Johnny Hugel Produces Elements That Provide Meaning For Brands

James Madison's Montpelier

James Madison’s Montpelier

Providing content strategy and production to drive the prominence in storytelling elements in the new CMS at launch, and partnering for 2+ years to provide content elements to fill the site and support the organization’s marketing efforts.





Storytelling Content — 2016 - 2019

When James Madison's Montpelier contacted Mobelux with an RFP for building their new web platform, I knew it was time to get serious about content. Mobelux had been dabbling with telling their own stories, shifting to the Case Study format on the website from a wall of brand logos, and had recently hired a full-time photographer, bumping my fledgling production team from a team of one to a team of two, but hadn't yet offered these talents to clients in a meaningful way.

Even on our first visit on-site, our pitch, we brought a camera. Those photos would later prove useful fodder for the growing need for site content (the existing 400px-wide images weren't very useful in defining a style, or telling any sort of story). It was this photography capability that won Mobelux the job, and it became these stories that allowed content to reshape the Montpelier legacy. When Mobelux first approached the site it had over 900 pages, it was the compendium of all things James Madison, it held everything but gave away little; photos were very small, reserving the value for those who'd buy the ticket to experience the real thing.

I worked closely with the designers to architect a platform that would put enticing and compelling photography at the forefront, beckoning users to read more, and then experience it for themselves. I defined a style for the photography that was documentarian in nature and yet accessible in a way you could envision yourself there. I brought on a writer who defined an approachable, friendly, yet informed style that gave life to all of their stories; whether they be fully historical in nature, or interpreting Madison's letters to Jefferson for a modern interpretations of the issues interpreting our Constitution today.

I successfully sold a series of stories that we'd create over the next few years, allowing their internal teams to focus on direct marketing efforts, while still filling the new site with new and compelling stories. Our honest and raw approach to their stories was also later credited with inspiring a more modern and honest approach to their own story, which they internalized while creating their latest exhibition, the award-winning Mere Distinction of Colour.

In addition to the learning lessons from Montpelier, Mobelux also developed a new CMS offering. With these two pieces in-hand, Mobelux went on to partner with non-profits, local businesses and start-ups to build platforms to feature compelling content (which we'd in-turn produce). In one week I drove to the North Carolina border to produce an interview series with "the Airbnb of Hunting Properties", a Military Manufacturer in Central-Virginia for headshots and behind-the-scenes images and a food photography shoot for a local organic grocer.

In addition to providing rather affordable & sustainable content for brands dying for regular content injections, the process I defined also provided plenty of Instagram fodder.

A sampling of projects: