Posted on May 30, 2014 by staff

14 Years In The Transformative Digital World

Digital agency, Zone, has just been ranked first in the UK’s only Independent Agency Census, compiled by leading marketing trade industry magazine, The Drum. Jon Davie, managing director at the firm shares with BusinessCloud how the firm has ridden the zeitgeist of technology since the company’s evolution from its print publishing origins, to become one of the UK’s foremost digital agencies.How does it feel to be ranked first in the UK’s only Independent Agency Census?
We’re obviously thrilled – it’s a great testament to the hard work of our team, and to the clients that we work with. It’s a real honour to be recognised, especially as the Independent Agency Census is based on feedback from clients and our agency peers.

How has Zone developed since its inception to progress to this point?
Back in the 1990s, we were a traditional publishing business. Towards the end of the decade, we began to see new behaviours emerging – the journalists in our office spent their days surfing websites and discussion forums, instead of reading newspapers and magazines. We saw an opportunity to take our content-led approach and apply it to the digital world. Zone was born in 2000 and is now a full-service digital agency – with client service and strategy expertise to support our expertise in tech, creative, content and UX.

If you could pick out some turning points in the tech world that have taken place since you first started working in the industry, what would they be and how have they gone on to change the digital landscape?
It’s difficult to imagine how much the world has changed since 2000. For me, two things stand out as being transformative. Firstly, the astonishing rise of social media. And secondly, the emergence of the mobile phone as the primary way of connecting to the internet. I think there’s still a long way to go before companies get their heads around the implications of mobile being the first screen.

Where do you see technology taking us in the next 14 years?
I can only see technology becoming more pervasive, and therefore becoming an even more integral part of our daily lives. We aren’t going to move into a period of stasis – the extraordinary pace of change will become the new norm.

Are too many businesses ignoring the benefits of digital?
The changes that digital technology is bringing are too profound for businesses to ignore. Increasingly, we’re working with clients who know they need to change, but don’t know where to start. This isn’t about digital marketing – it’s about marketing in a digital world, which has implications for culture and organisation, not just communications.

The world is becoming increasingly digital but with that comes more downfalls – hacking, viruses, fraud. Do the benefits outweigh the problems?
There’s no doubt that the rapid speed of change creates challenges as well as opportunities. But we can’t put the digital genie back in the bottle – this is the world we live in now. Brands can’t ignore digital just because some of this stuff is a bit scary!

What do you see happening for Zone in the next year?
We’re focused on continuing to grow the business – which means hiring more great digital talent, and delivering great digital work for some of the world’s biggest brands.