Paid Content reports that Topix–a news aggregator owned jointly by Gannett, Tribune and McClatchy–launched a site makeover last night.
Rich Skrenta, CEO of Topix, offers insight on his blog regarding the company’s soul searching.
This was a painful process. We crammed the entire company into a room, but no rah-rah speech this time. Instead we treated ourselves to a brainstorming session about why the site was lame. It was not fun.
We did the full marketing playbook. Focus groups with the mirrored glass and video cameras. On-site surveys. Telephone surveys. Accosting people on Caltrain and doing A/B surveys with paper mock-ups (no kidding). Therapy sessions with brandologists.
Finally we started to get somewhere.
Two key insights had emerged. The first was that users arriving at our site had no idea who we were or what the site was about. “Who the fuck are you guys?” was the question our site needed to answer for vistors, according to the brandologists. In person, and even on our corporate blog, we apparently came across as passionate about what we were doing. But none of this showed through on the site itself.