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When it comes to a website, where does the brain reside? Designer or the developer?

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People are visual by nature, we are influenced by colours and layout, and are captivated by moving imagery. Yet, people are also drawn towards simplicity and familiarity – when it comes to websites, we don't like working hard. Within seconds of landing on a website, a person will form an impression of not only the site itself, but also the branding and company that it represents. It falls to the designer and developer to captivate users and hold their attention. As websites are in increasingly high competition with each other, creating more and more roles within the digital industry – who has the most power: the designer or the developer?

Putting this question to our in-house web developers (WDV) and web designers (WD), it quickly became clear that there is no conclusive answer. Instead, the question helped to separate the two roles.

How would you describe the influence of design/development?

WDV: ''Code is at the root of all functionality, it is far superior to the speed of processing that can be achieved manually and is an endless source of information and knowledge – it can automate manual tasks that would equal days or weeks for a person.''
WD: ''If a website is designed well and works well, the evidence will be clear in web traffic and engagement – ensuring the user enjoys using the site is always of paramount importance.''

Where does creativity feature?
WDV: ''Coding is an ongoing process of problem-solving. Creativity comes in finding the most efficient or user-friendly way to do something that is easy and intuitive for the user.''
WD: ''Creativity features through the use of effective imagery, placement of graphics and relevant calls to action. A design is a collaborative piece in which the overall aesthetic draws a user in.''

What strikes you first on a website?

WDV: ''Its capability. I am always interested in functionality and how websites best streamline my online search – such as built-in soundclips, wishlists.''
WD: ''The design and interactive elements. Users don't absorb digital information in the same way as print media. The positioning of key elements of the website (navigation, logos, graphics), always strikes me first.The most impressive site I have seen is The Bear Grylls site, as it’s like a cinematic experience, with moving elements that draw you in. The work of David Carson is also consistently impressive, he’s a trendsetter for design and everything he does is out of the box.''

What has more influence on a user: design or development?
WDV: '' Design has to be done so the user intuitively understands what to do. Development has to have functionality that synergises with this – so that when a user clicks something, it does what they expect it to do.''
WD:''Design is what the user will naturally be drawn to. It helps solidify users buying into style and brand which creates brand loyalty. But without the support of a strong interface, even the best design cannot deliver a good user experience.''

Is there a natural affinity for design/development?
WDV: ''Development is problem-solving and when you solve a problem it's very rewarding. As long as you're interested in coding and dedicated, you can learn. The number of new things to learn grows exponentially. It's difficult not to start trying to learn every new thing you hear about – but it's best to get a solid understanding of the things you will actually use.''
WD: ''It was the challenge of keeping up-to-date with new trends that drew me to graphic design and continues to fascinate me. Web design is an ongoing learning curve as new ways of doing things come into play.''

How much cross-over is there between design and development?
WDV: ''Design harmony, visual hierarchy, the balance of design elements and functionality play a heavy hand in the production of a quality digital product.''
WD: ''They work hand-in-hand, great design comes from having the knowledge of what can be done in development. One can’t function properly without the other.''

The digital industry is one of the fastest growing, and progressive, sectors in the developed world. As the boundaries of creativity are constantly pushed thanks to developing technology, designers and developers adapt their creativity to consistently raise the bar on what is possible – including now taking steps towards sustainable web development.

So, who is responsible for changing the digital world?

The power lies with you, the user.

Creatures of habit, the biggest challenge is trying to change user behaviour. Web designers and web developers are artists, providing all the functionality we need and in just the right places, to make sure that you don't even have to think. Well-crafted websites make navigating them so easy that it is second-nature, the experience is so straightforward and intuitive that users keep returning, successfully increasing revenue with a seamless design that is well-executed by development.

Alice Learey, digital marketing executive, Hydra Creative

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Brand Positioning

WPP rebrands to reflect Read reinvention

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Holding company WPP has issued an all-encompassing rebrand to reflect the restructuring of the business which boasts more than 140,000 staff globally.

The rebrand was handled by Jim Prior, who leads the branding agency Superunion which was formed following a merger of five of WPP's top agencies this year, and Landor chief Jane Geraghty.

The new augmented look is designed to play in varying environments and colour palettes to show how the agency network can adapt to clients and industry challenges.

Prior said: “Our ambition was to present WPP with the same energy and creativity that we offer to our clients right across the company. There’s a lot of pride and ambition in WPP that is now united under a strong and dynamic brand identity.”

Geraghty added: “WPP has always been transformative – bringing together the best people and ideas to meet the needs of our clients. We now have an evolved brand and expression of purpose that better reflects who we are as a company, our collective capabilities, and what we offer.”

