Risk. Every software dev agency must manage risk (and their coffee supply), and our client OMWorks saw a big, fat risk sitting in the middle of their path. A single client accounted for over 90% of their revenue.
Founders Tatyana and Kostiantyn were thankful for predictable work, steady cash flow, and opportunity to build a team of 40+ developers, but keeping all of their eggs in one basket wasn’t a wise long-term strategy. Meanwhile, their team of smartypants engineers was getting a wee bit bored with straightforward projects that required no true wizardry or innovation.
OMWorks knew they needed a real brand in order to win interesting, challenging projects and diversify their client base. They reached out to Austin. Tatyana, Kostiantyn, and Austin have collaborated on projects since December 2011, so kicking off the project felt like a family reunion (the good kind).
Custom software development is not like body building where you can tell who is stronger just by watching. World-class software development agencies like OMWorks are in the business of invisible excellence.
OMWorks has helped dozens of companies deliver beautiful, functional apps that improve millions of lives, yet they would be nearly indistinguishable from a fly-by-night Craiglist lurker who stood up a WordPress website once and fashions himself a full-stack software engineer.
Prospective clients often have a hard time differentiating between dev shops because both the A+ players and D- posers make the same claims about “deep expertise,” “top-quality code,” and “scalable solutions.”
How can a top 10% dev shop like OMWorks make the value of their clean, scalable architectures and high-quality code clear?
We tackled the differentiation problem the old-fashioned way: by cloistering ourselves in a room for a two-day workshop and drawing out everything that makes OMWorks remarkable.
Beyond slinging code, what fires them up? Why do they get up early, stay up late, and pour their lives into this company? What’s the enduring purpose behind their work?
OMWorks wants to use technology to make the world better, and they want to do it in the most humanizing way possible. The founders believe that tech should elevate and empower.
Great products make life easier and better so that we humans can get on with the business of living instead of wrangling an ornery app. Software really shines when it simply works and fades to the background.
We made several key decisions early on:
We’d avoid predictable moves and visual cliches: computer imagery, graph paper, conservative tones of blue.
We’d pull in the founders’ love of yoga. (They’re both certified instructors.)
We’d focus on curves and organic shapes for visual identity.
The result is a fresh, fun, and compelling visual and verbal identity that makes these brilliant software engineers likable and approachable.
Once we finalized the visual identity, we moved onto UI/UX design and copywriting. We enjoyed translating all the tech-speak into playful copywriting that’s fun to read without undercutting the team’s expertise.
Headline from Home page:
“Build it right the first time (and enjoy the ride).”
Sample from Services page:
“This is how we get you from where you are now to where you want to be.”
Same from About page:
“OMWorks is a team of math geeks, computer nerds, and surprisingly human software engineers.”
Finally, we crafted anonymous case studies that really paid homage to the magnitude of the problems the OMWorks team can solve. Based on pesky things called legal documents, OMWorks couldn’t disclose the names of some clients and the exact nature of some projects.
Throughout the project, Tatyana and Kostiantyn were a delight to work with. We were happy to learn that the feeling was mutual.
“We hired Balernum for branding, visual identity design, and website design. Balernum’s portfolio projects included examples from our industry and others, and that helped us make the hire. What we really enjoyed from the very start was the very clear communication about what we would get. Austin came in person to Newmarket (where we’re headquartered outside of Toronto), and we got a fantastic process. This process took longer than we expected, partly because of delays on our side and partly due to unexpected changes with Balernum’s core team. However, Austin’s honesty, clarity, and good sense of humor helped to iron out the wrinkles. We got the high-quality results we wanted and frankly, more than we expected. Balernum helped us nail down our core branding and messaging, identity and website design, presentation templates, and email newsletter template. In our industry, we often end up doing boring stuff with boring people. Our experience with Balernum was the complete opposite. The process was fun, and what we crystallized together has made our business better in every respect.”
– Kostiantyn Sokolinskyi, CTO, OMWorks
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