Inside the industry and inside the agency
Earlier this year I graduated from the first ever MAA Future Leader’s Academy and wanted to share my experience as I highly recommend the course.
The Future Leaders Academy is an opportunity to benefit from executive coaching, to be mentored by a senior industry figure and to increase personal knowledge about leadership in an agency environment, to help further your career.
Over the course of the 6 month programme, there were monthly knowledge sessions delivered by leading industry experts, covering areas from agency vision and strategy, creativity, recruitment and retention of the best talent, new business and finance. The course tutors were inspirational and I loved being apply to present the learnings back to the board and put each module to practical use back at the office. In addition, the opportunity to network with peers was invaluable – despite working for competitor agencies, amongst the group there was a mutual respect and desire to help and learn together.
Executive coaching and mentoring gave me a chance to explore my career progression to date and consider my professional and personal development in depth. Having these sessions booked in gave real discipline to these thoughts, which are usually lost in the fast-paced agency lifestyle, and I feel a new self-belief and confidence in my role and my future, combing both work and family life.
The dinner debating sessions with industry speakers were interesting – they gave another perspective on schools of thought and again, the networking with the other candidates was enjoyable.
As part of the programme, there is recommended reading and I discovered the most influential book I have read, that could be related directly to Wickedweb at the time – Good to Great by Jim Collins – which has been a catalyst for recent strategic decisions at the agency.
The course was rounded off with an invitation to judge the MAA Best Awards and a fantastic social evening at the event.
The programme was hugely beneficial – the personal development through coaching, mentoring and networking with peers, as well as the inspirational sessions led by respected leaders in their own right, has given me new direction and confidence. It has also given me clear vision, both personally and professionally, for my career and future.
Thank you to Stuart Wells, Wickedweb’s MD, for the opportunity to continue developing in my role as Business Development Director. I am privileged to have experienced the Future Leader’s Academy and excited about applying all that we learnt over the coming months at Wickedweb.
Just a little snippet of life in the new business team at Wickedweb Towers, London...
We're starting Katie's weekend of birthday celebrations early in the Farringdon office today, showering her with celebration confetti and presenting a cake which has been well received by the whole team, still recovering from last night's RAR award ceremony!
Tom starts the preparations for Katie's office party!
Katie's reaction to the Birthday surprise!
Today, the new business team have moved to Wickedweb's London office in a permanent move that sees the agency continuing to establish its position as a central London agency. I am very excited to be joining the expanding team, currently based in Farringdon, and to have the opportunity to enjoy more of the creative scene in this buzzing hub in the city. It is a very positive move for Tom and I to be closer to the majority of our clients and to be joining an ever-growing team who are ambitious and dedicated, supporting the pipeline and helping us to secure significant client wins.
We were surprised this morning with confetti and balloons surrounding our new desks, chocolate gifts and a picnic lunch on the roof terrace, so we're feeling very at home already! We're looking forward to more of the team joining us as we continue to grow in London, and of course, welcoming our clients to see us in this exciting agency HQ. Thank you to the lovely team who have made the move seamless and for all the celebrations!
In honour of our 10 year anniversary, we had 50 cupcakes delivered, all in our brand colours and wrapped with black ribbon. We don't need an excuse to eat cake here at Wickedweb, and we couldn't let a 10-year celebration pass without marking the occasion with the most delicious lemon and chocolate cupcakes ever - made my Miles' mum!
Using every spare minute, in-between our exciting design projects progressing in the studio at the moment, our creative team have also been busy designing our celebration posters. Keep an eye on our website which should be featuring these numbers, and their meanings to us as an agency, later this month!
We are starting our 10 day long, 10-year celebration campaign by launching a series of 10-themed blogs. Today's featured blog contains a list of the top 10 game changers in the digital industry - these demonstrate how far technology has come over the last decade and are the significant changes we have seen alter the industry.
Top 10 Game Changers
1. Social Media
By creating digital conversations with their target audience, brands are able to empower and engage their most active advocates, responding to negative sentiment whilst building more valuable, collaborative interactions with wider audiences. By giving users the opportunity to share, comment and blog to their network, social media allows brands to create two-way conversations with audiences from all over the world.
2. Touchscreen Devices
Improvements in touchscreen devices have led to the technology being used across a whole range of different industries, from restaurants to airports, ATMs to mobile devices. Touchscreen devices are now replacing the more conventional control methods, such as keyboards and mouse, enhanced customer interaction and user experience.
3. Mobile Browsing
According to research carried out by Ofcom, 39% of adults in the UK currently own a smartphone. Mobile browsing is therefore more popular than ever with users able to browse the Internet almost anywhere. It has now become a necessity for companies to ensure their websites are mobile-compatible, taking advantage of mobile-specific features such as click-to-call and mapping functions. Users are able to engage with brands on the go - portability should now form a key part of every digital brief.
4. Broadband Speed
Broadband users in Britain are now achieving an average download speed of 9MB, an increase of 20% in just 12 months. With the marked improvements in speed, broadband users are now more reliant on the Internet, leading to an increase in the popularity of e-commerce sites and social networks.
5. Web Fonts
As web design has become more innovative and creative, developments in web fonts have been largely stunted. However, 2011 was the year that web fonts finally came of age – designers are now using a variety of typefaces and experimenting with new ways of displaying text. There are now almost 50,000 fonts available, compatible with almost all web browsers.
6. Web 2.0 / User Generated Content
Web 2.0 has led to the development of interactive, collaborative websites where users are able to create content within a virtual community. Deemed the ‘new version of the World Wide Web’, a recent survey by consultants McKinsey & Co. revealed that 70% of 1,500 executives interviewed believe their companies have gained measurable results from Web 2.0 technologies.
7. Increased Online Marketing Spend
With developments in mobile browsing and social media, it’s unsurprising that online marketing spend has increased rapidly over the last few years. A survey conducted by marketing intermediary FindGood found that 85% of 4,300 companies interviewed would be maintaining or increasing their marketing spend in 2012, with 41% predicting a heavy investment in digital marketing.
