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Inside the industry and inside the agency

29 Jun 2011

Well, they say pigs don’t fly but they do in Sevenoaks!

We appear to have a new member of the team.  Lucky (as we have affectionately named him) literally flew in the window of our Sevenoaks HQ, taking our account management team by complete surprise.

Piggy

It must have been a good luck omen – as minutes later we received fantastic news that we won a pitch! (Details will be shared soon).

We just had to keep him, and he has settled in nicely between Niki and Cat's desk.  Best place really, the snacks are much better up this end of the office....

29 Jun 2011

Wickedweb have published a new B2B case study today for our client Chaucer.  Chaucer is an independent global management consultancy, providing tailored, hands-on and flexible support to clients in the delivery of strategic business projects and programmes.  

Chaucer image1

Chaucer approached Wickedweb as they were aware of the limitations of their existing website.  It was clear the site had not been an active marketing tool, and could work much harder at lead generation. With an impressive set of credentials and clients, Chaucer is very well positioned within the market – and Wickedweb were keen to harness this potential and build a solution that would maximize Chaucer’s growth for the future.

At the outset of this project, Chaucer put challenging KPI’s in place with regards to enquiry generation via the website.  Wickedweb were tasked with a complete design and build overhaul of the website.  The need for this was two-fold: to showcase Chaucer’s brand values and personality, and to manage a strategy around content which needed to be engaging and credible to prospects.

Furthermore, there was also a requirement for Wickedweb to implement a Content Management System for Chaucer that met the current brief and was scalable for future needs.  Wickedweb’s proprietary PHP CMS was used, with a suite of modules executed to ensure the functionality was in place.

Overall, underpinning this project was a salient challenge that had to be met: How can Wickedweb convey and implement Chaucer’s approachable and friendly business approach across their website?

See how we did it.

29 Jun 2011

Wickedweb have a lot of clients in the retail sector and so we keep a keen eye on the industry - in particular M-commerce as this is the topic we are being asked about regularly. With Mobile strategies coming to the fore, our focus has been on planning M-commerce initiatives for our clients, and so it was interesting to come across this article published on the Econsultancy website recently.

eConsultancy_small-logo

e-Digital Research has recently undertaken an M-Commerce benchmark study which uses mystery shopper surveys to assess the customer experience for websites viewed on smartphones.  ASOS has come out top, narrowly beating M&S which will no doubt inspire other retailers to look at how effective their M-Commerce actually is.

Although it has been criticised in part, there is a key point to take away from e-Digital’s Research study: it is imperative that retailers are focusing on optimising their website for mobile as this is an area that continues to evolve rapidly.  Wickedweb are advocates in implementing a usability study at the outset of a build for our retail clients, to consider how M-Commerce will be addressed and executed. It is essential that the design rendered on a smartphone is simple, along with the navigation. ASOS have scored highly on the product pages where information including price is clear.  

It’s not good enough now to merely have an M-Commerce presence – the solution has to be carefully thought through and tested in order to provide the best possible user experience for the customer and ultimately the most hard hitting conversion rates for the retailer…

(Source E-consultancy)

For more details click here
 
29 Jun 2011

We are delighted to welcome Riley Consulting to Wickedweb as a new client -  a leading UK construction and property consultancy with over 100 years experience in the market.

RileyConsulting-logo

Wickedweb have won the opportunity to focus on the design and build of the Group’s nine websites.  Following delivery, our approach will be to launch Riley Consulting’s digital marketing strategy which we are confident will take the websites to the next level.

Our focus will be to build awareness of Riley Consulting and its affiliated brands within the construction industry.  The key objective will be to build on their excellent position in the market by showcasing the Group’s specialised services to a diverse portfolio of clients.

Account Director Neil Narain comments “We are looking forward to optimising the brand and are driven to deliver a customer centric solution.  It is essential that we engage the individual audiences, and the feature rich content we have planned will look to deliver this”.

Wickedweb have built up a solid reputation for delivering digital projects in the B2B sector, including clients such as EC Harris and our award winning work for Bluefin Solutions.  We are perfectly placed to deliver a large scale web design and build project for Riley Consulting, with a design led approach.  Furthermore, our solid experience across numerous CMS platforms has enabled us to identify moving forward with Umbraco as the CMS of choice.

