My biggest goal for rebranding EDM Assassin into By The Wavs was simply cognitive recognition between the old and the new without any hesitance or question. I wanted the viewer to see the site, realize this is a change, but not be so far skewed where the change didn’t make sense. Obviously, the biggest different was the name, the addition of a real logo, and colors.
I’ve said this several times, but the name is the biggest issue. It’s a night and day difference. It wasn’t like we went from EDM Assassin to EDM _______ (any other word). We completely flipped it upside down. Our acronym went from EDMA to BTW. When you go on a site so many times, you tend to write and memorize that name. It’s understandable. Despite coming up with that name, I make that same mistake too. Thankfully I used a 301 redirect so no matter what I enter for EDM Assassin, it switches to By The Wavs.
The major difficulty with the name was the problems that arose after the change. We totally forgot about the small stuff – weekly up-and-coming post, the podcasts, and other branded content that was based on EDM Assassin. For example, we have Onstage with the EDM Assassins. This is our weekly podcast where we get mixes from the community to share. This caught us off guard in the sense that we had to think of a new name immediately and struggled to come up with something new. In turn, Catching Wavs became the replacement. While we changed it on iTunes and such, the Onstage with the EDM Assassins category was archived and not changed. It isn’t worth it nor needed to edit 70 mixes.
The logo was a much needed change for the site. It’s a literal wave and is truly representative of only 1/3 of the meaning of the name. That said, I feel that there isn’t much wrong with that. I rather have a visual connection to the name with the understanding that we’re about music and not say…surfing or the beach. Had tropical house it maintained its popularity, we may have had an issue or a boost. Not sure, but that is no where a concern. I’m in love with the logo. It’s so minimalistic and pretty. It was what set the tone of the color scheme.
The color scheme really helped the transition in the sense that we went from purple and pinks to teals and blue/greens. Both sets of colors were very vibrant but appealing to the eyes. They’re not opposite from each other so the change, while big, is easily adjustable.
The biggest difficulty out of everything was the layout. When I took over EDM Assassin in November of 2013, I made the executive decision to switch from a blog layout to a magazine layout. For those who don’t know, the difference is you’re not focusing on the categories of your site rather than most recent posts. This requires you to not only be most recent but make sure every category is covered frequently. At first, this wasn’t an issue. I focused on the parent categories – News and Music.
When the site became a multi-authored project, this is when I doubled down on the magazine theme and created many different subcategories on the homepage. In fact the only parent category left is news because there are certain times that it can get extreme. To combat articles getting buried, I put up a slider if the most recent articles.
When transitioning from the old to the new, I had reevaluated every category on EDM Assassin. My team and I looked at how many posts each section gets. While we don’t try to focus on one genre above the other, we notice there is some focus more on some genres than others. This isn’t intentional. The reason this happens is what pops up in our email or in our RSS feeds. We try to cover everything but some music is more popular than others regardless of the artist’s popularity. We’re a predominantly American and Eurocentric website.
When you look at EDM Assassin and By The Wavs, the layout itself isn’t much different. That was fully intentional after much deliberation. While I still love the blog layout, the magazine layout holds a certain level of professionalism with the amount of content we release daily. The main differences is that the top portion is no longer a slider. While we kept the same recent five articles, you can see them now without waiting or scrolling.
The sections below are essentially styled differently and based upon which categories get the most love in regards to number of posts. It goes from most articles to the least amount with a few exceptions. We put a bigger focus on news (literally) while actually removing one post area from the last time by going from four to three. Half way down you’ll recognize the famous slider at the top. Being that I paid for license and have a slight affection for it, I decided to keep it. This shows the next five most recent articles. Essentially the top five move down there before off the homepage unless their category hasn’t been updated.
Finally, as said, we did a bit of changes in the categories to group genres more appropriately and more convenient for the reader. This will allow us to not have certain areas with too much stagnant content and allow the menu bar at the top to be cluttered.
It is crazy to think of all the thought process behind the transition of the rebranding. While we wanted to evolve and continue to strive to evolve, we did not and never wanted to alienate our followers for without them, we wouldn’t be around. The biggest priority I would recommend focusing on when rebranding is user experience. It’s easy to think of the bubble of those who work on the project or know it inside and out (super users or super fans), but you and they not the only people using the site. So while it may behoove you to change, you may want to take the appropriate steps to achieve your goal rather than jumping face first. Not to say that isn’t a bad thing, but we rather dip our toe into a pool to get an understanding of the temperate rather than going completely unknown. We love that certain comfort and your users will too as it will show you care to go that extra step for them.