Creating the brand for Castmaster Stoves started as many do with a logo and a website. To understand the brand I had to liase with the client to grasp the age, demographic and wage bracket of the intended consumer. Their business model is impressive and the supply chain and profit margins are strong but the competition is incredibly high, despite the strengths of the business. After we defined the the audience we settled on a brand essence that espouses value and comfort. The colour scheme was chosen specifically to evoke heat and nothing gets me hotter than a shock of hot pink!
The logotype and colour weights had to be future-facing but overall the brand is centred around an older demographic, usually homeowners or families, so the difficulty here was creating something fresh but something which appeals to a more mature audience.
The website itself was a big technical challenge for several reasons. An eCommerce site that incorporates modern payment gateways like PayPal Pro and Amazon Payments, the Castmaster Stoves website also needed to have more emphasis on UX due to the mature clientele. The client’s stock management system spits out an updated XML feed every hour, so the site needed to be pulling feed data from this and regularly updating its own SQL database with prices, stock availability and product weight. Another unique technical milestone achieved was a multi-tiered shipping solution which checks the consumer’s location against a matrix of postcodes, countries and weight categories. Shipping cast iron stoves is a costly business so the client needed accurate shipping calculations dependant on the weight of the stove and location of the buyer. SEO was of utmost importance to the client. The client already had a top- result eCommerce site so their expectations were high. With careful structuring of copy and content the site is first-page for several keyword strings. Careful monitoring through Webmaster Tools and Schema-rich markup data for Google Shopping means the pagerank is increasing day by day.
A brand is not built by a website alone though. We had the positioning, we had the personality of the brand but we needed to develop the strategy. Visual and behavioural cornerstones were laid but to get up and running took some bridge-building to solidify that brand coherency. Network building was an important part of the SEO but was doubly important for the brand, where the appearance of pedigree was important. Market relevance was increased after linking up with HETAS, SIA, BFCMA and other recognised trade bodies. Retail partnerships were brokered with fuel suppliers, installers and chimney sweeps which increases linkback, positive chatter and brand visibility. External communication wasn’t limited to printed press but also a unique and significant giveaway. The trivet is a coherent piece of brand identity, one which has form and function. I’ve never designed something to be cast in iron before but after some 2D and 3D rapid prototyping we were shipping these out across the country, increasing the competitive advantage and concreting coherent brand terminology to new and potential customers.