This project launches in the Autumn 2011.

29 Jun 2011

Wickedweb are pleased to add a further Content Management System platform to our portfolio as we are awarded partner status for Kentico.

Kentico-logo2 

The Kentico CMS is a .NET solution, and as a Microsoft Partner we are extremely well placed to implement websites on this platform.

Our clients will find this scalable, and with 30 modules it offers vast functionality.  The user friendly interface is a key feature of this CMS.  Kentico can be implemented across corporate sites, extranets, intranets, community sites and e-commerce.

For more information, call Anna Dixon on 0207 183 4999.

29 Jun 2011

We are delighted to welcome ITE Exhibitions to Wickedweb.   We were shortlisted and subsequently won the fantastic opportunity to deliver design and website build services for ITE Exhibitions; the organiser of over 180 leading international events a year. 

 ITE-logo

Stuart Wells, Wickedweb’s MD says “I have no doubt the Wickedweb team will take one of ITE Exhibitions leading brands to an exciting new level.  We will confidently deliver a website that showcases why ITE Exhibitions is deserving of its coveted position in the industry”.

Wickedweb have built up a solid reputation for delivering digital projects in the exhibitions sector, including clients such as Internet World, The Destinations Show, The Vitality Show, London and Southampton Boat Shows and our work with Closer Still Media.  Furthermore, our award winning work in the B2B industry means we are perfectly placed to deliver a hard hitting digital solution for ITE Exhibitions.  

As the project unravels, Wickedweb will be focusing on the key objectives of the new website; to increase visitor registrations, sales leads and overall traffic.  This will be achieved in a number of ways including championing the brand vision, implementing usability studies to determine optimum user journeys and delivering strong message hierarchies.  This site will launch in the Autumn and so watch this space...

6 Jun 2011

The new wallpaper is up!

by Robert Hollander / 1 Comment(s)

We are loving the way our new HQ refurb is coming along. Even the miserable Monday morning rain can't stop us smiling at our new vista - and the perfect back ground for our staff photo shoot this Friday!

More shots coming soon...

The only question is...what do we call the stags?

Office wallpaper
6 Jun 2011

The Recommended Agency Register (RAR) was conceived to provide brand owners with a resource to find the right marketing suppliers. This can be a difficult process, and this roster provides a reliable and independent list of agencies and suppliers to enable companies to make an informed choice. Wickedweb are delighted to have made it onto this Register.

Rar - Recommended Agency Roster2

How does it work?

Working with Carynx Group, RAR have developed an algorithm to rate suppliers. This is made up of up-to-date market insights which are coupled with comprehensive ratings from clients. This gives a unique picture of the level of satisfaction that each supplier achieves, and does a lot of the due diligence 'ground work'.

Wickedweb would like to say a big thank you to our clients for participating in this process with us, and for the fabulous testimonials!

6 Jun 2011

Our trip to Sitecore's London office provided great insight into their critically acclaimed product. The trip also left our egos fully-bloated, as we departed on Friday being the only qualifying delegates on the entire course. Bragging rights aside, here's what we really thought:

Our first impression was the user interface, and how it resembled nothing we had ever seen before (in a good way). When in full-screen mode the experience was analogous to a remote-desktop session; the interface had in fact been modeled so strongly around Windows that it even had a 'Start' button. At one point I actually found myself trying to shutdown via Sitecore, but then sanity settled in.

We were also very impressed with 'sublayouts': a feature which allows users to add both content and structure into a page. Each sublayout may in-turn have additional sublayouts placed within it, and so on. This concept overcomes a problem present in many other CMSs, whereby developers have to be involved when new layouts are required.

Sitecore Lawrence blog

On a more technical note, it's worth mentioning that the application's architecture is highly generic, although probably more so than you'd actually want. Simply put, the core architecture has few known truths: everything is an object, objects sit in a tree, ...and that's about it. There is no strict concept of types or constraints, which sits in contrast to more statically-typed systems like Umbraco. The CMS is in fact so dynamic that most of Sitecore is actually written on Sitecore (think Inception).

