ByAlister Wynn
25/10/2011
5 min read

Yoke’s story so far…

Once upon a time, just eight weeks ago to be precise, Yoke was born. So much has happened since then that we thought we’d invite you to have a little look at what’s been going on and give you an insight into what we think has worked for us.

From humble beginnings

We started from humble beginnings with the fear of having to generate our first clients through cold calling but thankfully it never came to that. Social media came to our rescue. Our first client, and perhaps dream client, came to us through the marvel that is Twitter. After highlighting some organisations we were keen to work with, The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) were top of the list. This not-for-profit organisation provide advice and support to restaurants to help them employ more sustainable practices. After connecting with the SRA on Twitter, they returned the favour, inviting us to prepare a creative pitch for a campaign site they were launching to reduce food waste in London restaurants. A few weeks down the line and the campaign is now live – check it out here. This national campaign has gained huge coverage in the media including BBC News and The Evening Standard and has lots of famous people on board such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Antony Worrall Thompson. We hope it will have a great impact!

Too Good To Waste Project

A little aside note on Twitter

It’s interesting how people respond to different approaches to marketing; after all, they’re all geared towards the same end – generating business. For some reason, a message via Twitter feels a lot friendlier than a ‘cold’ call or email, and so can be more successful in generating interest. There seems to be a somewhat higher level of trust associated with it, perhaps a feeling of gratitude for someone choosing to ‘follow’ you. It makes the whole marketing process feel a little more personal – as though it’s not just business they’re after and that they actually have a genuine interest in what you do. Of course this can often truly be the case (and I hope it is) but it can be used to your advantage as a marketing tool. By tailoring your bio carefully, this enticing information about you and your company gets delivered to the recipient’s inbox and can make all the difference.

Yoke goes global

Alongside tweeting, we submitted our site to web design inspiration galleries such as css mania and The Best Designs which led to us being featured in some blog post roundups such as 24 Excellent Examples of Responsive Web Design. Its through exposure that sites like this gave us that we landed our second client, all the way across the Atlantic in Boston, USA. ThoughtLead are a like-minded collaborative working with marketing for social good. We’ve developed a strong partnership with the team and plans are in progress for a second project with them. It’s exciting that organisations are connecting with us from across the globe through shared ideals expressed in the content of our website.

That leads us almost up to date but at the risk of blowing our own trumpet, there’s something else we’d like to share with you…

A pat on the back

Yoke were lucky enough to get featured in the industry leading web design magazine, .Net.  We were featured in the monthly round-up of CMS driven sites and were awarded site of the month in that category!  We subscribe to this magazine ourselves so to see our site appear in these pages felt like a real honour.

magazine article of yoke

We also took a punt and submitted our website to Awwwards – the industry’s leading web design showcase  that provide awards that “recognize and promote the talent and effort of the best developers, designers and web agencies in the world” …and we won! We were featured as website of the day on 4th October.

We’re pretty happy about that 🙂

screen grab of awwwards website

So what’s our strategy?

Strategy is a strong word. It’s not as if it was really a strategy but just a set of principles we like to run our business on.

We started Yoke because we were tired of putting our creative talent into projects that didn’t inspire us. We decided that we wanted to support projects that were doing something positive for the planet and/or its people. This felt a little bit scary at the start since we were cutting a huge chunk out of our market but we stuck by it and after turning down a lot of work we didn’t connect with, we are now designing for organisations we are passionate about.

Although this was difficult at the beginning, I am now convinced that this decision to narrow our market has actually strengthened our proposition. We have had several organisations contact us all the way from the USA, and although our design is good, these people are connecting with something more than that – it’s our philosophy that they’re interested in.

If you’re starting a business, stick to your beliefs and don’t be afraid to say no. People will respect you for it.

 

When starting up, we decided to target clients who would gain us maximum exposure, with the potential of generating future clients. The SRA campaign site was the perfect example of this. By delivering above and beyond the client’s expectations, we could use the campaign to showcase what we could do as designers and get our work seen.

Our work with Yoke doesn’t feel so much like work. We’re doing what we enjoy, for organisations we’re genuinely passionate about supporting and so Yoke has become an extension of our personal lives. For this reason, we chose to add lots of content to our site that we found interesting and felt like sharing, such as Can Bristol Feed Itself? and People Power and The Internet. We also wanted to provide content on our site that demonstrated our understanding of business marketing needs in this digital age and so took to writing blog articles on topics such as mobile internet and responsive design, and the importance of social media for campaign sites.

We couldn’t really have imagined a better start to life as Yoke. We were starting to think it was all good luck but Sonja Jefferson from Valuable Content set us straight by awarding us with a Valuable Content Award, so we must have been doing something right!

screen grab of valuable content article

The brilliant work carried out by Valuable Content helps businesses to create, write and share valuable written content to promote and sell their services. Sonja has interviewed Jay from Yoke to discover the secrets to our success thus far which will be featured as a case-study in a book she is in the process of writing and which can also be found on her website. We’re excited to be collaborating with Sonja and the team on one of our latest projects which will be revealed in due course.

How’s the future looking?

Everyday we’re making more and more connections with like minded people across the world. That’s the great thing about the web, distance is no barrier and there are a lot of great people doing very great things out there.

We’ve currently got five exciting projects in the pipeline so we’re pretty busy. If you’re interested in working with us then get in touch.