Shift in direction for digital business as the industry moves away from brand communications to customer experience

Manchester’s Code Computerlove, a forerunner of the region’s burgeoning digital marketing industry, has unveiled how and why it’s taking a new direction. The 17 year old agency announced that because of the significant change in the way businesses need to apply digital techniques and technologies within their organisations, it has reinvented its service and ‘agency’ offer.
 
It believes the industry needs a ‘shake up’ to adapt to the shift away from brand communications to customer experience. More fundamentally, Code is changing its methodologies, capability and levels collaboration and co-creation with clients to capitalise on this movement.
 
Code’s Founder and CEO, Tony Foggett said: “For a while now the marketing sector has been shifting its focus from brand building communications to customer experience, but fundamental models for marketing procurement have hardly changed.

“I believe the client / agency model is broken; we need new ways of working together that not only recognise the difference between comms and experience but also the evolution in client capability and breakdown of traditional silos such as marketing, customer experience and IT within our clients businesses.

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“So we’ve thrown out the rule book and created a new operating model for how we work. Based on the understanding that ‘experience’ is less reliant on the ‘big bang’ campaign and more about continual iteration, testing and feedback loops.
 
“We focus on creating a different level of collaboration and alignment in decision making and co creation with our clients than the traditional way of doing things has afforded. Using lean delivery methodologies underpinned by a different commercial model we are able to form a much more flexible and aligned partnership around our clients’ objectives.
 

“We believe it’s time for the industry to think differently about the client / agency relationship.”

 
The change in direction is being reflected with a new brand identity and proposition, an innovative website and coincides with a move to a stunning new 13,000 sq ft studio space (which it moved into in January this year) designed in conjunction with Spacemen Creative, which specialises in commercial interior design, and Form (furniture).
 
Now with 80 full time staff and ongoing recruitment as it continues to grow at pace, Code Computerlove works with SMEs through to big brand names including Asda, Centre Parcs, HMV, Hillarys, Oxfam, First Group, Brother, Chester Zoo and Amnesty International to evolve their digital capabilities, products and services.
 
Code is dropping its “digital agency” tag to re-label itself as a digital studio. It has adopted a product startup mindset with modern engineering principles, fast design prototyping and iterative, frequent releases. This approach is showcased in its own website that states:
“You’re looking at the first page of the new Code Computerlove website. Next week we’ll add more. And the week after even more and the week after that even more. Because that’s how we work, constantly changing and updating based on what we learn – what we learn from you – our clients, future clients, friends and future Computerlovers.”
 
Foggett continued:
“Our new studio environment is totally geared up to deliver our vision and proposition, methodologies and ways of working with clients.
 

“We’ve created a space that fosters a culture of empowerment and improvement. And this doesn’t stop at our employees. We help our customers to embed the technologies, capability and culture they need to evolve and stay ahead. We form a partnership around a shared ambition to Make Better Together. Our working environment engenders these new types of relationships and approach.”

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Key features of the new studio include team spaces for efficient working, an event area for continual learning, state of the art UX testing labs because great customer insight lies at the heart of our offer and a maker’s space for fun and invention. 
 
Tony added: “Manchester has been Code Computerlove’s home of choice for almost 17 years and we were one of the City’s first major digital agencies. There is huge opportunity for growth and our new home will undoubtedly enable us to evolve as a business.” 
 
Code Computerlove’s turnover was £5,850m in 2015 – which was a year of significant internal investment and restructure. It is extremely optimistic for noteworthy growth this year. Managing director, Louis Georgiou added: “As an agency we’ve never stood still and always led the field – from the early days when we were the forerunners in digital producing multi-media CD-ROMs as well as building the first ever websites for clients such as Dr Martens, HMV and Huggies.
 
But the digital world isn’t just about ‘build’ anymore, it demands a new way of working and, taking a lead from some of the huge dot com retailers who are already adopting lean principles, we’re leading the field in the agency world.”
 
Louis added:

“This is a new era of Computerlove. We’ve already had an incredible start to the year, with three significant new business wins and adding around £1m worth of new business to the agency’s client list.

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“While recruitment continues to be a challenge, especially when it comes to software engineers, we’ve added a number of new senior members to the team who are already well versed in lean principles and evolution through real insight which is helping us fast track the change within the studio. It’s set to be an exceptional year for Code.”
 
Key features of Sevendale House, the home of Code Computerlove

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UX Testing Lab (primarily for UX testing. The facility will be available to other businesses to hire and use)
Maker’s Space – an area created in collaboration with FabLab that features a 3-D printer, vinyl cutter and Lego set – to name just a few items – all designed to encourage Computerlovers to learn new non-work related skills and have fun 
Event Space – a 100-person capacity learning/presentation area for seminars, meet ups and industry events (the area has its own café and catering facilities)
War Room – for planning and strategy, pitch development and general debate 
Team Zones – featuring work areas with large screens to keep track of flow and display real-time metrics delivering feedback on the constant optimisation we’re making to client’s digital capabilities; breakout desks (for client and internal meetings), and campfires with low level comfortable seating to give teams time away from desks to reflect, read and think and visualisation spaces for projects. Each of the team spaces give Computerlovers the space and tools to work effectively and efficiently, including white boards and walls for our famous use of post-it notes!
Aptly named North and South board rooms where ‘the North’ is more prestigious than ‘the South’
Snug – A more informal area for weekly snug sessions to discuss any ideas and concerns
Games and media area – kitted out with retro electronics and a table football through to a Playstation, for after hours entertainment and lunchtime downtime
A Peace and a Quiet room
 

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