Whilst my colleague and I both concurred this is very clever, we also agreed it isn't necessarily smart. You have to ask: How dynamic is too dynamic?  In the realms of enterprise application architecture, we need to make strong assertions about the state of a system to reduce the likelihood of errors. This is difficult with systems which are too dynamic, so it's going to be difficult with Sitecore. The oddity here is that the languages used to interface with Sitecore are statically-typed, but Sitecore's API promotes dynamic-typing: thus leaving us with two conflicting principals. There's almost a contradiction with how Sitecore claims to devote themselves to Microsoft technologies, but avert from embracing the statically-typed nature of their key languages.

However, for all of the following merits I'm willing to overlook this slight complexity, so let us conclude with the pros:

  • Frequent upgrades. Sitecore has a fast-paced development team whom appear to concentrate most of their efforts into new functionality; a refreshing change from overly-cautious vendors. That said, we did notice several bugs in Beta, so let’s just hope they have regression testing nailed for RTM.
  • Lively community. Despite being a commercial CMS, Sitecore has a sizeable following of users who are willing to share their code for free.
  • Outstanding user interface. Because Sitecore's GUI was written on XAML, the interface has an uncanny resemblance to Microsoft Windows. 
  • Incredibly flexible layouts. Sitecore allows you to modify pages quite significantly without having to consult a developer. The whole process is very intuitive as changes can be performed in-situ. 
  • Support for Windows Azure. Sitecore informed us that considerable time was spent at the Microsoft Campus to integrate with this behemoth; a great example of their strong relationship with the software giant. 
  • Loads of generic CMS functionality: most of it useful (e.g. workflow), but with the odd 'peer-pressure' feature thrown in for good measure (e.g. Office integration - don't get me started).

All in all a fantastic CMS which is unparalleled to anything we've ever seen. Here's to innovation.

6 Jun 2011

And there isn't a chocolate chip in sight!

The law is changing on the 26th May - and companies need to be ready for this new European e-Privacy directive.

"Explicit consent" must be sought from a web user who is being tracked via "cookies". Website owners use cookies to track their visitors; for example to target the serving of ads more effectively, or simply to give regular users to a site the ability to navigate more quickly by saving user preferences.

The change in law will require companies to figure out how they are going to get this explicit consent when a user hits their website. However this may take some time to work through, and the demands of the directive may certainly compromise a user journey.

Wickedweb's Technical Director Ian Jepp says "The responsibility ultimately falls on the website owner and so it would be essential to contact your legal department for a full understanding of what is under review in this directive. Best practice is to conform where necessary, and Wickedweb have set an agenda to look at this for all future projects".

Full details from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) can be viewed here.

6 Jun 2011

Wickedweb are very proud to announce our most recent award win today – the IMA Best in Class Award for the Business to Business category.

The Bluefin Solutions website has successfully passed the comprehensive judging process achieving very high marks. In fact we scored 486 out of 500 in their scoring system demonstrating an outstanding win. The website was judged against the following criteria: design, content, feature functionality, usability and standards compliance.

Bluefin award blog image

The Best in Class Award is the highest honour bestowed by the Interactive Media Awards and we beat all other 96 entries for this category.  It has a deserved place in our Awards cabinet!

Well done to the fantastic team here at Wickedweb. Special thanks to Neil Narain, Niki Duggan, Lawrence Wagerfield, James Saunders, Rob Hollander, Steve Coventry and Ian Jepp.

6 Jun 2011

Wickedweb are excited to work with one of the world’s first companies to launch a brand dedicated to iPod accessories. Gear4 are owned and managed by Disruptive Ltd, and are passionate about music and the capability of the iPod, iPad and iPhone. This presented an interesting project to Wickedweb as we needed to translate this passion into a brand led ecommerce website with an exceptional user experience.

Wickedweb had two key objectives to deliver against: firstly to showcase Gear4's product innovation and secondly to provide an additional channel to market alongside their offline focus.

In order to engage the user, Wickedweb's approach was to ensure first and foremost that the creative execution was brand led, and subsequently arresting enough to evoke desire to purchase.