8. Website Content Targeting / Message Personalisation
Content targeting and message personalisation has become hugely beneficial for brands. Whilst content targeting streamlines the user journey, enabling users to achieve their goals faster, message personalisation can lead to maximised usability, improved user experience and increased conversion rates.
9. Content Management Systems
Content management systems, such as Sitecore and EPiServer, have become mandatory requirements in the web development industry. Established commercial content management systems, the most tried and tested content management systems across the world, are known for their high performance and fantastic opportunities for web page customisation.
10. SEO & Analytics
Over the last few years, changes in SEO have been considerable; it’s no longer adequate for brands to just repeat keywords more than their competitors to achieve high SEO ranking. As search engines such as Google and Bing make it harder to beat the system, websites need to be built for people, not for search engines; companies need to focus on areas such as link diversity, social media and well written, unique content to achieve impressive SEO rankings.
Wickedweb kick started the agency's 10 year celebrations with the launch of the first ever WickedFest on 10th and 11th August. With 18 of us booked in to go camping at Bedgebury, nestling in the Kent countryside and not far from Tunbridge Wells, it was already shaping up to be an event to remember. We pitched our tents in a race, (won by Ian, the boy scout amongst us!) and then welcomed the weekend with drinks and songs around the campfire.
Saturday morning started with rugby and rounders whilst the breakfast was cooking and then some of the group enjoyed cycling around Bedgebury Pinetum, on the adventurous red run. At 3pm we were all swinging through the trees on the Go Ape tree-top adventure course. With cargo nets, zip wires and obstacles to scale that were as high as the tree canopy, it was an exciting afternoon and afforded much laughter as various team members became unstuck - all of which is on video! We were even joined by some of the Wickedweb alumni for the day's activities and spent the evening enjoying fish and chips around the campfire. With the meteor shower at 1am, we star gazed in anticipation and Chris' natural musical talent made the evening as he serenaded us and played the guitar by fire light.
Sunday morning started early with another warm sunrise, heating the tents up and reminding us why camping and being outside is so special in the summer.
We are keen to make the WickedFest an annual event and are already talking about next year's tent competition and campsite locations - all recommendations welcome!
Wickedweb's management team enjoyed a night at The Brewery on Thursday 1st March, enjoying the MAA awards ceremony which celebrated the Best of British marketing. We have worked closely with the Marketing Agencies Association (MAA) to design and build this year's Best Awards website and as event sponsors, were excited to be invited and discuss digital with others in the industry.
To see the award winners visit the MAA Best Awards website.
We were intrigued yesterday when news of the Big Egg Hunt, sponsored by Faberge, filtered into the office, and over the next 40 days the team are going to try and locate all 200 eggs in London, enroute to meetings and pitches with our clients.
Launched on Shrove Tuesday, the campaign is picking up pace... The eggs have been created by leading artists, designers and architects and the prize for finding all hidden eggs across the city is the gorgeous Golden Jubilee Egg. QR codes on all the eggsclusive eggs enable hunters to track their finds and share their progress in the Big Egg Hunt with their friends on Facebook.
Cat and I found six eggs today, on our sunny (side up!) journey from Sloane Square to the far end of Kings Road and the competition is on with the project teams in the studio! Our soldiers are egg-go-go!
Wickedweb is delighted to announce that we have been appointed by Baker Tilly International - a leading global network of over 150 accountancy and business advisory firms, across 120 countries.
The brief is to transfer the management of the current website and extranet solutions into Wickedweb’s control and our focus will begin on this transition phase. The solutions will harness the potential of the existing Umbraco platform.
Once the transition is complete Wickedweb will work to remedy key issues with the current systems and then look to deliver added value to the member firms and customers through enhanced and new functionality.
Wickedweb’s Client Services Director for Baker Tilly International, Neil Narain, comments: “The key drivers behind this move are service levels, technical expertise and stability of technology which are current concerns for Baker Tilly International. As their digital partner, Wickedweb will utilise our award winning experience in the business to business sector to enhance these online solutions and further engage the target audiences. We look forward to creating a solution that is consistent across the brand and one that will elevate ROI for the business”.
Richard, Simon and I have spent the day with St Johns Ambulance in Caterham, updating our First Aid certification and completing the Emergency First Aid at Work course. As well as ticking the paperwork boxes for the agency, the day was enjoyed by us all as the course leader delivered an interesting and entertaining day, and the banter was fast and furious, as you can imagine from the photo!
The course was extremely informative with a mix of video, presentation and role play styles used to teach the First Aid basics. We're now fully equipped to treat minor injuries, manage shock, choking, burns and heart attacks, deal with unconscious patients and carry out CPR. We fully recommend St Johns Ambulance for the course and feel confident in our ability to cope and help, should we be faced with an accident at work.
Mosbuild is Russia's largest trade event, uniting the construction industry and Wickedweb has been working with ITE Exhibitions to deliver the new show website for 2012.
The challenge for next year's event is the new two-week format, but with a focus on usability, communication and strong creative, Wickedweb has achieved a solution that delivers this with clarity. Positioning Mosbuild as the premier event for construction and interiors specialists, the new website provides an engaging and useful business tool, rather than just the information portal of past websites.
Stuart Wells, Managing Director, comments "the digital visitor experience is just as important as a physical visit, and this year the Mosbuild website includes integration with multiple systems to facilitate tasks such as seminar booking - all housed within the new My MosBuild area. The result will be an intuitive solution which showcases why ITE Exhibitions is deserving of its coveted position in the industry”.
For more about this exciting website launch, visit the Mosbuild Website.
Wickedweb are delighted to announce a new relationship with the e-Commerce giant and leading home shopping brand Shop Direct. Shop Direct are behind some of the UK’s best known home shopping brands, including Littlewoods, Very and Woolworths.
Managing Director of Wickedweb Stuart Wells comments: “We are thrilled to be working with Shop Direct and their creative team on this global website initiative, and we hope it will be the start of a long and exciting partnership.”
More information coming soon.
Bedales announced last week that they have been shortlisted by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CiM) as a finalist in the Marketing Excellence Awards 2010.
