Everything Design, a branding and website design company based out of Bangalore, recently did the Branding and Web Development for Ximkart, a B2B company. After the successful delivery of the project, Everything Design had a candid conversation with the founder of Ximkart, Mr. Sharan to understand how working with Everything Design helped the brand and why B2B brands need good branding and web design.
The conversation below is as candid as it can get.
What was the need of branding for a B2B company?
So broadly, when we started, we always had it in the back of our minds that we needed to get some branding done. I also have this clarity that branding is super important, or to be very clear with your branding message.
When should a B2B company engage with a branding agency?
So even if it’s a very early stage, it does not matter for a startup.
So with that in mind, this is where we always started. But then, we need to know when to engage with the branding company.
But as soon as we’re very clear on where we are heading towards and what we’re trying to build is where we said, okay, now is the time to sort of streamline the communication that we do because what we communicate to our customers, we can’t do it for the larger public.
So we wanted everybody to come in, read through what we want to communicate and understand what Ximart stands for example.
So that’s where we said we needed a branding agency to work with. That’s why we went ahead with Everything Design, primarily where we reached out to Mejo and got started.
What was your biggest fear or concern before hiring Everything Design?
It’s just such an abstract conversation at the very beginning.
When you talk to a design team, they also start from scratch.
You’re trying to explain something that could be a different domain for them, and they’ve never worked on anything on that front.
So you have a lot of questions.
Do they understand what you’re trying to say as a job brief, and how would they translate what you communicate into a final product? That’s always the question. And unfortunately, there are so many agencies in the market today which may do a fairly decent job. Still, you always have to be watchful of what they communicate and what they deliver.
And that certainly was my concern. And I reached out to Mejo.
This is the first point I said I’ve been searching online for the last two months, is what I told him. And for two months, I’ve looked around randomly at agencies, have spoken to many different agencies, and gotten varied responses.
Why did you think Everything Design is the best website company?
But once I spoke to Mejo, I realized that what I wanted was essentially what he was also translating. And I felt confident, though I didn’t know the budget, and that was something we came to later. But from a conversation perspective, what he said aligned with our thinking.
And that’s where we said, okay, we’ll go ahead with you.
What is your review about Everything Design?
Yeah, the overall experience was Great, to be very honest.
I can’t pinpoint one good experience, but the first meeting was where we had to pick up the logos and the broad teams, and this is the first time I have done it. That’s also a factor of newness to that.
But the entire experience and the way the team had thought through multiple different options. I had preconceived notions I always knew would not be right from the design perspective. The ability of the team to convince, but rather bring up points which would substantiate why you brought up some other design to what I was thinking.
The entire effort went into a simple activity as logo creation.
When I say simple, I’m not talking about the number of hours that goes into it, but from a broad sense. From the outside, from a nonmarketing person, logo creation and teams are probably version one of what you’re trying to build.
Even the way you guys landed the logo creation was fantastic
And because it was the first time I engaged with you folks, that was where I was delighted. I don’t see anything out of change. The overall project went well; for us, it was just going based on that.
Did Everything Design meet the expectations of Web Design?
The expectation I had in mind was that the branding needs to land in as few words as possible and in as less complicated a design language as possible.
And this is, like I said, the abstract job description or the job brief.
The intent was to say, can we keep it super simple?
Because the kind of audience we were going after was not the new-age folks like you and me. It could have been a manufacturing resource anywhere in the country.
So how do we ensure that we communicate a complex message and simplify it in an elegant way to that resource?
So that’s what was the broad brief.
That’s where that landed. Yeah.
Would you recommend Everything Design as a website agency?
Yeah, absolutely. I recommend it because your work went well, and I had a glitch-free experience.
I’ve already referred even before this.
But like I said, each has to pick their agency.
It’s about that because the agency also picks the client.
It’s not just the one way around. So, wherever possible, if somebody comes and asks, I recommend Everything Design.
Why would you recommend Everything Design as a Branding Agency?
My experience is great with the Everything Design team; your team broadly understands what folks need, and you go to the depth of it.
What sets the Everything Design Agency apart from other agencies?
That level of detailing I’ve seen is missing in most agencies.
It could be like you guys trying to understand something as complex as a chemical, a mining product, or a metal, and this is the first time you have done it.
The element of depth you went to, let’s say, compare it with FedEx and different folks from the industry and bring it out. That detailing is what I would appreciate.
And people who genuinely want to create a branding journey for their company would like to gain from working with an agency. Hence, if somebody is going very deep and is very serious about branding, Everything Design is a good fit and thus recommend it to them.
How did you find the Branding workshop?
Yeah, see. Honestly, I don’t know how other good agencies work.
