Published On: July 27th, 2020
The idea is revolutionary: Recycle old tires by melting them down into discs that can be secured on top of low manholes.
These discs, or “Top Hats”, are cheap to produce and install, so they lower costs to the municipalities using them. They are also durable and long-lasting, and since they are rubber, they make for a pleasant experience when driven over (on top of the fact that they fix obnoxious and dangerous low manholes). It’s a perfect solution to an annoyance to which we can all relate.
Luckily, a mutual friend introduced me to Top Hat Risers innovator, David Abbott, knowing that David needed help with his digital presence. In the years that followed, I worked with David to grow the Top Hat Risers brand online and throughout the world.
This project produced a unique challenge in that its purpose would be selling primarily to government representatives - not private businesses or consumers. This means that we would run into obstacles because government representatives tend to have long-running relationships with suppliers, and often work only with certain groups of salespeople.
Further, David told me that I need to focus on catering to our target: Transportation professionals that are generally not very tech-savvy and do not like to waste time with flashy features. These are guys that expect to get the information they need easily, which meant that UX would be a priority that would evolve alongside the growth of the digital brand.
From the beginning, this was a project that would extend beyond digital, that means that brand cohesion was important across all platforms. All print and conference marketing materials must follow the digital design scheme as well as compliment each other. Recognizing that visiting the website was necessary to get answers about this unique product, marketing materials must drive people to the site, and the site must drive them to perform specific actions.
During our target persona development, we determined that very few visitors would come to the website an established understanding of the product. Therefore, we implemented a guided homepage design with smooth scrolling / parallax animation to introduce new blocks of information text on various aspects of the product. By doing this, the product is presented in more of an interactive presentation style than a typical website.
Prior to beginning development on the most recent version of the Top Hat Risers website (published in 2016), the client found a template on which the new site was to be based. Therefore, this project involved taking the existing template and breaking it down into a wireframe (with coding cues), then taking that wireframe and implementing the design and features for our own site.
When we entered the market, Top Hat Risers found a landscape with only one other competitor offering a similar (but not identical product). Since then, more companies have entered the market, making SEO all the more valuable. We have placed focus on achieving top three results for the more important keyword sets by optimizing on-page SEO and performing link building tasks with other manufacturing companies and the municipalities we've sold to, among other tactics.
In order to highlight Top Hat Risers successes, the WordPress blog was configured to allow for Case Studies. These case study posts had a custom design template and were configured with Advanced Custom Fields for easy management on the back-end.
Website messaging system allowed easier contact and sales funnel management.
Top 3 for relevant Google search keywords including "rubber manhole riser"
Prepared posters, pamphlets, and presentation for ue
Designed and developed direct mail and curated distribution list.
Headed up sales initiatives and managed sales teams from northeast and midwest United States.
Prepared submission for 2013 LLGA - Cities Piloting Our Future international competition. Top Hat Risers chosen as finalists for award. Click here to view the complete proposal.