Judged on their innovation, originality and creativity, Bedales is the only school in the country to have been selected by the judges, recognised for delivering marketing excellence and making an exemplary contribution to marketing in 2010.
The awards ceremony is being held in February 2011, when we will be wishing our client all the best and hoping that the already award-winning website puts Bedales in top position, along with the clear and strategic approach that Bedales Schools has adopted over recent years, strengthening relationships with student and parent communities.
We are delighted to have worked with the external relations team to develop the website alongside the school's offline marketing campaign, fully understanding the audience through research and delivering an online presence that doesn't fail to impress.
Wickedweb has been working with Bluefin Solutions, a global SAP consultancy, over the last four months to fully understand their audience, design and develop their new website and integrate with Alterian's new Content Management System, ACM-p.
Bluefin Solutions works with clients to improve their business performance, including the BBC, Barclays, Royal Mail and Shell, to name a few, and the website was tasked with reflecting the organisation's premium position, and service, to present a more credible online solution and powerful tool for growth.
Objectives included awareness building, lead generation and improved communication of the company's focus on delivering better outcomes for clients through a higher level of expertise, versus key competitors.
Our strategy included user research, with consultants and clients, to fully understand the website's audience. Conducting one-to-one interviews provided invaluable insights and shaped the user experience strategy. Personas focused the creative rationale and the concept, which considers the end user throughout, answers both business and target audience requirements.
The website is dynamic and engaging, with unique and compelling creative and photography taken with the Bluefin Solutions team, at their new Chiswick Park address, portrays the approachable personalities and people-focus at the heart of the consultancy.
Using a different design template for the careers section, the website caters for both clients, existing and prospective, and employees, as the very best candidates are encouraged to apply by the high level presentation and confident, professional approach.
Optimising the website from the ground, up, means that it is set to excel from an SEO perspective too.
We are closely monitoring the website's performance to ensure it delivers against key targets, and will work with Bluefin Solutions to continually enhance the website and grow ROI long-term.
One of our CMS partners, Alterian, a leading marketing platform provider, has launched a new Alterian Content Manager, known as ACM, and we are pleased to announce that Wickedweb has pioneered the integration of the system for global client, Bluefin Solutions.
The first website to launch on the platform since its introduction, Wickedweb is leading the way with Alterian Content Manager, Professional Edition (ACM-p). Developed in Microsoft environments in ASP.NET, our team of developers have been highly trained in the system and the site functionality reflects the platform's capabilities and our expertise, using new components such as blogs, tag clouds and customised subscriptions.
A key focus of the new suite of Alterian Content Manager products is to provide a world class solution for any budget and to suit all requirements. To find out more about ACM Corporate, Professional and Enterprise, visit the website.
Last Friday, Wickedweb joined the world's largest coffee morning in support of Macmillan. With the theme - bake or fake - we presented a table full of home baked cakes and shop bought goodies and collected donations throughout the day from the army of cake lovers. We raised just over £60 in total.
Simon's banana and walnut cake stormed the event, closely followed by David's rum and chocolate torte.
Evidence below to tempt you...
Anna and Nicole baked biscuits for elevenses...
The bake-off team... Simon, Nicole, Anna and David.
The brave duo - Wickedweb's Denis and Stuart - were up extra early on Saturday 25th September. They were participating in the Hever Castle Sprint Triatlon, covering 400m open water swim, 20km cycle and 4km run.
Setting off in the 9am wave, trying to spot their orange swim hats in the water was like a live Where's Wally. Quick out of the water, Stuart was the first of the two running uphill to the bike transition, and maintained his lead throughout the run with Denis only minutes behind.
Hever Castle and the grounds looked stunning in the early morning sun, but the wind chill was freezing so it was a relief for the chaps to cross the finishing line. Results are out, and well done to our two triathletes who completed the course in a very honourable time:
Stuart - 1:22:44
Denis - 1:37:08
I will be on the competing side next year, I promise...
To find out more about the Castle Triathlon Series, visit the website.
MediaPro 2010 is a free exhibition and seminar programme for marketers, brand mangers, agencies and the media and is all about delivering effective integrated communications across digital, social and print media. Opening on November 2nd in London's Olympia, the recently launched website is ever changing as seminar programmes and exhibitors are confirmed and keynote speakers are added. The countdown has begun...
A key event in the CloserStill Media portfolio, 2010 sees the relaunch of this exciting platform, bringing digital to the forefront for the first time, reflecting the importance of the online world in the marketing industry today. Wickedweb is proud to work with CloserStill Media to deliver the new website and drive awareness of the event for 'next generation' marketing solutions.
Combining the modular functionality on Wickedweb's CMS platform with content to intrigue and excite the user, the MediaPro website offers a very dynamic and informative experience, positioning the event as a leader in the industry. Click here to visit the MediaPro website and register for free tickets now.
The Glass-House Community Led Design is a national charity working with community groups across the UK to promote a wider understanding and practice of community led design. The organisation provides free project support and design training to community groups who are leading regeneration projects in their area. This includes projects focused on local housing, public spaces, community buildings, play areas, facilities for young people or entire neighbourhoods.
With a website that is underperforming and inconsistent brand communication online and off, Wickedweb's brief is to develop the brand identity, presenting new brand guidelines that demonstrate a clear understanding of the complex range of services the charity offers to communities across the UK and the varied audience that The Glass-House needs to engage. Refreshing and clarifying the brand to provide a set of guiding principles will ensure clear communications and successful marketing campaigns long-term.
Wickedweb's next focus is to develop the charity's digital strategy and reflect the new branding online to raise awareness and the profile of The Glass-House amongst key audiences, generate interest and new clients for The Glass-House’s paid services and encourage online donations through the Just Giving link. In addition, Wickedweb will deliver key benefits to the organisation's administrators, including an intuitive content management system (The Glass-House will be using the WickedwebCMS platform), enchanced data collection mechanisms to grow the subscriber database, exciting feature functionality and a superior hosting solution for maximum uptime and quick loading.
Check back soon for news on the website launch and more information about the WickedwebCMS modules that will deliver an impressive user experience.
