U.S. Chamber of Commerce
From lobby to critical business resource
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce (USCC) is the world’s largest business organization representing companies of all sizes across every sector of the economy. A venerable force in the policymaking halls of Washington D.C., The Chamber is simultaneously on a path of transformation spurred by new leadership. The Chamber promotes bipartisan moderation and a unifying economic agenda.
To further reinforce their position as a resource to diverse constituents, The Chamber partnered with AREA 17 to convey the depth of their expertise and better serve society, businesses, and government.
The Chamber led a multi-year transformative effort to strengthen its advocacy and impact. In conjunction, the pandemic radically shifted the needs of all American businesses. The Chamber saw a marked increase in demand for resources that were timely and expanded the reader's knowledge of transverse topics. Implementing a strong digital infrastructure and a modern storytelling platform was a key step to ensuring The Chamber’s relevancy and resiliency for years to come.
Building upon an updated brand visual identity developed by COLLINS, AREA 17 established the digital ecosystem to support the Chamber’s important work.
While the desire to influence policies remains a pillar of USCC’s work, AREA 17 identified an opportunity to implement a more inclusive digital experience and taxonomy that better speaks to the communities USCC represents. How can a website better support businesses by guiding, informing, and connecting them? The design revolved around users and The Chamber’s goals were incorporated into each phase of the process.
Topical pages, covering areas such as immigration, cybersecurity and infrastructure, were enhanced to appeal to a broader audience and encourage site visitors to explore interrelated hubs.
The modern design focuses on providing value to the reader and encourages them to return to deepen their understanding and follow topics as they evolve. Written content is complemented by related initiatives, programs, and events that promote discussion and support networking.
“Our new website captures the spirit of American businesses everywhere as they work to serve people, solve problems, and bolster communities at home and around the globe.” — U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Suzanne Clark
The Chamber harnessed this opportunity to shift their CMS from Drupal to Craft. Doing so ensured that in-house engineers could confidently build alongside and maintain AREA 17’s front-end development work in a decoupled architecture.
As a central element of the design, The Chamber relied on the fundamental question of who they serve. Strategic workshops identified an opportunity to reinforce a renewed vision for the future and expand their focus from large corporations to be more inclusive to small and medium-sized businesses.
The design system included a sophisticated theming component that empowers The Chamber’s team to modify pre-defined themes on an ad hoc basis. The innovative approach to theming gave rise to a plug & play system that afforded endless adaptability, minimal development lift, and diverse options for the Chamber to distinguish content series.
AREA 17 established guidelines for design that are modular, scalable, and seamlessly adhere to the updated brand visual identity developed by COLLINS. As business is never static, it was imperative that The Chamber’s digital presence be responsive to the addition of new topics and initiatives. The design system empowered internal teams to do just that and to create, author, and evolve site content.
At the onset of the partnership, the depth of resources The Chamber offers felt siloed and singular in its focus towards an audience of Washington insiders and those well-versed with the Chamber’s work. Making content approachable served to break down barriers to consumption and supported The Chamber’s mission of invigorating its relationship with businesses of all sizes across the country.