In The Beginning...
n3w media was originally intended to be a web development company. Aimed at servicing the needs of small businesses but delivering websites based on Corporate best practice. However, our first few clients had a different plan. They already had web agencies, but they also had failing projects. They needed help to get those projects finished and to better manage their existing suppliers. I helped get their projects back on track, and helped them put in place better processes for the future. All services need a title (apparently), so christened it “project recovery”.
Twists and Turns
Unperturbed by the distraction of “Project Recovery”, I valiantly and doggedly pursued the original business plan. Even though selling web design was harder and much less profitable than “Project Recover”, I was convinced that n3w should be yet another web agency... just like all the others!
One of the main reasons so many web projects fail is that they are underpriced by suppliers who do not fully grasp the requirements. Later the agency loses interest as they start to realise they are spending a lot more time than they had anticipated. However, whilst you could explain this to a prospective client, it was not a message they were often interested in hearing! To compound matters there was increasing fragmentation in the market with SEO experts, social media gurus, digital strategists and so on. Clients were inundated with a dazzling array of experts to choose from.
And then the scales fell from my eyes
Well not quite! It was more of a slow evolution over many projects. Apart from agencies not understanding the complexity of projects (thus undercharging & losing interest), projects also fail due to silo mentality. Digital media is made up of many disciplines, but speaking to silo experts only gives you a solution within that silo. This leads to project failure at worse or negligible ROI at best. Where could clients go to get overarching advice across all disciplines? Well, actually not than many places! Integrated Full Service Agencies claimed to offer this kind of advice but actually they made money when clients commission projects, therefore they have to sell “work”. Their advice is intrinsically linked to their selling process, which is no use what so ever! So eventually I threw away the original (somewhat dusty) plan and set about creating a business that delivered something altogether more useful for clients, and not just small ones. Outstanding!
The Promised Land
What n3w media delivers for clients today is remarkably simple; independent advice and guidance on all aspects of digital media. It does this for organizations that are Commercial, Public Sector or Not For Profit. Simple, obvious, and yet has taken years to define!
Independence comes from never delivering projects; in other words marketing campaigns, web sites and the like. Similarly n3w has no affiliation or commercial relationship with any other business that offers these services (no recommending “a man who does”). This means that if it is in your best interest to not do a project, n3w will tell you just that.
n3w is not an agency, it is a consultancy. This is vitally important. n3w is paid by clients for impartial, dependable and well researched advice / guidance. This has meant that finding other consultants to be part of the n3w network has been (and continues to be) ridiculously difficult and slow! But my philosophy is that it is better to reject projects than to attempt to service them with inferior or less experienced resources. n3w should only undertake work that it can do exceptionally well for clients that highly value the service and pay us accordingly.
Who knows. Today, most work is UK based perhaps in the future n3w will become more International (subject to being able to find more amazingly talented consultants and clients that love what n3w does). I have always wondered why “experts” don’t use their expertise for their own businesses. I have done that with the launch of several iPhone Apps under the Aspire Associates name, and it could be that the future holds several more initiatives of that nature.
What is for sure is that the need for independent robust advice around digital media will not go away. In fact as the rate of change increases, and digital becomes more complex, I look forward to working with many new organizations that value straight talking jargon free advice!