Branding, Marketing, Advertising 

Your world… All moving to digital yet for many agencies, digital (e.g. website) projects have proven to be problematic and shrouded in commercial and reputational risk.  

I often hear from agencies statements like “We don’t do websites, they’re a pain and we’ve previously been burned” 

What steps can be taken to bring the home of the brand back under the control of the agency in these changing times?

Understand the problems of the past

The biggest issue that we see in digital projects that have not gone as well as they should have, when you boil it down, is expectation setting. 

  • Did the client believe that your agency could be relied upon for all elements of their marketing including highly functioning cloud based software and a website with multiple API connections to legacy systems? 
  • Does the client understand that a beautiful, fluid, sophisticated web experience (such as the apple website for example) requires a very substantial technical build budget compared to a more conventional layout with some orthodox animations?
  • Was the client mindful of the price range that websites fall into? (Governments at state and federal level in Australia often tender for funcional websites costing between $500,000 and a Million dollars.) Your client’s budget may limit their expectations and context is key
  • How much time was budgeted for client meetings, functional and non functional revisions, relating to the website project? In hindsight was it enough? 

Skill up on digital design 

The designers in your organisation are great right? Yes! and with forethought given to digital design in particular, the communication between the custodians of the brand, those with the best understanding of the desired tone of voice, User eXperience etc. and the propellerheads that can bring those designs to life on a wide range of screens and devices will add substantial value and streamline the whole project from the outset.  

Are your designs ‘Pixel perfect’? If they are then chances are high that expectations are not going to be met in the responsive world of REM. Put effort into talking the same language as those building great technical experiences in the browser. 

Partner with experts

The technology space, especially with regards to the cloud, continues to evolve and change at an accelerating pace. Professions such as lawyers and doctors require constant education on the latest techniques and best practices. Web developers have to self educate at an even higher pace than their well paid counterparts in other industries. For this reason, unless your agency is large enough to have a dedicated software development division with time and processes in place for education to stay ahead of the curve, consider teaming up with a digital build partner that lives and breathes “under the hood” every hour of every day. 

Be transparent from start to finish

From my experience in the Australian market, buyers appreciate honesty and transparency, buyers want to see the system in action along with proven capability. Yes marketing managers may say that they want “one throat to choke” but they also appreciate meeting with the team that is going to be building their brand’s pride and joy. We all know that the old children’s game of chinese whispers often ends in the message being substantially distorted. With that in mind don’t be afraid to show your client that you’ve partnered with a best of breed provider, introduce them during the business development cycle and cc key project partners on the communication that is taking place at the “coalface”.