We've joined the World's Biggest Coffee Morning on Friday 24th September to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
We're getting the kettle on for a cuppa, and donating money to Macmillan Cancer Support at the same time. We've pledged to bake cakes, bring biscuits and collect money for the charity whilst I, having promised to make the tea round (no, really...!), dunk 27 tea bags in an effort to serve everybody at the same time.
Find out more about the World's Biggest Coffee Morning, put a smile on your mug and help raise money to improve the lives of those affected by cancer.
Two months in to Wickedweb's cross-channel swimming challenge, I thought it was time to update you.
Denis is, quite literally, miles ahead and already on his return from Calais. He'll soon be passing the rest of us in the opposite direction, making our trip at a much slower pace, but making progress none-the-less. Impressively, its now become the norm to find us in speedos at 7:30, and at the desk, complete with eye google marks, just an hour later!
On holiday this week, Kalli is hoping to pick up the pace in a pool in Tenerife, and competition is heating up as we enter the last four weeks of the 22-mile event...
On 22nd July, The London Vet Show was presented with the prestigious award for the "Best Trade Show Launch" by the Association of Event Organisers (AEO). The award ceremony, and the industry's biggest annual gathering, was held at Wembley on Tuesday evening and the award was presented by Alastair Mcgowan.
The London Vet Show topped the shortlist of six nominees, including UK and international events, and it was praised for the innovative concept and the superb execution of the inaugural exhibition, held in October 2009. Wickedweb is delighted to have been a part of the event, working with CloserStill Media to develop the digital brand strategy and event website to impress both visitors and exhibitors and help deliver the impressive footfall in Olympia enjoyed by all at the launch show.
As the 2010 World Cup launched in South Africa, so our very appropriately themed football game for the Fairtrade Foundation went live.
Combining an addictive game mechanic to encourage play and increase the viral potential of the game, with an educational message to raise awareness of the benefits of buying Fairtrade South African wine for the workers in the wine growing regions, the ‘Use Your Head’ game works successfully on two levels.
With adverts scheduled to appear on Absolute Radio’s website in the coming weeks, and consumers’ heightening awareness of the inequality in South Africa (which can be attributed to the World Cup coverage), we expect the leaderboard to reflect the popularity of the game and are proud to be working alongside the Fairtrade Foundation at this vital time, leveraging the talkability of one of the world’s most awaited sporting events to raise awareness of unfair commerce in the region in the spotlight.
Turning the game design, flash development and database build around in just 1 week, to meet the client’s deadline, was no mean feat. So, let us challenge you to our own game – see how many headers you can score and support Fairtrade with us. Play ‘Use Your Head’ now.
May 1st marked the start of our exciting new sporting challenge. In a bid to get fit and tone up, a group of us have set out to swim the 22-mile cross-channel distance between Dover and Calais!
Fortunately however, no goose fat is required! We'll be swimming the distance in our local pool, covering a total of 1416 lengths each in just 12 weeks. Stuart, Kalli, Chris and I will be waving goodbye to our dignity as we don our speedos and goggles. We'll be supporting each other on the outside, but are really in competition to be the first to cross the line. Meanwhile, Denis will be attempting to show us all up, swimming to France and back in the same time!
You can keep track of our progress by checking our blog for updates, and watch out for our channel map showing the distance we've covered and who's taken the lead.
We are delighted to announce that our entry into the IMA competition, under the category 'Events', has today won the IMA Outstanding Achievement Award with an impressively high score.
The London Vet Show, part of the CloserStill Media event portfolio, was a new event launched in 2009 and we partnered with the organisers to deliver a creatively refreshing and functionally exciting website for both the visitors and exhibitors alike. In its inaugural year, exhibitor participation and visitor attendence exceeded expectations and 2010 stand sales are already well ahead of targets. The presentation of the IMA award positions the London Vet Show event as an industry leader in the digital sphere too and we look forward to building on this brand success by enhancing the online experience further later this year.
The Outstanding Achievement award is the second highest honor bestowed by IMA and an extremely challenging award to win. The London Vet Show website excelled in all areas of the judging criteria, including design, usability, content, functionality and cross browser compatibiity, and represents a very high standard of planning, execution and overall professionalism. Click here to view our IMA awards gallery and find out more about the awarding body.
Last month the Wickedweb team were delighted to be shortlisted in the pitch for the Medway Council website redevelopment project and, following a successful presentation, we are celebrating our recent appointment as the Council's digital agency of choice.
As an Alterian technical partner, it was fitting that we were brought into the project to deliver an Alterian-compatible web design and employing our usability expertise we will ensure that the creative isn't developed just for the platform, but for the wide range of target users as well. The potential website audience includes everybody the council serves, from residents of all ages, local employers and elected members to job seekers, public service partners and the media, requiring an all inclusive approach to design.
Our strategy is to convey the Council's core values and deliver an impressive website that works on a number of levels, from a creative treatment that engages all, to simple user journeys and quick access to content so that users find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently. The Council aims to not only enhance the user's online experience and interaction, but also improve the Council's performance in the next SOCITM report.
We are extremely proud to be partnering a Council in our own county and look forward to the next few months as usability testing and focus groups get well underway.
The Wickedweb team were excited and proud to be working with the London Vet Show in its launch year, designing the website and integrating it with the WickedwebCMS platform and suite of event specific modules.
Now, after the success of the inaugural event in November 2009 and along with the CloserStill Media team, we are thrilled to announce that the London Vet Show has been shortlisted for an award as the Launch Event of the Year by the Exhibition News Magazine.
The atmosphere at the show was buzzing, created by the packed lecture theatres and exhibition stands, making the event unmissable for the industry. This exciting new format for veterinary conferences is set to impress again in 2010, and is already booked to take place in a bigger venue based on the record delegate pre-registration figures and exhibitor floor sales, well in advance of the event.
For more information about the awards and to support the London Vet Show, visit the Exhibition News Website.
Focus groups should play a significant role in any project scoping and user-centered design process, helping agencies to fully understand a client's audience and their motivations, requirements and goals for the client's website before any digital work starts. We believe that only through combining the project brief with the client's business objectives, target audience insights and the agency's expertise - what we term 'strategic orienteering' - will the perfect solution be developed.
