• Microsoft


  • Technology/Marketing

Technologies used

  • Microsoft Silverlight
  • Windows Azure
  • Extensible Markup Language (XML)
  • Adobe Creative Suite

To promote understanding of and generate excitement around its Advertising brand, Microsoft wanted to update its brand book from a static PDF to an interactive experience. redtech created an online brand book that walks users through an engaging visual landscape of brand stories, messages, guidance, and assets. The book features motion graphic design, bird’s-eye views, and interactive navigation to give users a broad understanding of brand. Built using Microsoft Silverlight and the Windows Azure platform, the solution is easy to update and cost-effective to maintain.

The Challenge

Microsoft Advertising’s brand management team wanted to help employees, as well as partner agencies and vendors who develop marketing materials for Microsoft, better understand the brand, its messages, and proper brand asset usage.

Microsoft relied on a static PDF to share brand guidance, but it was a challenge to ensure that users always had the most up-to-date version. The PDF was difficult to search, and it didn’t directly connect users to the brand assets they needed, like product logos and graphics. Also, updating the PDF required specialized design and development skills. Simply put, it took too much time.

Microsoft wanted to replace the PDF-based brand guidelines with an informative and interactive experience—one that inspired the same excitement about the brand that it was asking its marketers to communicate to their audiences. And, it wanted to do this in a form factor that was easy to update and cost-effective to maintain.

The Solution

As a go-to partner for the brand team, redtech was a clear choice to help Microsoft Advertising create an interactive brand book. We approached the project with the analogy of a genealogy tree or a map in mind.

Rather than risk losing our users deep in the pages of a “book,” we wanted to expand the experience and give them a bird’s-eye view of the brand. This way, they could understand the interconnectedness of all aspects of the Advertising brand. Our user experience and visual designers created a scrollable plane or landscape that traverses sections of the brand book, explaining messaging and providing asset usage guidelines. Each section connects to accompanying downloadable brand assets at the bottom of the screen. Built-in search tools let a user perform rich keyword searches within the copy as well as on asset titles

We developed the site using Microsoft Silverlight and XML, and incorporated motion graphic design elements to give the brand book a living quality. We deployed it on the Windows Azure cloud platform, and created a secure login process that invokes federated identity to ensure that users can use their same Microsoft credentials to access the brand book. Microsoft Advertising updates the site through a simple publishing process that doesn’t require technical skills.

The Results

redtech helped Microsoft reinvent its brand book, transforming it from a static experience to an interactive world of brand that packs a serious “wow” factor. In addition to doing a better job of communicating brand personality and educating users on brand guidelines, the book is easy to update, to share, and cost-effective to maintain.

Generates brand excitement

The interactive brand book, by nature, is a living example of the Microsoft Advertising brand in action and this makes it an effective educational tool. It reflects the brand personality through compelling images, lively and smooth motion graphics, and natural navigation. Portraying a broad landscape of brand concepts and messages, users can immediately see the interconnectedness of all aspects of the Microsoft brand—as well as how the guidelines relate to the specific brand assets.

Saves time and costs

The Windows Azure platform provides a cost-effective hosting environment for Microsoft, and now, all of Microsoft Advertising’s brand execution tools—including messaging, guidelines, and assets—are centrally maintained, in the online brand book. Brand managers can easily update or edit content in the book, without needing specialized design or development skills. As a consolidated and secured online experience, the brand book also helps partners and employees stay up-to-date with the most current brand info—helping to ensure that they are doing their best work as ambassadors of the Microsoft brand.