Our Digital Agency Showcase looks at the exciting projects completed by some of the Northwest's brightest talents. We have now interviewed a number of digital agencies across the northwest, to bring you examples of innovative work, and champion our region as an inspiring place to work and live.
This week we are showcasing the great work of award-winning digital agency, Fluid Creativity. The agency is based in Manchester and provides complete online solutions for businesses of all sizes across the UK. The agency's services combine bespoke web design, search engine optimisation and eCommerce design.
Lee Turner is Fluid Creativity's owner and managing director, he started the business back in September 2001, and since then, the business has grown from strength to strength. He hopes to further develop services, continue strategic growth and continue to provide a great environment for his team.
1.Hello, and thank you for letting us interview you for our digital agency showcase. What is your main job role and responsibility within Fluid Creativity?
As managing director of Fluid Creativity, I'm responsible for overseeing every aspect of the business, from web development to online marketing. This includes ensuring that projects are completed on time to a high standard, implementing procedures, assisting with winning new business and overseeing the growth of the business into a leading digital marketing agency.
2. Please could you pick a case study from the last year, and explain why you have chosen it to represent Fluid Creativity's work?
American Soda is one of the largest retailers of American food and drink in Europe. We'd actually worked with them for many years prior to 2013, helping them grow their business substantially. 2012, however, saw us develop a brand new website, a mobile app, brand new creative design and a new online marketing campaign to help take them to the next level.
I've chosen the American Soda project as our case study as it's representative of our overall strengths as a digital agency. It's also testament to the results that can be achieved when a client chooses to use the full spectrum of a digital agency's services instead of spreading their digital effort amongst a few.
3. What brief were you initially supplied with, and what objectives did the Fluid Creativity team devise when briefed?
American Soda wanted to overhaul its old website, which was out-dated and had started to become unreliable.
The American food and drinks brand wanted a website that provided easy management of stock, a strong user experience and reliability.
In addition to this, our creative team was tasked with rejuvenating American Soda's current creative imagery to give the brand a fresh new lease of life.
We were also asked to increase traffic, conversions and brand awareness through SEO and social media. American Soda was also keen to expand into mobile eCommerce.
From this brief, we devised the following objectives:
- Build a cost-effective brand-new website that was easier to use for both customers and American Soda.
- Define and build a suitable mobile solution for the company.
- Develop a strong brand identity for American Soda, built off its existing creative imagery.
- Utilise a new content strategy to bring in more engagement across social media and attract links to the American Soda site.
4. What campaign strategy did Fluid Creativity devise to answer the brief and objectives that were set?
Based on previous experience, we chose to develop American Soda's new website on Magento, an eCommerce platform; not only does Magento produce some powerful ecommerce websites, but it can be integrated with a wealth of features that we felt would make American Soda more efficient as a business.
After conducting research into the mobile habits of American Soda's customer base, we determined that developing a mobile app would be the most effective solution for the company.
On the creative side, we felt that American Soda's brand identity could be well expressed on the website. However, we decided that our creative team could also help out with the digital marketing aspect of the brief and so decided to create a brand character.
This brand character formed the basis of our new content strategy; as chief blogger for the website, this fictional character would provide American Soda with a 'face' that customers could interact with on social media as well as enabling us to create more engaging content across a broader range of subjects.
How did you implement the campaign strategy?
The base features of Magento meant that we already had the basis for a quick and simple way to manage websites. However, given that American Soda has an offline presence as well, we felt it was important to integrate this into the website to make the business as a whole more efficient. This back-office integration means American Soda could monitor and manage stock from one location.
On the customer side of things, we developed an intuitive site architecture that sorted American Soda's extensive product range into categories, enabling products to be found easier. We supplemented this with a live search feature. The site is also integrated with a series of major payment gateways.
We further improved the performance of the site via caching and by adding more RAM. This improved load speeds and overall user experience.
A more unusual element of the campaign was the development of a German version of the site, owing to the brand's popularity in Germany. This had the same functionality as the English version of the site, and was fully integrated with it too.
The mobile app was made available on iOS, which we found was the most popular mobile platform among American Soda customers. The app offered the same functionality and product range as the full website but in a mobile-friendly manner.
For creative, we chose to build on the existing brand identity and integrate it more strongly into the site; this included the colour scheme of the site and a brand new banner. Our creative team also came up with the design of American Soda's new brand character, Alan Stone.
Alan Stone was at the crux of our online marketing campaign. The team devised Alan as a 22-year-old expat with an addiction to pop culture and American candy. This gave the team free reign to discuss a wider range of topics that mattered to American Soda's young audience; life in America, American TV, movies and so on. These topics also lent themselves more naturally to being linked to and shared. All the content we produced was promoted across social media. Social media was also used to foster a community around the brand, with followers encouraged to send in photos of their 'hauls' and to engage with various discussions around candy, pop culture and so on.
6. Could you tell us what results were derived from the campaign strategy, and any positive feedback that you received from the campaign?
The campaign was a massive success, with many commenting on the fantastic performance and look of the new website.
Since January 2013, there have been over 500,000 new visits to the site, a 20% increase. This was coupled with a 21% increase in returning visitors, top rankings in Google for over 20 keywords, and a growth in social media engagement taking the brand to 23,000 fans on Facebook and over 5,000 followers on Twitter.
Our online marketing campaign was also nominated for a Prolific North Marketing Award in 2013.
7.Could you give a top tip to any perspective digital marketing candidates who would like to work in an agency like Fluid Creativity?
My advice to anyone seeking a digital marketing job would be to learn a diverse range of skills. Since Google's Panda and Penguin updates, digital marketing professionals are now expected to be able to write great content, manage social media profiles, perform blogger outreach, link build, manage online reputation and even do a bit of PR work.
While it's not essential to be an expert in all of those skills, be able to perform two or three to a high standard will make you a much more appealing candidate.
Good commercial and business sense is also extremely beneficial. After all, most of the work we do involves making money for our clients!
The Candidate's review:
Here at The Candidate we would like to thank Fluid Creativity for kindly taking part in our Digital Agency Showcase.
We think this case study is a testament of the hard work and creativity that the agency shows towards its work. We would like to wish them all the best for the future, and congratulate them on their great work with American Soda.