But from our experience with you, the entire aspect and how you led us through was seamless. The whole flow was smooth and precise, from workshops to calling me over for discussions, showing me different options, and so on.
As I said, not an expert in this, but for us, it was very well-timed and well-done.
Do you have any further insight into how your clients feel about this website design and whether they find it interesting?
Generally, I can categorize clients into two or three different segments.
One is your first set of clients, friends, and family who use a website. They have all the feedback to provide, whether you want it or not. So that’s one category.
The other categories.
Your ecosystem folks – could be investors and the like.
And the third is, of course, your customer base rate, which you want to see.
All three of them were super impressed with the website design.
All three cohorts have returned and genuinely said your website is self-explanatory and communicates the right message. Right, and we can take away what you exactly want to convey.
And that’s what we’re trying to land.
So all cohorts were super happy with what we could create, which works for us.
What changed after the Branding for Ximkart as a business?
Yeah. So people now know what we are before we go into the meeting.
So the meeting does not have to start from scratch if I have to put it that way, which sometimes is more of a deal breaker. If they need to understand who you are, you must communicate what you guys stand for.
How did the new Website help Ximkart in business?
See, the value prop is always there. But for you to land on the value prop, they need to have some context and see value even before you meet them, and have a sense of what you guys deliver.
So that is impressive these days because when we write to a customer, most often than not, they’re going to check out a website.
And once they see what we offer makes sense to them prominently and crisply, the conversation is much easier when you meet them.
Then it’s to the point they know what you’re offering.
They know what they want and then proposition it out to you, or you know what they want, and you communicate.
So it doesn’t have to start from scratch from that standpoint.
It was a deal breaker because it took a lot of time to explain who we were or what we were trying to do. And some would get it, and some would not, depending on how you communicate, whether they get it just on that day because your pitches are always different.
And that’s primarily where a branding exercise would help from that standpoint.
How did you find us and go ahead with Everything Design?
So I was very clear.
I was just like I said, for two months I was searching.
I told you the first time we spoke, which was evident because of some previous marketing experience. I know how to pick an agency, and most agencies understand 20% of it and talk 100% of the rest. So they always need to understand the depth of it.
What I fundamentally liked from an outsider before I even got to know you folks was how you confidently presented your PDFs that I could download and go through.
I’m sure many other people might do it, but I didn’t come across any such agency. But when I saw that, you guys were confident in saying, okay, this is exactly what we’ve done. If you want to take a sneak peek, go through it.
And for some reason, I felt you meant business, and I knew that my budget had to go up slightly. So I accommodate you folks, and it is being very frank here, but I was clear that I was getting what I was looking for. And at that time I was talking to you, I was talking to four other agencies. In some way or form, they were inexperienced or doing something half-heartedly.
And for them, I was going to be one additional project, which is perfectly fine as long as they work towards it.
But somewhere, I can get the feeling that they’re going to put in that effort to create a good product for me and how we work as a firm also is like, we want to engage with people who are serious about their job and our job. So, when I spoke to you that we said one early morning, I just got in there five minutes, that okay, these are the folks we want to go down and figure out whether these guys can build something for us.
What are things to look for while hiring a Branding and Website Agency?
Yeah, right. The first condition was just on, okay.
You said something. I saw your PDF, and it is all good.
Now, it is always a question of seeing what happens.
The biggest worry I have is one man doing everything versus an organization.
Now, if you’re busy with something, maybe somebody junior does the work, and then you come and say, I have overseen it.
That was my biggest concern.
How involved would you be versus, let’s say, somebody in your team?
In terms of experience, if somebody’s junior does it without guidance for a sustained period, the product quality will drop a bit.
I mean, considering how many years of experience there are.
So my biggest concern was how serious the owners or the folks who lead or are the heads of their department anchoring the entire project.
And how much would you be involved in it?
That was my biggest concern.
Because typically, I’ve seen folks come in to hunt, but no one is around when it comes to farming.
So that was where my entire worry was, obviously because we continued to stay in touch, and every discussion was with you and Ekta. And it was obvious that things are in place, and you feel a sense of comfort that there’s accountability there.
There’s no question about talent, but the question was just why you want to take the project seriously like we would like to.
Did Everything Design do a good job of web development?
So you guys were involved through and through the entire project.
It was easy and smooth, and I knew there was only one place I had to control: content editing and stuff. Apart from that, I didn’t get involved in anything else. Essentially, you guys told me this is the way to go; these are the design teams to go after.
I did prefer the first option.
The reasoning is what worked for me in my head then. So you guys have been involved through and through in every step of it. So I don’t have any concerns otherwise.
Yeah, I was dreading that it had to be all my involvement at each step of the way. As I said, I was barely involved apart from the content space, which I had to be involved in because it was not like you asked me to be involved, but I wanted to be involved. So it was more from how I operate, where I got involved. But otherwise, it was not a case of you doing something and saying, Sharan, we’ve built it.
You also always did something, and you said, okay, these are the three options, let’s pick one and here are the reasons why you think this is the option, but you left it to me to say, okay, what is it?
So you brought me in when required at the correct frequencies. Still, you also took ownership to say, okay, we are building it, we are the owners, we understand how this needs to be built out, where we think we would like to have a suggestion, we’ll bring you in. Otherwise, let go as is. Right?
I don’t know. It’s a challenging balance to achieve.
Like, how the person who understands this in-depth comes into somebody who is like the field expert in terms of branding. But you guys were reasonably good in that sense.
Where do you see your B2B brand Ximkart heading towards?
I’ll give you a sense.
So, how we think of it today is that we don’t want to be a local player, and how much we expand a bunch of things on how we execute.
A lot of different things are landing in place. And the messaging we want to send across multiple businesses is something we want to keep consistent yet customized, irrespective of the business units, geographies, or product lines we want to go after.
Some could be finished, and some could be raw, meaning different buyer cohorts altogether.
Because we are in B2B where we don’t engage with the customer day in, day out and like, for example, an average person would not know what Ximkart stands for.
How do you ensure that your brand is known to a decent number of the public, not just your customer?
Because in other words, not just what you’re supplying; only your buyer or supplier knows you. It’s just a general sense that the public needs to know. And for me, because we’re in B to B, we are in something. We want to go for a more prominent geographical presence. For us, branding is going to be super critical.
And landing it right. Time in, time out on what we’re going to deliver, how do we help different economies and stuff, right?
So far, branding is whole and soul critical.
How it goes from here, I don’t know. I mean, all of us are taking baby steps as we advance. It is going forward, but I am still determining how it will eventually materialize. We need to wait and watch, but at least from an intent perspective, very clear that branding is something we want to be clear on absolutely. Nail it and then say that the message we want to communicate is sent across.
How is Everything Design enabled to put your message across on the platform?
Ximkart is currently trying to solve raw material requirements for manufacturers, fundamentally trying to equip an Indian manufacturer to compete with, say, the best of the world.
Typically at this point happens to be China.
So we’re just trying to say, can we give enough and more support for our Indian manufacturers to manufacture the right products?
At the right price points, suitable quality, and then either select domestically or outside whatever they choose?
That’s the broad intent of what Ximkart is trying to do.
We have specific categories we’ve gone after now.
Why do we need branding as an exercise?
How do we communicate this to the larger cohort of manufacturers who typically are not tech-savvy and don’t engage in online platforms? So they’ll naturally come and spend time reading through a website because that’s the only source of information about us.
They will see less otherwise because we’re still fairly early into a journey.
And that’s, for us, the website becomes a supercritical instrument to land the message across.
How would you summarize your entire experience doing the branding and website project with Everything Design?
Broadly, Ximkart was about three months into the system.
When we approached Everything Design, the apparent support we wanted was the messaging of what Ximkart stood for to go through to our customers in verbal and digital formats.
They could see and understand it in a certain depth at their convenience. Right, which is where we said, okay, we wanted a good website, and that was a starting point.
And we said, okay, this needs to have a good branding exercise.
Then came Everything Design.
We had some communication in terms of what it is that we were expecting.
The detailed exercise of spending an hour understanding what Ximkart aspires to be was exciting.
You took up a lot of understanding in a couple of meetings, which we also were surprised about.
Using those insights, you’re able to create the right benchmarking in the industry to come up with the suitable logos, the right themes, at least an options standpoint and, which helped us pick the right sort of theme that we wanted to go ahead with, which we’re delighted with.
Post that, the entire experience of taking it from the design of the logo and theme to the final product.
What would the website look like?
How would the messaging go? Is it too cluttered? Is it too vague?
I would say the content sort of clarity, which to a large extent is something most agencies would think missing, helped us get out of the website quickly, not taking too long to get out with it. And now we’ve seen a lot of our conversations, be it with the candidates, investors, or obviously our clients, is a lot easier and is as we had hoped.
So from that standpoint, we’ve loved Everything Design supporting us with it. And this is not just me saying for the camera. Still, it is also to say that whenever I think of any project, be it a deck, be it a catalog, be it something else, the first folks that come to my mind is everything design, right? I am still determining how we’ll work on each of these things, but I know there’s somebody we can sort of bank on to create something good.
And even if they need clarification, I am confident they’ll problem-solve and develop it to a decent extent, even if it’s not their forte. Right!
So from that standpoint, for all the requirements from a design standpoint today, I have Everything Design as a fallback in every situation. That shows how happy we all are with the output today.
So kudos to them.