Accompanying the creative is a new website that looks to showcase the group’s digital expertise and offer up a hint of what it can provide for clients. It is describing itself as a "creative transformation" company.

On Tuesday 11 December, the company outlined its new strategy day at an investors event in London.

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Putting a price on reputation

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Consumers are willing to pay more for products that not only have the features they want but also are delivered by businesses with a good reputation, new research has found.

The study, by researchers at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), puts a price on reputation and explores the trade-off between a good reputation and extra product features.

It reveals that a company evaluated by consumers as better than its competitors in terms of corporate reputation commands around a 9% premium for its products, and an even higher premium when there are desirable extra features.

“The impact of corporate reputation on consumer choices is substantial compared to the competitive advantage offered by varying product features,” says study co-author, Associate Professor of Marketing Paul Burke, from UTS Business School.

“Marketing managers need to be concerned about corporate reputation not only because it builds loyalty and trust but also because product features appear more valuable, so consumers are willing to pay more,” he says.

The research, with co-authors Professor Grahame Dowling and Dr Edward Wei, published in the Journal of Marketing Management, focused on consumers in the market for televisions. The televisions were made by Sony, Panasonic or Toshiba.

Corporate reputation encompasses a range of dimensions including how people feel about the company, the quality and innovativeness of its products, its workplace environment and workforce, its vision and leadership, financial performance and social and environmental responsibility.

Conversely, brand damage occurs when companies become embroiled in scandals and crises such as financial corruption, leadership failure or environmental destruction.

In the study, participants were first asked to give an evaluation of the corporate reputation of each of the TV makers.

Separately, the were asked to choose between televisions based on fairly standard features such as warranty, price or size, and in addition by novel features such as backlight control or dynamic range control.

The research showed consumers were willing to pay extra for a product with important features and a good brand reputation, but less willing to pay a premium for products with novel features regardless of reputation.

For example, in the case of screen size, consumers were willing to pay $121 more for a television that was 55” over one that was 50”. This amount increased by a further 22% to $147 for a company that was one standard deviation higher on the corporate reputation measure.

“Corporate reputation is not something that can be readily controlled by marketing managers, but it is definitely something that should command their attention,” says Associate Professor Burke.

“Companies need to work hard to communicate that they are environmentally and socially responsible, support good causes, have a positive work environment, and excellent leadership and financial performance, and do their best to mitigate brand damage,” he says.

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Brand Positioning

State Street mulls siblings for Fearless Girl as it removes its brand from NYC statue

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State Street Global Advisors, the investment management firm behind the Cannes Lion-winning Fearless Girl, has hinted at plans to commission siblings for the original bronze statue for financial hubs outside New York City.

Lori Heinel, deputy global chief investment officer at the firm, told The Drum the company has “talked about whether to have replicas … of Fearless Girl” as it looks to expand its campaign, and is placing more women onto company boards globally.

“We've certainly been asked by many outside the US for their own Fearless Girl, and that's certainly a conversation we continue to have,” she said.

However, she added that State Street is focused on celebrating the original’s new, permanent location for now.

Today (10 December) State Street moved the bronze statue, originally at Bowling Green, to face the pedestrianized New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on the corner of Wall and Broad Streets. The company worked with the City of New York and the NYSE to broker the statue's first permanent site; originally, it was only meant to be in situ for one week.

The move means the sculpture will no longer face the Arturo Di Modica’s Charging Bull – a stance the Italian artist vocally criticized – and will help alleviate traffic issues caused by heavy tourist footfall at the previous Lower Manhattan spot.

Ta-dah! pic.twitter.com/EvF53t6Bnb

— Katie Deighton (@DollyDeighton) December 10, 2018

Additionally, Kristen Visbal’s artwork is no longer accompanied by the plaque connecting her with State Street at the new location. A bronze sign previously declared: ‘Know the power of women in leadership/SHE makes a difference,’ followed by the State Street logo.

The copy was written by McCann New York creative Tali Gumbiner, who admitted she “never spent more time writing anything" in her life.

Heinel explained the decision not to move the plaque is symbolic of State Street gifting the conversation sparked by Fearless Girl to the wider world.

“The world moved the conversation [surrounding female leadership] away from just us a long time ago … it is way beyond State Street at this juncture,” she said.

“We wanted her to really symbolize the potential for all women everywhere and not be associated with just State Street. Clearly, we're very proud of the fact that we commissioned her and were the first to install her, but this is really about the girl now.”

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