work / The Royal Navy

The Royal Navy

A creative re-boot of the Royal Navy Gen Z recruitment experience

We collaborated with The Royal Navy to launch a new website, with a new digital identity, as part of the continued evolution of their highly respected and globally recognised brand.

Whilst The Royal Navy needs to appeal to multiple audiences, one group remained a clear priority in the development of the diverse, inclusive cutting-edge maritime force of tomorrow: Gen-Z.

The patriotism that had once compelled young adults to sign up to a life at sea was no longer enough. ‘Purpose’ was the key to motivating this audience into action and the brand needed to demonstrate its alignment with their values and priorities. They urgently needed a new approach that would drive this unique audience to action and increase the number of expressions of interest; the first stage in the recruitment process.

To meet them on their level, the Royal Navy needed to rethink the digital experience and the visual expression of the brand.

Leveraging our decade long partnership with the Royal Navy we worked as one team, providing the strategic, creative, engineering and UX skills to help them transform their digital experience.

Understanding the Gen Z mindset

We needed to capture Gen Z’s attention by challenging preconceptions; elevating the Royal Navy’s brand to compete with a crowded landscape of potential recruitment competitors.

We ran future vision workshops, translating the outputs into a set of content and experience principles. These principles became our North Star through 18 months of discovery, exploration and delivery.

Our research uncovered insights that challenged us to completely re-engineer the approach to content. Gen Z want simpler, more compelling, and relatable experiences; they tap through videos at pace and trust content from real people over big brands.

So, we introduced the ‘Stories’ format across the site, a feature inspired by social media behaviour. This CMS-managed content served up in a vertical format offered multimedia insights into life in the Navy, which could be deployed wherever needed. Allowing users to watch serving personnel give a first-hand account of the life in the Royal Navy.

A creative reboot of an iconic brand

From the outset, we knew we needed a design system that could not only support rapid prototyping, but also link up to the Royal Navy's master guidelines to drive organisation-wide change.

Conscious of their heritage brand status our approach was to evolve rather than tear up the traditional brand. We reclaimed the iconic Navy Blue, and further enriched the site with a vivid turquoise. We celebrated the technology of the fleet by incorporating iconography inspired by radar and cutting-edge aircraft carriers.

We also needed to pay respect to the unique role the Royal Marines play within the organisation. So, a bold new primary typeface, Big Shoulders, was chosen for its distinctive notches echoing a gun barrel with an assertive angular shape.

Copy needed a radical overhaul. To achieve this, new tone of voice guidelines were prepared and new content components were created. Together, this shifted the brand away from long-form copy towards more Gen Z- relevant engaging bursts of attention-grabbing information.

A reimagined journey

At the heart of our approach was a reimagining of the user experience. The site was designed mobile first, reflecting the way our audience consume digital content. We optimised the design for shorter, more focussed journeys using intuitive lateral and vertical scrolling to aid navigation. We reduced content duplication delivering a tighter experience that was easier to update and manage.

New landing pages were developed to bring people onto the site with a series of actions designed to nudge people towards joining. We introduced a confirmation stage in the application process to ensure those applying were eligible and in doing so, reduced the volume of candidate rejection in the process.

A rock solid technical foundation

None of this component-based thinking would have been possible without a new unshakeable technical architecture.

The site was built on a modern, headless platform hosted on Sitecore Managed Cloud.

Defence Gateway integration allows secure CMS access, ensuring flexibility, API integration and sophisticated personalisation. It’s a future-proof solution that opens the way to an ambitious roadmap, allowing us to remain ahead of the game with Gen Z expectations, helping them to reconnect with the Royal Navy, and find their ideal role within it.

If you'd like to speak to us about this piece of work and how we can help you transform your digital customer experience, get in touch.

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