team have identified a small selection of whiskies from the portfolio to demonstrate the ability to match cask type and spirit types to the individual consumer, in order to find their perfect bottle of G&M whisky.
Once the user has found their perfect match they can browse the scope of flavours, view in-depth product information (such as body, finish, cask type and style), enquire about the whisky, watch the tasting video and share their perfect match with peers on social media.
Replicating the elegant hardback book released by the brand, the visually attractive, image-led site combines interactive elements, unique iconography and quality photographs to present the G&M ‘experience’ for its online visitors.
Since beta launch back in August 2015, G&M worked to build momentum until the book launch but had already seen considerable brand awareness growth, with a 97% increase in visitors from November through December 2015 compared to the previous period and a 93% uplift in pageviews. Despite little promotion at that time, the site immediately fulfilled original aims with engagement levels high and growing (the average user is spending over 3 minutes exploring the site) and visitors welcomed from key international markets (10% of traffic in November came from Germany and almost 10% came from the US). As time went on, the website played a key role in generating a significant uplift in international sales.
We continue to work closely with the G&M team supporting them in reaching new heights with digital.