Waxdigital Gives Recording Artists' Web Sites That Funky Look

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When marketing via the Internet recording artists such as 98° and Smokey Robinson, Universal Records looks to Waxdigital Inc., a full-service e-solutions firm, to design its Web sites.


Waxdigital, which is working on a Web site for 98° that is scheduled to debut in early September, has designed Web sites for seven of the record company's independent artists, including Brian McKnight, A.S.K. Me and 702.


"We take the image that the band portrays and the music that they put out and factor everything in," said Jason Kolbenheyer, the firm's executive vice president. "We try to give [the music] a face on the Web in order to better represent them."


Waxdigital -- www.waxdigital.com -- represents another 20 or so companies as well, Kolbenheyer said. Besides designing their Web sites, Waxdigital offers those companies full-scale Web solutions, including Internet marketing and e-commerce, he said.


"We try to figure out who it is they're targeting and what it is they're trying to sell," Kolbenheyer said. "And we'll build the site around that."


To build a Web site, however, key marketing steps are required before the actual design, Kolbenheyer said. Waxdigital, New York, assists clients throughout the Web site development in marketing strategies and building the brand by sending its own marketing team to work for them, he said. The team has launched guerrilla, viral and e-mail marketing campaigns for its affiliate companies. Moreover, Waxdigital conducts focus groups for the clients not only to test the Web design, but also "to make sure they're writing in the right direction," he said.


Waxdigital also provides its clients with intranets and extranets, Kolbenheyer said. Companies can use the intranet to communicate and the extranet -- which is part of the main Web site -- to update or review accounts, he said.


"We prefer to work with the client hand in hand, to make sure their vision is getting portrayed the way they like," Kolbenheyer said.


Waxdigital develops clients' Web sites and brings that vision to life by following a six-step program called Process Wax, Kolbenheyer said. Waxdigital begins with a so-called environmental scan, which researches the industry, among other things. That step is followed by the development of a plan and the Web site concept, which includes the design. The next step is the production of the Web site or the navigational implementation and the layout of the content. The final steps are testing and launching the Web site.


Kolbenheyer said Process Wax results in visual recognition that helps clients generate more effective responses. "People like to be wowed, people like to be amazed," he said. "They like to see things that are different and interactive and new."


Companies such as Universal Records have looked to Waxdigital to develop new and interactive Web sites for their recording artists, Kolbenheyer said. Universal Records chose Waxdigital over other Web solutions companies because of its clean and uncluttered Web design, said Mark Grochowski, new media producer at Universal Records.


"They don't bombard you with unnecessary images and information," he said. "It's very simple."


Grochowski said Universal Records employees are not the only ones impressed with Waxdigital's Web design. While early figures reflected only modest traffic statistics -- Universal Records Web sites designed by Waxdigital average a few thousand unique visitors a week -- fans, via interactive bulletin boards, are saying they are impressed with the sites, he said.


Even the artists, who have input into what Web designers the company uses, are happy with the Web sites, he said. 98°, for instance, after seeing some of Waxdigital's work with other Universal Records artists, chose Waxdigital to design its Web site, Grochowski said.
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