However, the value focus groups provide doesn't stop there. In addition to helping the agency live and breathe the brand or organisation, focus groups also encourage 'buy-in' from key client stakeholders and ensure that the audience feels involved and considered throughout, and therefore positive about the changes ahead.
Wickedweb has recently run a series of focus groups with Kings Hall prep school and Kings College in Taunton, Somerset, which provides a perfect example of the 'double value' that focus groups can deliver.
During the user research sessions, we met over 100 members of the target audience through 20 focus groups, ranging from catering and teaching staff at the schools, to Head Boys and Girls, students of all ages, parents associations and groundsmen.
From the agency's perspective, our understanding of the schools' ethos and strong sense of community became clear so the online representation of the schools will be able to closely reflect this. From the client's perspective, there is now buy-in from key stakeholders including the Head Masters, the marketing team and financial director, who are both confident in the value the project can deliver and Wickedweb's expertise as the schools' newly appointed digital agency. At the same time, the key audiences - teaching staff, support staff, parents and students - feel fully consulted and through participation, excited by the potential of the website to deliver the requirements they highlighted, and passionate about the next steps.
We know we're not unique in this service, but do wholeheartedly believe in the value of user research - the end result will be a website that considers design, usability and functionality from the audience's perspective, thus ensuring lower bounce rates, longer dwell times and higher levels of user engagement. In short, investment in understanding the audience at the outset will go lengths to achieving ROI in the long-term.
Wickedweb is delighted to be working with Kings Hall and Kings College, both based in Taunton, Somerset, to design and develop the new Kings websites.
The decision was based on Wickedweb's expertise in the education industry (having designed and developed the Bedales and Roedean websites) Wickedweb's intuitive content management system with school specific modules and the agency's approach to user centered design.
The brief is simply to better communicate the ethos at Kings Hall and Kings College, capturing the strong sense of community and "inclusivity" coupled with excellence in academia, sport and the arts. The website will be positioned as an internal communications tool to aid interaction between all the audiences at the schools, and a key sales and marketing tool to engage the external community.
The first step in the project is requirements capture meetings with the key stakeholders and user research focus groups to discuss the target audiences' needs and wants for the new websites. This will ensure that the strategy and end result is perfectly defined and that the website delivers return on investment.
On 7th January, some of the team headed into nearby Knole Park for a brisk lunchtime walk and snow fight.
The snow fall had transformed the already stunning National Trust estate into a winter wonderland and catching a glimpse of the deer in the snow was magic. Making the most of Sevenoaks' rural surroundings and Knole Park just 5 minutes walk from the office, Cat, Anna and Billy walked to the highest point to take in the views, created snow angels and indulged in snow fights and sledging... only minus the sledge!
With the new office providing easy access to London, quicker commutes for most and many high street shops on the doorstep, as well open countryside and perfect snow fight territory, the Wickedweb team is truely loving the new development office location.
The success of two recent exhibitions organized by CloserStill Media is hugely significant, given the current economic climate, and Wickedweb is proud to have been a part such record breaking achievements. The Pharmacy Show has just announced the highest attendance figures to the UK’s leading two-date training and education event, celebrating an increase of over 78% on last year. The Vet Show too, in its inaugural year, enjoyed packed lectures, delegate attendance in excess of all targets and stand sales for 2010 are already at 40% higher than this year’s event.
Wickedweb contributed to these fantastic results through digital marketing consultancy and web design and development. Taking the new brand guidelines for each event, we created websites that were fresh, vibrant and professional, and integrated them with the Wickedweb CMS platform and our event specific modules including exhibitor management, showguide entry form, seminar and conference timetable and book an appointment facility. The CMS provided intuitive administration control to the event organizers and even allowed a variety of users - the keynote speakers, clinic consultants and exhibitors – to manage their own pages too.
Wickedweb has recently completed a move to its new uber-stylish and glamorous office in picturesque Sevenoaks. Managing Director Stuart Wells comments, "The move to Sevenoaks is fantastic for our clients. We now want to really up the client relationships and become even more of an integrated marketing agency than ever before. With the additional space and more creative environment, clients are all set to see an improved difference in the way we operate and the value we bring to client accounts."
Located just off Sevenoaks High Street, Wickedweb is now within easy reach to the mainline station, and just 25 minutes away from London Bridge. The team is also enjoying the close proximity to the shops, making Christmas shopping much easier at lunch, and the restaurants, making our wallets lighter, and our waist bands tighter! Its easier than ever for us to travel to our clients, and we look forward to welcoming you to our shiny new pad soon.
St Katharine Docks is London’s best kept secret location right in the heart of the city. Situated next to Tower Bridge and the Tower of London on the river Thames, St Katharine Docks offers a premiere luxury yacht marina and upmarket shopping destination in one, benefitting from great transport links and a wealth of fantastic restaurants.
The new look website for St Katharine Docks now positions the marina as sophisticated and stylish. It is contemporary in design and powered by Wickedweb’s CMS system which, with the photo gallery and news modules, will ensure the website is always be up to date and intriguing. The web design brief, to showcase the location and facilities and to promote the fact that anybody has rights to film at this exciting and trendy Dock, has resulted in a website that is impressive from the first glance, setting St Katharines apart from competitors and encouraging new business investment in the area.
The development team has this month joined forces to raise money for The Prostate Cancer Charity by supporting Movember. Billy Harvey, Steve Coventry, Danny Sharkey, Mark Townsend, Robert King, and Art Director, Rob Hollander, are all sporting moustaches throughout November and are looking for sponsorship to help the 35,000 men who are diagnosed each year with prostrate cancer in the UK. The figures are astonishing so we wanted to do something to make a difference and help raise awareness.
The moustaches were all rather impressive, as you can see, but the ‘Best Wickedweb Moustache’ award went to Rob King, our Lead Developer, who sports a moustache daily and it was a relief for all when the amateurs shaved off their efforts!
BBC Television interviews Wickedweb – How can politicians use social media marketing to engage with their voters?by Anna Dixon , Business Development Director / Make a Comment
This week Wickedweb's online marketing manager was interviewed by the BBC's The Politics show. With lots of talk on the 2010 general election and how to win voters, The Politics Show was interested to talk with a leading digital marketing agency regarding social media.
