Strategy First Case Studies

About the Client:

The Problem: From humble beginnings, Creative Stone has grown into a leader in the simulated stone industry in South Africa. With three specialized factories, they manufacture flagstone, cobbles, and cladding ranges that can be used for driveways, entertainment areas, sidewalks, pathways, patios, pool surrounds, walls, and fire pits. With an unrelenting commitment to upholding the highest standards of manufacturing, precise craftsmanship, and the enduring quality of their flagstones, cobbles, cladding, bullnoses, and wall capping, Creative Stone has become a trusted partner for architects, landscapers, and discerning homeowners. An adherence to excellence in form and function has seen Creative Stone win numerous awards for design. Their simulated stone products have been featured in several lifestyle magazines and television programs.

The Problems

  • Lacked an integrated and holistic marketing strategy
  • Marketing was tactical and ad-hoc
  • Digital presence (website) did not reflect the brand and brand experience.
  • Social media was one-dimensional
  • Getting more business from existing partners and finding new partners

Engagement Details:

  • Developed a holistic marketing strategy that integrated traditional and digital marketing
  • Defined Creative Stone’s ideal target market
  • Created a compelling positioning for each target market
  • Defined key messaging is consistently communicated across all channels/touchpoints. Implementation of marketing activities aligned to the strategy and key objectives
  • Website re-designed with the user experience at the heart Social content expanded to include videos and reels Introduction of SEO-driven content in the form of blogs
  • Quarterly newsletters to keep Creative Stone in mind with existing clients and prospects Introduction of radio advertising Joint marketing with partners

Strategy First Principles:

  • Develop strategy first (highlighted above)
  • Build a website that converts visitors to customers
  • Use social media to create awareness and build trust.
  • Online advertising – Creative Stone makes use of Google Adwords
  • Measurement and reporting – monthly reports track website visitors, contact forms completed, social posts performance, Adwords performance, and quotes issued & accepted


  • Social media following increases between 5-7% monthly
  • Website visitors increased to, on average, 5000 visitors per month
  • 80 contact forms filled out per month, 10 of which, on average, result in sales-qualified leads
  • 2020/21 saw Creative Stone maintain year-on-year profits despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw national lockdowns, restricted in-person activities, and the loss of many jobs 

“Before partnering with aha!, we were winging it with no clear action plan. Along with assisting us with our social media platforms and print media, the biggest impact we have seen, thanks to Brightside, is our new and improved website. Without their evaluation and knowledge, we would never have known that our website was not as user-friendly as we thought, especially for your average person who is not familiar with who we are and what we do. The difference between aha! and previous marketing support is the people, who have a tremendous amount of marketing knowledge, as well as their incredible willingness to go the extra mile. The team is fantastic and for me, the relationship we have built with some of them is priceless. Our marketing engine is working, we are doing a number of different things consistently and well, and it’s all working together; it’s not one thing that’s delivering results, it’s the combination of everything.” 

– Brett Bailey, Sales and Marketing Manager, The Creative Stone Company

About the Client:

Zip Code Wilmington is a nationally recognized coding school based in Wilmington, Delaware, and one of the first nonprofit coding schools in the country. Through alliances with area businesses, including several Fortune 500 companies, Zip Code Wilmington has created a world-class curriculum that prepares students to meet the current industry needs in software development and software engineering. One of Zip Code Wilmington’s core differentiators is its robust employer network. On average, 82% of Zip Code Wilmington graduates are placed in full-time employment within 12 months of completing the program, with an average annual salary of $76,068.

The Problem:

Zip Code Wilmington struggled for a year without anyone in their marketing department, with many of their marketing initiatives led and implemented by the executive director, who was being pulled in many other directions. Zip Code Wilmington hired a social media marketing and events coordinator in early 2022. Still, they quickly realized their marketing needs and goals were severely off track, and one person could not accomplish the job. They contacted us in February 2022 to help them get their marketing back up to speed.

Engagement Details:

Zip Code Wilmington contracted with us to provide ongoing campaign management encompassing a customized marketing strategy, online audit, social media management, email marketing, and website improvements to build awareness and growth.

aha! Marketing Principles

We initiated the engagement with a total online presence audit and then used the milestones mapping to plan out activities through the end of the year.


With our expertise and guidance, Zip Code Wilmington ran a successful seven-week Facebook and Instagram ad campaign to increase enrollment. The number of applicants doubled. Zip Code Wilmington has also seen overall improvement on its website, particularly in May, June, and July 2022, when daily views increased from a few hundred to more than 2,000 daily. This is attributed to the social media ad campaign and the web content updates implemented over the past six months. In addition, we were able to help Zip Code Wilmington navigate a troubling Facebook experience, which ultimately led to the creation of a new Facebook Business Manager account and a new Ads account.