This weeks NMA included an editorial by Justin Pearse about how UK Digital Agencies tend to be “domestic and tactically focused”. This, suggests Ian James, head of digital for Barcadi.com, is raising the concern that “clients’ needs are outrunning their agencies capabilities”. Perhaps this is true of digital design and build agencies but it is certainly not true of digital customer experience agencies. Our engagements have covered areas from global customer research to international websites, prototypes, mobile technology and even the tablet PC.
Foviance carried out it’s first international project back in 2001 working with grocery retailer Otto through their partner major FMCG brand owner Proctor and Gamble. Since then we have worked with a variety of major brands including Microsoft, Sony, Nokia, and Dell, and some less well known ones (such as Victor Chandler) on international consultancy engagements from Madrid to Macau.
In many cases, due to both time constraints and local market expertise, major brands are using local agencies for design and build; and so we work closely with these companies to help them to ensure they have the hard facts needed to create a consistent brand experience across multiple markets. We are frequently the only constant in a global project beyond the brand employees and link with our own ‘Foviance alliance partners’ to bring in these large, international engagements. Foviance is not alone in being a customer experience agency that works internationally; many of our competitors also do – either through formal partnerships or relationships built on practical experience.
There are fundamental differences with the way users interact between countries and continents, with variations caused by cultural, social, economic as well as obvious language differences (such as there being no word for “Lucky Dip” in Asia). While it maybe ideal for clients to have a single international digital agency, without the support of traditional advertising or media networks there is no way that UK agencies can develop this expertise without a process of trial and error. International growth is dependent on expertise and experience – and is yet another reason why independent, expert research and consultancy partners will have a major role to play in the continued growth and expansion of the UK’s digital industry.