Sometimes the biggest accomplishments come from the smallest companies. From its modest Boston office, tinymill—formerly The Brandon Store—creates big results for its expanding list of clients. The boutique design and marketing firm specializes in creating dynamic, engaging, and eye-catching web and print projects for an impressive array of customers, including trendy restaurants, popular retailers, art foundations, and community associations.
With a growing client roster, tinymill pushes the creative envelope to help its clients achieve maximum success. In its effort to stay current in the ever-evolving web landscape, the firm spent a significant amount of time and energy custom coding and integrating content management systems. But with its small staff facing an increasing client demand, tinymill needed a way to keep producing excellent work, only faster. To continue to achieve outstanding results while also working in a unified environment perfectly suited for designers, tinymill turned to Adobe Business Catalyst.
“We chose to build our business on the Adobe Business Catalyst platform because it offers a hosted, all-in-one solution for consistently managing projects across client sites,” says Brandon Smith, co-founder of tinymill.
Additionally, the team values the seamless integration between Business Catalyst and Adobe Dreamweaver®, which enables rapid code editing as well as a WYSIWYG format that makes it easy for clients to go into their websites and simply point and click to make updates.
“When we’re working in Adobe Business Catalyst, it’s a huge timesaver to be able to flip to the Adobe Dreamweaver environment to quickly run through the pages, see the code, and verify that everything is working correctly,” says Smith.
When the Oceanic Preservation Society approached tinymill to create a website to promote The Cove, a documentary exposing Japan’s dolphin hunting culture, the agency used Business Catalyst to deliver a basic website featuring the movie’s trailer and a brief “About Us” section. After the film was showcased at the Sundance Film Festival, won 75 additional film industry awards, and was highlighted on the Oprah Winfrey Show, the website’s traffic exploded. And then, The Cove won the 2010 Oscar Award for best feature documentary film.
Business Catalyst has helped tinymill manage the rapid increase in interest and traffic. “The Cove previously received about 500 unique page views a day, and then overnight was handling 1.5 million,” says Ryan Tainter, lead developer at tinymill. “The scalability and flexibility of Adobe Business Catalyst saved us by enabling the addition of components such as e-commerce and social media, literally overnight.” When the film’s acclaim reached international proportions, templates in Business Catalyst enabled rapid site translations from English to Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish.
Business Catalyst was the ideal platform for tinymill to use to deliver a site that lets audiences engage with The Cove brand in multiple ways, including purchasing movie-related merchandise and contributing funds in support of the Oceanic Preservation Society. Additionally, website visitors can read and comment on blogs, sign up for RSS alerts, hear original music, and connect with like-minded peers on Facebook and Twitter.
“Receiving funds and managing a charitable donation program, as well as administering e-commerce inside the secure, encrypted Adobe Business Catalyst platform enables our client to integrate its design, deployment, and business requirements on a unified platform,” says Tainter.
Business Catalyst is an essential component of tinymill’s daily operations. It enables the firm to rapidly build and sustain high-impact web deliverables without having to integrate multiple systems or install plug-ins to suit the needs of any one client.
For example, the firm partnered with Global Health Frontline News (GHFN) to revamp the news aggregator’s website to be more responsive to trending topics, and to provide a more interactive, dynamic experience using short- and long-form videos and live news feeds. Instead of custom coding a new site, the firm leveraged the powerful design capabilities and robust content management system (CMS) in Business Catalyst to create a new online presence, helping GHFN establish a more efficient, cost-effective way to produce and deliver news content.￼￼
tinymill’s client, Global Health Frontline News, takes advantage of the content management system in Business Catalyst and its ability to provide rapid updates in the ever-changing world of news.
“The extensibility of Adobe Business Catalyst is a key component to rapidly achieving site design objectives,” says Tainter. “With simple web templates available in Adobe Business Catalyst, we can drag and drop assets to create a new structure, incorporate the client’s CMS to make it easier to keep content updated, and integrate video servers to automatically and consistently deliver the freshest video available.”
Similarly, the capabilities of the Adobe solution helped tinymill win a project for a noted Manhattan restaurant with a downstream sustainable farming operation. Riverpark, an East River eatery from famed restaurateur Tom Colicchio, wanted a unified solution to manage its growing need for event clients and planners to book and plan events via the restaurant’s website.
Combining the flexibility of Business Catalyst for content management with third-party tools, tinymill worked with Riverpark to create the streamlined Event Planner solution that allows a prospective client not only the ability to request a date and time for an event but also share capacity requirements and contact information, select the event type (plated five-course chef tasting or cocktail reception, for instance), beverage options, and additional services and rentals.
Once submitted, the system emails all booking information as an interactive PDF form, allowing the events team to follow up on the lead, create a proposal, and close the deal. “The planner and PDF have streamlined our events program from initial inquiry to proposal and execution, resulting in a substantial increase in requests for proposals and bookings,” says Chrissa Yee, project manager for Riverpark who worked closely with the tinymill team. “Additionally, the ease in process for the one planning the event makes for eagerly returning event clients.”
The ability to rapidly iterate new online properties has also played a significant role in helping the firm support the Judd Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting artist Donald Judd’s permanently installed living and working spaces, libraries, and archives. Business Catalyst enables the foundation’s leaders to continually update information about installations at Judd’s New York and Texas facilities, to schedule tours, manage event calendars, and to oversee donations from a single interface. “Adobe Business Catalyst helps us maintain the delicate balance between delivering the kind of work that helps us grow, yet not taking on more than we’re capable of handling,” says Smith. “It’s a seamlessly integrated development and management platform that enables our small team to quickly produce outstanding work for several dozen clients.”
In addition to simplified content management, Business Catalyst helps tinymill clients measure the effectiveness of their online properties using built-in web analytics, providing historical and current metrics behind website operations, and enabling rapid optimization of personalized content to maximize traffic, audience engagement, and conversions. The easy roundtrip workflow between analyzing web trends and updating content in the Business Catalyst CMS is hugely beneficial for tinymill’s clients.
“From the Adobe Business Catalyst dashboard, clients can see everything from how many visitors they had to the most commonly used search terms, and use that data to update their sites accordingly without having to log into a separate account,” says Tainter.
tinymill now supports more than 20 client projects on its Business Catalyst platform, and Smith and Tainter are excited about continuing their positive trajectory. “Adobe Business Catalyst will help propel us into other vertical markets and open up new revenue opportunities, while at the same time make it possible for us to provide personal service and focus on what we do best—deliver distinguished design projects.”
The firm is actively exploring the web app management capabilities of Business Catalyst in anticipation of developing mobile sites for clients. Using Business Catalyst, the team can create style sheets and templates for mobile sites that leverage existing creative assets built with Adobe Creative Suite components, including Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator software.
“We’re truly amazed at the depth and richness of the Adobe Business Catalyst web platform and the solutions built on top of it.” Read their story ›
“Business Catalyst is the ideal solution for wrapping all our clients’ requirements into powerful, integrated self-service business and web marketing tools.” Read their story ›
“The new Breckenridge Brewery site has transformed the way the company does business.” Read their story ›
“Not having to worry about learning how to make changes to HTML or CSS lets other team members get more involved.” Read their story ›
“When clients see how much the platform can do and how cost-effective it is, ideas begin to flow and projects rapidly take shape.” Read their story ›
“With Adobe Creative Cloud, we can quickly and easily add employees to projects as needed, keeping us focused on delivering great results for clients, rather than worrying about costs.” Read their story ›
“The all-in-one functionality allowed us to begin transitioning away from a production shop and toward more of a partner and solutions provider to our clients.” Read their story ›