Case Study

Sherman Clay

Project Overview

Sherman Clay is the largest private dealer of Steinway Pianos in the world. They also manufacture a line of their own pianos called Henry F. Miller. Sherman Clay has several other piano stores that sell other premier brands of instruments such as Yamaha. The Sherman Clay management team needed to replace their existing corporate site, which was dated looking and limited, in both information and scalability. They also needed web sites for all their stores individually as well as a corporate site for their own piano brand Henry F. Miller. The management team at Sherman Clay was aware this would be a complicated project and given the prestige of the brand lines would require top shelf, quality design work and brand integration knowledge. Sherman Clay hired Active Web Group because they were aware of their reputation as a professional web site design leader of premier brands.


I have had a great experience working with both Dave Marinaccio and Roland Kravats. Initially, I worked with Roland on web-site design ideas, and was excited at the ease of the relationship, Roland’s focus on me as a client, and the speed with which he would implement our ideas.

As I got into the day to day aspect of marketing our business, I worked primarily with Dave. Dave has been amazingly responsive. Working with him makes me feel like I’m his only client. He offers good suggestions, and has turned around projects very quickly. I can always rely on him to provide honest feedback, which I need. The relationship is very productive, professional and easy. I couldn’t ask for more.

Ben Klinger

There really was one primary challenge to the Sherman Clay Project. Active Web Group needed to create eleven new web sites, one for each of the nine stores, one for the manufacturer Henry F. Miller and one for the corporate site Sherman Clay. They all needed to look and feel as individuals, but have a clear relationship to keep the brand pure and a the forefront. The very tricky part of this issue is that Sherman Clay sells the most prestigious brands of pianos in the world and it also manufacturers their own pianos. The sites needed to have proper relationships and balance with the brands they sell, while remaining unique to Sherman Clay. Active Web Group is used to dealing with top shelf brands and of course the challenges that go with working on them.


The goal of Active Web Group was to provide Sherman Clay with a family of web sites that could be managed through a content management system (CMS). The CMS could be controlled either internally by corporate editors and managers or by external sources. This would give corporate management control over the fresh content continuously added on the sites while also providing marketing flexibility for the store managers. Active Web group knew that to achieve this goal, and to properly advance and make the Sherman Clay brand shine online, they would have to spend a good deal of time interviewing Sherman Clay managers at all levels to understand their needs and convey the richness of the brand. When doing professional design work it is always necessary to get a crystal clear understanding of what management wants and how to position the brand.


Active Web Group built eleven professionally designed web sites with CMS capability. Each of the web sites clearly is related to the other, and has a flavor of the premier brands of the pianos that they sell and build. The management team has the ability to control much of the content on the site, and the store management team has the ability to market the products the way the wanted too. All of the sites were designed using an on staff professional artist with past experience at providing art quality images for premier companies. Premier brands such as this require a regal artistic approach that is funneled through the marketing and business consulting team at Active Web Group. The brand has been designed seamlessly through the web sites and now shows off the rich history of the brand as well as product lines.


Sherman Clay management is delighted with the end product! They are proud to showcase their new web sites at trade shows and presentations. Their web sites are considered industry leaders and they are now considered innovators in the online world when it comes to representing a regal brand such as theirs. Active Web Group is proud of their work with Sherman Clay and we feel confident that Sherman Clay management will speak highly of us.