Moving the marker for an iconic brand

Titleist watermark

When you’re a business with a base of dedicated customers you don’t make changes to something as critical as your public website on a whim. You go deep to understand what your fans need.

Titleist’s greatest asset is its loyal customer base. They’re more than customers; they’re fans. Dedicated and invested fans with high expectations for a brand that’s not just a product, but a lifestyle. But even the most loyal need something impactful to keep them coming back. Titleist was ready to deliver.

A decorative image of a sunny, unoccupied golf course.

Achieving Precision Requires Careful Planning

Titleist is one of the most legendary names in golf, recognized the world over for high-quality products that enhance player performance. And, as a top-tier marketer, Titleist creates engaging, high-quality golf content for its players. Our main challenge would be to create a digital presence that reflected the brand’s world-class reputation.

Two brand qualities, elegance and simplicity, would drive every effort – from wireframing to design, key page templates and individual content modules. That would include finished architecture, clear design, and meaningful user content. Additionally, we knew we would want to create a flexible strategy to account for future content requirements.

Titleist website on a laptop and an iphone

Transparency Fuels Collaboration

From the outset, Titleist made it clear that the project would affect many areas of its organization. So in addition to improving the site itself, the Titleist team wanted to streamline its internal process for creating and managing content. With multiple stakeholders and various functions, the approach to the work had to be flexible, modular, and dynamic.

They wanted to work quickly and collaboratively, with open lines of communication. We were on board from the word go, looking for solutions to help our clients as users, as well as their end users.

a journey map created by Fresh Tilled Soil for Titleist describing a customer's journey of purchasing golf balls

Our key client contact was Director of Interactive Marketing Liz Valicenti. Her internal challenge was to obtain input, cooperation, and buy-in from product owners, content creators, the c-suite, and technology and other business lanes. We understood the demanding position she was in and supported her throughout the process, explaining the purpose of our actions and the value of our recommendations. This helped her set clear expectations with her colleagues.

Liz and her extended team worked closely with us at every stage. Together we identified each business lane’s objectives, and the needs of the site’s users at different phases of their journeys. This is a hallmark of Fresh Tilled Soil’s core values – focus not simply on the quality of the end product, but in establishing and maintaining highly collaborative working relationships.

User Needs Should Guide the Blueprint

In a situation like this, it was fundamental to understand content requirements and user needs before making major UX or UI changes. The digital experience had to simultaneously handle e-commerce, brand communication, and social community aspects. The design even had to account for users responding to above-the-line communications and experiential initiatives.

Through a comprehensive site audit we knew what content was most valuable to users. This helped us identify redundancies, user journeys with dead ends, and overlapping or obsolete content. The next step was to perform comparative and competitive analysis for insight on how major sports brands presented content.

These efforts gave us a platform into which we could incorporate existing brand research. Now we knew what our passionate consumers wanted from their future titleist.com experience and could shape the new site’s purpose.

mobile wireframes for the Titleist website

Opportunity Hides in the Gaps

Together we categorized and mapped existing content to identify gaps – a process that revealed new content opportunities. This helped the team test journeys for key user personas, identifying high-value content, like video and social components. Focused efforts like this are worth every minute that goes into them, showing the experience from the end-users’ perspective and ensuring that the content and activities that matter most are easy to find.

We met formally twice each week to keep us on track toward milestones and goals, with daily internal communication via Slack and Google Hangouts. We resolved questions quickly, and shared ideas in real time. These daily alignments kept everyone focused on creating cohesive site elements, a better user experience, and an elevated brand story.

Mobile Drives Engagement

While refining content requirements and hierarchy, we were faced with another reality – 50% of the site’s traffic was coming from mobile devices, a trend still on the rise. This was an opportunity to optimize our strategy, UX/UI, and design efforts to build a fully responsive site.

Since we knew that our target users were devoted fans wanting to engage deeply, we had to keep the content rich for all use cases. That meant our responsive approach had to translate to all device sizes and types without losing any of the depth or performance users expected.

wireframe for the mobile Titleist site shown on an iPhone
a grid of images of different screens in the titleist page

Flexibility Increases Functionality

Knowing that multiple content and technology stakeholders were responsible for different site functions and content, we defined and created an atomic design system of individual elements, components, and content modules. This modular design system met all stakeholder requirements and allowed for infinite page or template configurations.

Now, decision-makers could direct user focus with very little effort to product announcements, promotions, social feeds, time-sensitive brand communications, and other content blocks. Additionally, we integrated the atomic design system into a robust legacy CMS that allowed each business area to make updates as needed without significant development resources.

an image of a Titleist webpage featuring a golf bag and other golf accesories

Golfers Bond On and Off the Course

Before the redesign, the public pages and Team Titleist, the brand’s social hub, felt somewhat disjointed. We wanted to create a feeling of cohesiveness across the site, so users would feel just as engaged connecting with the brand in commerce areas, as they were in community and event sections, bonding with fellow players and keeping tabs on brand ambassadors.

To increase engagement and readability, we created a magazine-like style and feel, with a sophisticated type and layout system, large photos, and simple headlines. Our design reduced site administrators’ effort for cross-promoting stories, videos, and other content effortlessly, while treating users to a more natural flow.

These improvements significantly increased community interaction, site visit duration, and quantity of content consumed. Of course we appreciated the quantitative data, but just as important was the positive feedback from users expressing satisfaction and enjoyment.

iPad view of team titleist, the social hub for titleist

The Results

Today, Titleist’s users enjoy:

01 Optimized site performance across devices, measured in speed
02 Enhanced content readability and consumption
03 A personalized Team Titleist experience

The Titleist Team Can Now Leverage:

  • A powerful new process to build and maintain digital assets
  • An elevated website experience that complements the Titleist brand
  • Simplified content publishing, with the ability to seamlessly repurpose content across the site and other channels
  • Improved collaboration between multiple internal marketing teams
  • Integrated/unified cross-channel marketing
  • Reduced errors and redundancy in marketing content and campaigns
  • An extensive design system that maps out every site element, from simple components through complex sections
  • A comprehensive online style guide that codifies content modules and web design standards
  • Greatly improved accessibility, which had previously been non-existent
  • Improved semantic markup, making the site SEO-friendly

Resources Coded style guide

Corkscrew, our coded style guide, is a framework to help conserve time and resources when creating new pages.

Case Study Wordstream

See how we partnered to boost engagement for Wordstream’s AdWords Performance Grader product.