It’s not exactly a profound statement to say the web design industry in Aotearoa is a crowded one. Born Digital managing director Brett Hancock is well aware of this fact, too. “There’s hundreds of web design companies in New Zealand,” he explains.
But since getting its start 11 years ago, Born Digital has expanded far beyond just a web design company. Since then, Hancock says, the company has expanded into making interactive touchscreen kiosks, mobile apps, Cloud-based applications, and more. “It’s exciting,” he says. “We’re getting into bigger customers now. Because they’re bigger they have more complex requirements.”
One of those bigger clients Born Digital recently worked with was Black Hawk Pet Care, for Masterpet in Australia. “They were super happy with the process and the outcome,” says Hancock, explaining that Born Digital worked with Black Hawk’s team in New Zealand and Australia to make a new brand website.
They used some great collaborative web based tools: UX Pin and InVision, which allows for the creation of wireframes / final designs that can be experienced in a web browser before any code is written. The customer can leave comments directly on the layouts – eliminating the need for sending dozens of emails back and forth.
“We’ve had really positive feedback from them right up to the top,” says Hancock, adding the project took just over three months to complete.
Currently hosting a staff of 14, Hancock says the most important part of doing business for Born Digital is forming good relationships. Although smaller than some of their competitors in terms of staff size, Hancock insists this is an advantage. “We have been winning work lately based on the fact that we can get going almost right away.”
Although most of their clients are based in New Zealand, Hancock says his company has done work for Australian and American clients too – and even a garment firm in Mongolia. We have plenty on” he says of the workload. “We’ve got over a whole year’s work in the pipeline at the moment.”
Hancock attributes part of Born Digital’s success to its embrace of new technologies. “Companies have to be more innovative in order to survive,” he explains. “You have to be open to new technology.”
And the innovation isn’t just limited to how the company interacts with clients – it also comes to how it treats its employees. “If we look after our staff, they’ll look after our clients.”
One of their ways of looking after staff, Hancock says, is an employee profit share scheme. “It’s all part of looking after the staff,” he explains. “We’re a service-based business. It’s about keeping our staff happy. Our priorities are employees first, then clients, then management.”
While multi-brand companies like Unilever of Fonterra would be ideal clients for Born Digital to take on next, they’re not the be all or end all goals for the company, Hancock insists. “We’d love to have a bank and a car brand,” he says. And why? “Their industry is always evolving.”
Just like Born Digital.