Wickedweb manage a range of online marketing projects including social media engagement. With a strong focus on strategy, Wickedweb was able to advise on what works and what doesn’t on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
The show will be aired at 12.00 on Sunday 11th October 2009 on BBC 1. After the show has appeared on TV the show will be available via the BBC iPlayer.
If you are interested to find out what social media can do for you please contact Wickedweb today on 0207 183 4999 or use the contact form.
Last month we celebrated the launch of the Bag Happy website, which sells fashion and designer handbags for all occasions. The design positions the website as trendy and fashionable, matching the stylish products, and with a focus on traffic driving through PPC, it is our hope that the business will grow and new lines will be added in the run up to Christmas.
Wickedweb has secured some exciting new account wins this month, including Roedean School, Ella’s Kitchen and the Times Destinations Show.
Roedean School, a leading girls independent school based in Brighton, needed a new website to communicate their unique approach to education and the passion and quality of learning at the school. The project objectives are driving enrolment and school admissions.
Wickedweb has been appointed by Saatchi & Saatchi X to deliver the new web design and digital marketing strategy for organic baby food company, Ella's Kitchen. With a child-friendly, 'squeezy' design, the website is set to position Ella's Kitchen apart from competitors and the social media, email marketing and ongoing SEO activity should see traffic volumes soar.
For the third year running, Clarion Events has awarded Wickedweb The Times Destinations Show website. The 2010 event website will feature improved navigation for the users, and enhanced content control for administrators. With a design refresh the solution will provide additional longevity, driving the event forwards for future years.
The Wickedweb team triumphed on 1st August, completing the Mazda London Triathlon in impressive times (for amateurs!!) and raising over £800 for Concern Worldwide. The event was great fun and competition between the Wickedweb teams was tough, with Stuart's swim putting his team in front from the start and Ian, the quickest Wickedweb cyclist, closing the gap. It was all to play for in the run and we finished the day sporting medals, and smiles of relief!
This weekend we've been swinging from the trees at the Leeds Castle Go Ape' high wire forest adventure course! With hanging hoops, zip wires, tarzan nets, rope ladders, tunnels and bridges, we climbed and swung our way along the obstacles, literally taking our lives in our own hands. Our team working skills were polished as together, we all laughed at Billy, suspended in the air, one foot caught in a hoop, the other swinging aimlessly, trying to find his footing! Leaping off platforms, hanging only from harnesses, we enjoyed the sense of flying freedom but the risk was too much for some, as Lynda put it "I did swing from very high trees, believe me it was not a breeze!". We had so much fun and would highly recommend it.
Wickedweb has been awarded the Interactive Media Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Schools category for the Bedales Schools website. The Outstanding Achievement award is the second highest honor bestowed by IMA and an extremely challenging award to win. The Bedales Schools website excelled in all areas of the IMA judging criteria which included design, content, feature functionality, usability and standards compliance and cross-browser compatibility to win in June 2009.
The award recognizes Wickedweb’s expertise and in-house capabilities to balance a well-conceived design with a message that is targeted and on-brand, and present content in an engaging manner for users. It also demonstrates Wickedweb’s confidence in developing functional features that harmonise the user’s journey and strict compliance with best practice web development standards. Finally, as stated by the judges, the award represents a very high standard of planning, execution and overall professionalism.
To view our certificate, click here. And to launch the Bedales Schools website, click here.
Wickedweb was recently presented with the 2009 Internet Advertising Competition Award for Outstanding Achievement in Internet Advertising. The IAC recognized Wickedweb's digital marketing excellence by awarding the marketing agency with 'Best Retail Email Message Campaign' for Miss Sixty, which was always on brand and consistently delivered open rates 30% above the industry average. Judging criteria included creativity, innovation, impact, design, copywriting and use of the medium and Wickedweb is delighted and proud to win the award for excelling in all of these categories.
Two teams from Wickedweb have entered The London Triathlon 2009 to raise money for Concern Worldwide. With only one experienced triathlete among the teams, the event will be one to remember as Anna, Ian, Steve, James and Matthew battle their ways across the line displaying advanced skills in doggy-paddle, cycling with stabilizers and flat footed running! With 10 weeks to go and training schedules looking scratchy, we vow to get into shape quick-sharp and will keep you updated on our progress.
We have chosen to support Concern Worldwide after working with them to create an ecard for existing donators, highlighting the charity's work around the globe to eliminate extreme poverty. The charity helps those suffering in the poorest communities in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean through health and nutrition, education, livelihood support and emergency relief and Wickedweb is keen to help make a difference.
The triathlon will take place on 1st August at the ExCel Centre, London, so if you can make it, we'd love your support.
Wickedweb celebrated the new year in style, with a new account win! Beam Global Distribution, and Notorious (a Publicis company) awarded Wickedweb the contract to deliver the Teacher's 2009 digital strategy, after a competitive three-way pitch. The activity involves the development of a new website, a social media marketing campaign and online marketing, but we can't give away too much yet... enjoy a whisky on us, and watch this space... Click here to find out more.
Wickedweb digital marketing agency is pleased to announce that we are now registered as ISO 9001 certified, which is testament to our proven quality assurance processes. Certified by QMS (Quality Management Systems), our business management skills have now been recognised as meeting the highest of customer requirements. Our quality assurance processes focus on setting our customer's expectations throughout a project, and never failing to meet them. They include approval phases at every stage and the development of a highly detailed technical specification document. Feedback request forms are distributed at the end of each project as we now actively seek our customer's comments, from which we can learn and continually improve our service. Our ISO 9001 certification is valid for 10 years from today and this will ensure our high standards are maintained, benefitting all of our clients and emphasising our position as one of the leading digital agencies in the UK.
Concern Worldwide, an international organisation dedicated to reducing suffering and working towards the elimination of extreme poverty, has appointed Wickedweb to design and build a new suite of email marketing templates. The improved communications with donors will keep them up to date with monthly news, raise awareness of various appeals, and request urgent aid in the event of an humanitarian disaster.
