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IfThen is a design-and-build digital agency that pairs seasoned executive level strategy with operationally sustainable services to deliver solutions that business leaders need to stay relevant. IfThen is the brainchild of a small group of seasoned executives who designed and built some of the biggest successful content sites in the world, including CNN. com, USAToday.com, and SI.com. Senior Vice Presidents Dave Rickett and Rhonda K. Lowry—two of the chief architects of the vision of the company—share glimpses of how their solutions are helping businesses drive results with efficiency.
If Then Digital: The Inception and Journey with Adobe
For businesses who are anchored in Adobe Experience Solutions, “We take the technology problem off the table by integrating our solution strategies across all parts of our clients’ business.” says Lowry. The partnership with Adobe began with our work with National Geographic in 2015 while helping them migrate from their existing content management system to the Adobe Experience Manager (AEM). IfThen’s work with Adobe was born out of a client-driven need and has become the base for many of their long-term operations. Lowry explains, “We operate across varied applications, and our approach is simple: ensuring that brands deliver accurate content at the right time in a productive and efficient way. We incorporate a variety of Adobe solutions including Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe Marketing Cloud, and Analytics to create rich customer experiences online with further advanced implementation approaches that set us apart. Our focus is on creating better efficiencies in every aspect of the business process from customer marketing to engagement, CRM, and technical infrastructure to internal communication.”
Digital Strategy for Top-Notch Service Capabilities
“At our core, we deliver system solutions — across digital product development, building global design systems, designing and integrating operational platforms, and governance. We inform business strategy, go-to-market strategy, content strategy, governance, market analysis, and growth driven points of view, and integrate those strategies from beginning to end of almost every process,” says Lowry.
Rickett explains, “Our strong creative team focuses on design theory and brand development, market development, digital design, and web in a mobile environment.
Experience grounds our ability to recognize and process what’s happening, then translate that into action
IfThen has become a go-to company for strategic planning, design, and technical implementation for large-scale destination sites. Rickett explains why they stress a strategy first approach, “Often we see the rapid pace of change creating a fragmented set of activities that no longer align with where our clients businesses need to be going. By heavily leveraging our end-to-end executive experience, our clients are able transform to a more effective, integrated, and streamlined business. Experience plays a key role in differentiating us from other providers. It grounds our ability to recognize and process what’s happening, then translate that into action so they can continue to exceed business objectives, in a world of complex constraints.”
IfThen began exclusively focusing on media & entertainment, but quickly grew into working with marketing brands as they began publishing their own content. Taking their knowledge of publishing, storing, and efficiently making content available and discoverable for media companies across the globe has proven critical in giving consumer brands a major jumpstart as they continually create and distribute more and more of their own content.
Everyone is coping with design and UX inconsistencies. This is magnified for global organizations. The partnership with Coca-Cola was born out of a design challenge. Rickett explains, “They were spending millions of dollars launching new sites and not getting any reuse out of them, no efficiencies, no sharing between markets and they were frequently off brand. They needed to create digital brand standards the organization could adopt, so we focused on building a component library that expressed the standards in the right form. We created a set of components that any brand could use to create any type of website. This component-based system enables brands to bend the style according to their specific needs, while maintaining the appropriate level of consistency. The concept started with Coca-Cola Red and was then extended to many of Coca-Cola’s other large global brands including Sprite and Fanta.”
We created lighter versions of the system where a smaller brand, which may not have the marketing budget, could go out and create a website on their own, enabling them to be a leader in their respective market with a few changes in the fonts, style and design. It provides local flexibility within a globally-approved system. On the governance side, we built and maintain a one-stop design library which documents all of the components and serves as a strong onboarding tool for markets and their agencies around the world. Each component of the system evolves continuously and automatically inherits all of the brand styles. Brands share enhancements which results in cost savings, continual improvements, and cross-brand collaboration. Our priority is creating this very versatile system of components that scale, allowing any brand to use it in any market and continue to grow over time.
If Then partnered with National Geographic in 2013 to move them from their current CMS to a dynamic AEM-based CMS that allows them to maximize the impact of their content investment. Today, IfThen continues to play a key role in building and operating National Geographic’s digital technologies that serves at the hub for all the publishers’ properties.
The Roadmap for a Productive Digital World
“We focus on building solid long-term partnerships with our clients. We work with our clients as a part of their team, we get to know their businesses, and together create a path to delivering digital experiences that drive results. We do not sell technology; we sell business expertise paired with high quality execution,” says Lowry.