CFMU wanted to be the “voice of the community”. We were brought in to make it happen through strategic branding and innovative website solutions.
Core VerticalHospitality & Entertainment
CFMU, McMaster University’s campus radio station, came to us with a vision: to be the “voice of the community”. This meant not only connecting with McMaster’s community, but with the entire city of Hamilton. They wanted to establish a new brand to reflect their new vision, as well as a new website that would become Hamilton’s go-to media hub.
This request came with a fair share of challenges. CFMU’s audience is incredibly diverse; however, they can be broken down generally into two main groups: artistically-inclined Hamiltonians who are civically engaged and community-minded, as well as the McMaster students themselves. With live and recorded audio being the primary reason users were currently visiting the website, we also had to consider audio functionality that followed the user throughout their visit. This required a solution that would allow a user to explore the site while seamlessly continuing their on-air live streams, archived podcasts or video content. Finally, we had to account for a team of volunteer hosts with varying skills in web and design that needed access to the CMS, as well as uphold website design integrity utilizing strict brand guidelines. This was essential to ensure the desired consistency of user experience across the entire website.
With a keen understanding of our mandate, the team at Operatic helped refine our vision and strategy. Simply put, Operatic has developed a digital media site that stands with the best in Canada.
CFMU Administrative Director
Through our discovery process, we analyzed CFMU’s audience, as well as its history. We determined the new brand should act as a bridge between the past and the present. By tapping into nostalgia while still maintaining a modern aesthetic, we would have the greatest impact on their audience. Taking inspiration from analog technology like morse code and combining it with a modern look for the digital age, we built a whole new brand for CFMU, complete with a logo, brand guidelines and collateral. The distinctive, versatile and memorable logo and identity system emphasizes CFMU’s core values and symbolizes the broad nature of CFMU’s programming. We built a brand that connected CFMU’s strong foundation in radio to its future in digital media.
Our audience insights showed the primary reasons for visiting CFMU’s website were for live and recorded audio. Therefore, we designed and developed the site with an emphasis on listening to CFMU’s station live and structured it for easy navigation without interrupting the content being played. A multifunction sidebar lets users search, tweet and explore shows without interrupting their browsing experience. We also found users were typically seeking out new content. Knowing that updated content also supports search rankings, we created a custom CMS solution that allowed for the easy uploading and organization of content by hosts and admins.
We brought their brand into the modern age while retaining their past, and greatly improved their engagement numbers while doing it.
Through our efforts, CFMU modernized its brand and, as a result, saw healthy growth as a result. Our UX improvements, technology enhancements and optimized content drove engagement metrics up. Within the first six months after launch, pages per sessions increased by 106% and average session duration increased by 62%. In the words of the client, we “developed a digital media site that stands with the best in Canada.”