In addition to the emails, Wickedweb have also been awarded the contract to create a flash ecard for the charity which will be sent to supporters to thank them for allowing Concern Worldwide to continue its work in 28 countries around the world. The flash ecard features an animated, spinning globe, which recipients can hover over, to find out more about Concern Worldwide's work in several territories. Also featured is a 'send to a friend' facility which encourages users to share news of Concern Worldwide's programmes, and will hopefully stimulate additional supporters and new donations.
The New Media Fundraising Executive at Concern Worldwide said "Out of the many agencies considered, Wickedweb had by far the most interesting portfolio, detailing a wide range of high quality projects across many different areas of online marketing. Wickedweb's refreshing enthusiasm to deliver creative within strict budgets and timeframes, as well as their strong communication throughout all aspects of production, results in the type of relationship most clients only dream of."
The exciting new Rank Hovis website has risen! Freshly baked, the new web design features a vibrant and unique design, presenting the content in a modern and attractive style and injecting life into the trade information for the audience of bakers.
As a trade website, it has sifted Rank Hovis apart from its competitors - the intriguing and colourful design is a break away from the traditional B2B websites that will help the flour miller build vital loyal and retained relationships with bakers. Incorporating an enhanced fault finder to help the bakers improve their recipes, an animated history, healthy baking suggestions and quick access to Rank Hovis' services, the new website has gone down a treat.
The member login provides bakers with even more benefits, such as quick online ordering of merchandise packs to use in their window and shelf displays and a recipe finder. Packaged in the Wickedweb CMS platform, the content is served straight from the oven, to the screen, with many additional enhancements planned over the next year.
Rank Hovis said of the new website, "we are really proud of the new site and all the hardwork that has gone into it, with already loads of positive comments it's great that the website is having such an impact. The feel and look of the website, including all the extra features is sure to sustain Rank Hovis as the UK's leading flour miller and help to build the business in the future. Working with Wickedweb was an absolute pleasure and from the outset gave us full confidence in delivery of a top notch website. We have been more than happy with every idea, recommendation and expertise they have provided and we endeavour to work closely with them in future to help build our website and communication tools further."
Wickedweb's first website launch of 2009 was the all new Mitre website. With a high profile in the sporting world, this marks one of Wickedweb's most famous developments to date, and what a way to start the new year!
The new website features a strong, modern web design, improving the Mitre brand communication online. The user journey is clear and we've delivered a complete technical solution, integrating our Wickedweb CMS platform and building an international extranet system for Mitre's global partners. We are also pleased to be working on Mitre's international search engine optimisation, helping to develop organic traffic too.
Wickedweb digital marketing agency celebrated the Christmas holidays in style, starting with a Grapevine tour of Vinopolis - London's wine tasting venue - before a festive and delicious meal in Covent Garden's Fire & Stone... we enjoyed the best Christmas pizza for miles around!
Fortunately for you, this photo, featuring just a few of your favourite Wickedwebbers (the others were, predictably, getting the next round in!), is pre-wine... we can now share, first hand, a secret... wine tasting before food doesn't work! The other photos are staying under wraps... No bribes will be accepted. We hope you all had great a Christmas and look forward to seeing you in 2009!
Digital marketing agency, Wickedweb were briefed by the Jamie Oliver online marketing team to design a Christmas microsite, with the aim of promoting the famous chef's Christmas Day show on C4 and advertising Jamie's new range of Jme hand-crafted & bespoke homeware and food products as the perfect Christmas gifts. Jamie's team already knew what content they wanted to feature on the site, and they chose Wickedweb because they trusted the web agency would deliver the desired look and feel in a short turnaround time.
The microsite features a video of Jamie making a Christmas cocktail and wishing fans a Happy Christmas, as well as the TV trailer and an advent calendar with a surprise behind each door. As each day in December arrives, another door is unlocked, revealing hints and tips from Jamie, Christmas recipes, featured Jme products and photos and videos of Jamie Oliver, as well as links to the recently launched Foodwise.
In addition, users are encouraged to submit their personal festive stories of Christmas past, present and future. Visitors can vote for the best story, and the author of the winning entry will receive a Jme hamper. This user generated section of the website has already proved popular, and initial traffic to the site is impressive, with over 27,000 unique visits within the first week.
Following a competitive 8-way pitch, Wickedweb has recently been appointed as the preferred digital marketing agency to Bedales Schools, the independent school based in Hampshire. The digital agency has already started to develop an innovative and engaging digital solution that will position the Schools in a league of their own, undertaking user research focus groups and conducting telephone interviews to capture the target audience requirements and preferences.
There are three Bedales Schools - Dunannie, Dunhurst and Bedales - catering for ages 3 to 18. Founded in 1893 as a liberal alternative to the rigid and authoritarian regimes prevalent in independent schools, Bedales has just introduced a new Prospectus which captures the schools' unique selling points - the dynamic and creative culture, the caring personality and the broad and imaginative approach to learning. It also conveys the breadth and quality of the schools' offering, including the unique mix of 21st century teaching methods and traditional hand-craftsmanship skills including bread baking and outdoor work, with enthusiasm.
The key objective of the web design brief is to capture this same sense of energy, diversity, spirit and quality online, as well as introducing an improved user journey and enhancing functionality for the target audiences, which is why Wickedweb's user centred web design process offered the perfect fit. Following the focus group research and persona creation, which has involved students, parents, governors, staff, and alumni, Wickedweb is working on the user experience strategy, information architecture and web design.
Bedales Schools will be running on the Wickedweb content management system, which provides the web editors and contributors at the school freedom to update and manage their own website and both internal and external communications. Following the initial launch, which will see the introduction of a dynamic events calendar, a 'My Bedales' login area for the parents to view their child’s timetable and progress reports online, the 12-month development plan includes webcams, multimedia content, a staff directory and a virtual school tour, creating a fully interactive solution.
With plenty of time spent in the classroom, soaking up the informal and innovative atmosphere at Bedales, the Wickedweb team are enjoying being back at school... we're off to the canteen!
