Robert Reilly of boutique agency Mixed Handed Branding outlines his vision for working with clients to develop a clear sense of purpose that grows loyalty and relevance with its customers, as part of the Wix Partner Awards series.
Purpose is a frequently used term in the marketing world, and one that’s in danger of losing its meaning in some quarters. Too often it’s thrown around as evidence of a brand’s claims to virtue while having little connection to the reality of that business’s existence.
However, for Robert Reilly, founder and chief executive of branding agency Mixed Handed Branding, purpose is an essential component of his approach with clients. Whether that’s manifested in a logo design, building a website or growing a brand from scratch. Put simply, Reilly and his agency are in the business of “understanding the why” for their clients, to help them define a clear sense of purpose.
That’s worthy of recognition. Indeed, each month, the Wix Partner Awards celebrate businesses that are blazing a trail in the digital space, and Mixed Handed Branding is the latest winner for demonstrating excellence in the super functionality category with its website design work for flavored wine producer SoDown Wine Co.
Reilly explains that establishing this clear sense of purpose is central to the agency’s approach, but that high levels of functionality are never far behind. “One of the theories we live by is function,” he says. “I’m always speaking with clients about this. What is the main goal of your website, and can we get visitors to take an action in three clicks or less? That’s what really informs the site’s hierarchy.”
He adds: “We always design the homepage in a scrolling story format. There’s no point in relying on people to ﬁnd where they want to go through your navigation bar. We try to guide them from the moment they get to the website. It means you’re going to get them to click where you want them to go.”
Mixed Handed Branding’s work for SoDown Wine Co. is a strong case in point. The agency began working with the client in its pre-launch phase, and was briefed to develop an online store. However, Reilly believed that an unconventional approach would help the brand’s high quality flavored wine to compete in the hard seltzer space.
“We landed on this playful, fun concept to connect with the target audience, college-educated women aged between 28 and 46. We wanted to really drive home that it’s a ﬂavored wine product,” says Reilly.
To create a unique online shopping experience, Mixed Handed Branding developed a clean, fresh and vibrant design bursting with colorful elements that emphasize the fruity and refreshing nature of the SoDown Wine Co. products, and capture the spirit of a playful brand. In addition, some smart animation cleverly illustrates the product’s innovative features, such as its resealable lid, and seamlessly navigates the visitor through SoDown Wine Co.’s story before subtly introducing them to the store sections and a user-friendly cart page.
Pushing boundaries for clients
Despite being a relatively young company – Reilly launched the business in 2019 – Mixed Handed Branding has developed standout design for a number of clients. Examples include award-winning work for craft brewer Falling Sky Brewing, and some rich and high-performing websites for businesses including Butcher and Bird and Fire Tech Academy.
But how has Reilly approached developing the agency and raising awareness of its distinct positioning? The company serves clients across all sectors but has built a strong base among beverage companies and hair salons. And, Reilly says, Wix Marketplace and word-of-mouth have been crucial for client acquisition, with his wife among the more effective advocates for the business. “She’s a hairstylist. And think about it – it’s a powerful marketing tool,” says Reilly. “They literally have somebody’s undivided attention for two hours. It’s crazy how often she brings us leads.”
In terms of providing some encouragement to other agencies, Reilly recommends really putting in the time and effort to make web design and branding that’s an extra bit special, because a strong portfolio and reputation is priceless. “You might have to go beyond your budget or budgeted hours, but that output will potentially garner more business,” he says. “With more examples and more work under your belt, it becomes more applicable to diﬀerent clients, and that client acquisition process is all about what you’ve done before.”
This has worked for Mixed Handed Branding. Reilly plans to expand its five-strong team with new hires in Oregon, a move to a fresh office space, and further growth in Hawaii, where it has worked for a number of clients. But the agency will never lose sight of its main principles – purpose and functionality: “We’re just stoked that we can now test this recognition with clients or potential clients and talk about how our partnership with Wix continues to pay off.”
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