 

gear4 main4

 

Creating awareness of Gear4's innovative technology was fundamental and Wickedweb mirrored this in the design and functionality of the site. The Product Showcase area is a testament to this, using Flash and Javascript (for non Flash enabled devices) for an engaging user interface. As a result, the user can interact with Gear4's products via the website. The UnityRemote product is a good example of how the website achieved this.

Our solution to Gear4 also involved implementing the award winning Wickedweb content management system and ecommerce platform across different localities. Our in-house platform was perfect for this task as it allows the CMS user to indicate different tax levels according to the location of purchase. It also integrates seamlessly with payment providers and fulfilment houses.

For more information and to view further visuals see the case study.

6 Jun 2011

Wickedweb decided not to exhibit this year, but a few of us attended the event this week to uncover what's unravelling in the digital world.

Our quest was to uncover more about Mobile, as this is certainly an area that we are continually asked about by clients. And we weren't disappointed, as Mobile was definitely the word on everyone's lips.

There was a plethora of cutting edge Mobile technology suppliers to talk to, and the seminar on Tuesday around sharpening up your mobile strategy to maximise ROI was well received by us Wickedwebber's. It certainly gave us lots of food for thought, which we will be ploughing back into our brainstorming sessions for clients.

If you'd like to hear more about how we can help with your Mobile strategies then give us a call - 0207 183 4999

Internet World blog
6 Jun 2011

Here's a shout out to our very own Billy Harvey. Not only does he rock as one of our developers, but he has the leading role in a short film 'Billy: Thoughts of a substitute'.

 

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The Premiere went well, and the film has been awarded an official screening at the Cannes Film Festival 2011! We have our name down for tickets....

You can see more on the producer's website or visit Billy's Facebook page for all the news. Go Billy!

6 Jun 2011

We love getting good news from our clients. Today we learn that the Well Seasoned website has been shortlisted for 'Best Blog in the Observer Ethical Awards 2011'.

As you can imagine they're really delighted and thank everyone at Wickedweb. We're delighted too, and wish them lots of luck. The awards ceremony is in early June - we will keep you posted!

More information on the award can be found here:

Or find out more about this Wickedweb case study.

6 Jun 2011

Wickedweb are excited to share the details of a website we have recently launched for Cosmetics à la Carte, a complex eCommerce solution delivered on the award-winning WickedwebCMS.

Cosmetics à la Carte are a premium, multinational brand and have enjoyed customers such as the late Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Diana to Blondie, Kylie, Kate Moss and Lady Gaga. Conceived in 1973, Cosmetics à la Carte pioneered the concept of 'made to measure' make up, and have been pushing the boundaries ever since for innovation. With the desire to overhaul their image and launch the brand online, Cosmetics à la Carte approached Wickedweb for an exceptionally stylised  e-commerce solution.

Our brief was quite simple - to create the most interactive and personalised experience possible for a cosmetic brand online, and to replicate the 'human' element usually experienced in the stores. Wickedweb were tasked with elevating the existing Cosmetics à la Carte brand, and rolling this out across the website.

In terms of reporting, it is early days.  However, Google Analytics already shows conversion to be anything between 2.9% and 5.9% which is well above average.

Goal conversions are strong at 6%, indicating that key junctures of the user journey are robust and intuitive.

The email campaign that followed the launch of the site is extremely encouraging, with click through rates at 30%. We look forward to building on this as we work further with Cosmetics à la Carte’s e-marketing strategy going forward.

View the full case study here

6 Jun 2011

Social media is a once in a lifetime, global phenomenon and we live and breathe it here at Wickedweb. We love delivering impactful social media solutions - our strategists are always looking at fresh angles to amplify the voice of our clients so they can engage further with their customers.


We're often asked for tips on how to kick start a social media strategy so I thought I would post this blog. For those of you who are new to social media and managing it in-house, I have come across a great article by the CIPR that summarises the do's and don’ts quite nicely. I hope you find this useful...


http://wallblog.co.uk/2011/04/12/pr-body-cipr-publishes-10-dos-and-donts-of-social-media/

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