Duostream Technology, an IT service and support company focusing on the small to medium sector of the market, approached Wickedweb following a recommendation to the web agency, made by existing client, Polarmatrix.
The brief is to revisit Duostream’s online offering, providing web design consultancy for an improved website, as well as the delivery of a fully supported technical solution. The business objectives are to raise awareness of the Duostream brand and the company’s services, as well as drive enquiries and sales. The website is to act as an online brochure, selling the company in a credible and professional way through design and the user’s experience, and search engine optimization is key to ensuring prospective customers find the new website. Wickedweb’s range of digital services ensured the web agency’s response to the proposal was spot-on and the team are excited to be involved with another modern and stylish web design.
Visit the new Duostream Technology website
Wickedweb are getting festive early this year, and are already wearing Santa hats! Ok, we're not quite yet, but we have added them to the Rainforest Foundations UK's virtual rainforest application - check out the festive elephant, parrot and swinging monkey! Buy a virtual acre as a Christmas gift for someone special, and you can personalize it with a Crimbo message, adding the funky festive characters... have you ever seen a tiger looking so good in a Santa hat before?
Wickedweb were recommended to the Rainforest Foundation UK and will be developing the Virtual Rainforest with the aim of increasing user interaction with the web application, and driving online donations. There are a number of additional features that will be added over the coming months, and new functionality that focuses on usability and social media networking too... watch this space...
On Sunday 12th October, eight figures emerging through the fog became seven Wickedwebers stumbling to the start line of the Leeds Castle 10k run to raise money for Cancer Research UK. Through the cold, dense mist and around the challenging up-hill, down-hill course, the team fought on, some through hangovers, (Matt!), and completed 70k between them, hurting never-before used muscles and getting blisters, but all in aid of a good cause.
Stuart was first across the line for Wickedweb, with Steve hot on his heels, and Matt not close behind. Team spirit was high at the finish line as Stu, Matt, Steve, Shane, Gwen, Cat and Lynda posed with medals while team-paparazzi Anna snapped away and supplied home-baked chocolate biscuits by way of an apology for not running! Despite the early start, everyone had great fun and we're proud we took part, so we're vowing to be back again next year!
Wickedweb are celebrating being awarded the Mitre digital marketing account following a competitive three-way pitch. Mitre, part of the Pentland Group, were looking to appoint a new digital creative agency to develop the brand's online marketing strategy on an international level, and selected Wickedweb for the job because of the agency's approach to projects, strong creative credentials and detailed pitch presentation.
Work has already begun on scoping the strategy, understanding the business objectives and user requirements, and the next steps are wireframe development and creative designs. Both teams are enjoying working together and can't wait to pop a bottle of fizz or two following the launch of the UK website in December, just in time for Christmas!
On September 13th Anna tied the knot with fiance Matt. Anna and Matt met in their first year at Surrey University and after two and half years planning (and non-stop wedding talk!), it really was the wedding of 2008, despite the groom walking down the aisle on crutches.
Anna's Dad, a retired Traffic Sergeant, had arranged a surprise police escort for their journey in the stunning Jaguar Mark One wedding car. A bit of good luck was well deserved following Matt's cycling accident in June, honeymoon cancellation and two missing bridesmaid dresses, and the sun delivered it! Married at Ghyll Manor in Rusper, the ceremony was beautiful and personal, and the 80 guests were treated to Pimms on the terrace while the newly-weds were whisked around the grounds for photos.
An afternoon tea reception set the scene for the speeches, before an intimate wedding breakfast for the wedding party. Anna said "my wedding day was perfect. I found my dream dress and felt like a princess in my veil and tiara. I couldn't wait to see Matt waiting for me at the end of the aisle. We had great fun and loved having all the people we cherish share in our special day". Those of us thinking Anna would stop talking wedding cakes, cars, dresses and flowers have been proved very wrong, but we love her for it!
Kicking off our newly formed collaboration with Rank Hovis, the Wickedweb team was treated to a day's baking at the company's head office.
Going back to school were Anna, senior account manager, and Rob, senior designer, who competed in a personal (and highly competitive) bake-off to create Hovis Wheatgerm loaves and bread rolls.
Working under the watchful eye of the master baker, the pair managed to rise to the occasion, proving that good fun and education can be a real recipe for success.
As if recently acquiring a new member of the family wasn't stressful enough, Wickedweb's MD Stuart finished months of strenuous training to queue up on the start line of the London Triathlon in early August.
While most of Britain amused themselves with armchair athletics, watching the world's finest battle it out in Beijing, Stuart was storming through London in water, on foot and by pedal power.
Just two hours and 55 minutes later, he crossed the finish line to raise more than £600 for the Teenage Cancer Trust, and having put a 1.5k swim, a 10k run and a 40k bike ride behind him.
But as Stuart would doubtless testify, it was nothing compared to the rigours of looking after a new-born baby...
After working long and hard on the NSPCC's Big Bike Ride website, it was time for the greatest challenge yet - actually taking part.
In late July, the Wickedweb team wheeled their bikes to the start line of the Horsham event in Sussex.
The ride got off to a troubled start when one member of Team Wickedweb was stopped and requested to produce proof-of-age ID, despite wearing a really quite striking 'bride to be' sash and accompanying veil.
Said member was later seen clinging to the back of another colleague's bike in an attempt to roll over the finish line in tandem, but was keen to point out that it's the taking part, not the winning, that counts.
Proving that we're well and truly on a roll, Wickedweb has been appointed by the Premier Food Group to launch a new website for Rank Hovis, the UK's leading flour miller.
We'll also be using our loaf to put together a flash animation of the workings of mill, and a recipe archive and fault-finder to help bakers in need of both inspiration and help.
We'll re-work the site's infrastructure, mix in our own bespoke CMS platform and then we'll serve it up in late September. It should be the best thing since...
With a reputation for absolute clarity, there was only one creative digital agency the world's largest vehicle glass repair and replacement company could come to.
Belron, parent company to Autoglass, approached us to help improve its current online ordering platform through web application development, and to offer an enhanced user experience when navigating through the purchase process.
But we don't want to give away too much yet - find out how we helped here.
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