When Oliver Luck, a co-founder of Country Roads Trust, called Wheelhouse Creative for help with the then-new Name, Image and Likeness collective serving West Virginia University athletes, he’d done his research.
Yes, he wanted an in-state marketing firm. But as a former WVU quarterback and athletic director, he wanted the best for his Mountaineers.
See, Luck and fellow co-founder Ken Kendrick wanted to get a jump on other schools in the NIL space back at the end of 2021. And from that came a shining example of why businesses wanting to plant their flag with a sharp, effective – even ever evolving – website work with the folks at Wheelhouse.
“The website is the cornerstone of all advertising in this day and age,” said Wheelhouse graphic designer Matt Myles. “Everything links back to a website. Most people will do a Google search of any company they’ve never heard of before making a purchase or before having interactions. Having a searchable website, one that has content for your clientele, is highly important. We at Wheelhouse go above and beyond to provide that.”
The credentials of the Wheelhouse graphic designers are beyond reproach. Myles co-founded the design firms of Neue and Chiselbox before joining the agency and has over 10 years of experience designing websites for companies across the region. Amanda Carlson has over 15 years of experience doing so. Aside from her BA in biology from Chatham University, she has a Master of Sciences in Interactive Media Production from Quinnipiac University.
They’ve put together websites for prestigious companies like Abraham & Company, PLLC, and the Oglebay Foundation, but the Country Roads Trust site proved a challenging labor of love.
“The very first iteration – which is no longer what it looks like – we were working on a very, very tight deadline,” said Myles. “We ended up getting the skeleton up in a few days.”
The Wheelhouse staff was presented the assignment in the Christmas holiday season and had to work both fast, but also efficiently.
“We added several things after, like the player bios, the press room, the different elements,” Myles said. “Then we did a redesign, when we had more time to think about and plan what we wanted to do.
“In a perfect world, we would have initially had time to plan and really nail down the direction. But we understood. We turned around the logo design and web site with little content. We had to figure out what images were allowed and not allowed, etc.”
Now, Country Roads Trust and its site are among the nation’s most well-respected. On3 calls Country Roads Trust one of the “Top 10 Most Ambitious NIL Collectives.”
“To see where that site has gone in the last year and a half — the opportunities, what we were able to take to them — that’s the exciting part,” said Carlson. “We asked, ‘Where can we help the athletes? Where can we help that brand?’ From new logos to new branding to the functionality of the site. From their staff saying they wanted to do X, Y and Z and us figuring out ways to make it happen has been exciting.”
The Wheelhouse staff has certainly been kept on its proverbial toes.
“The NIL space is constantly evolving,” Myles said. “When we first started working with Country Roads Trust, we didn’t foresee them having a branded beer or branded products. It’s evolved. We don’t know what’s next and that’s what makes it special. It’s a relatively new space. It’s constantly changing.”
Another service important to Country Roads Trust and any business fashioning a website is maintenance. Wheelhouse offers that as well.
“Website maintenance is important because if you let the site go stagnant for a while, plug-ins go out of date, themes go out of date, WordPress architecture goes out of date,” Myles said. “All of that lends itself to being vulnerable to hacking and malware. Part of it too is constantly putting fresh content up on a regular basis, which helps with Google algorithms. It keeps people and the Google algorithms engaged.”
“It comes down to site search and how your site performs,” added Carlson. “It comes down to little things too. We give different clients a limited access to their site. Sometimes we have to go in and be able to maintain and manage their changes and updates and make sure they’re following all the compliance rules, which are constantly changing. We want what’s best for our clients, so it makes sense for them to sign a maintenance retainer or contract, so the site is performing well and is in compliance.”
Note how Carlson and Myles care about Country Roads Trust and their clients. That’s what makes Wheelhouse Creative special.
“We’re in it for the client,” Carlson said. “Every company wants to make money, but we definitely tend to put the client first and go above and beyond to make sure they get what they want. A large firm will turn a business into another number, another website, another cashed check.
“We’re going to put in the work to give you the website you want and you’re going to get a family type feel of service.”
So, check out our portfolio. Check out the Country Roads Trust website. And give us a call today at 304-905-6005.