Studio Visits: Reading Room
Reading Room is an award-winning, full-service digital agency with offices in London and Liverpool, and a 115-strong team made up of specialists that span the entire digital spectrum including design, UX, technology, strategy and digital advertising. Their client list is ridiculously impressive to say the least, the team are digital partners for a number of football clubs including Everton, Swansea City, Stoke City and Middlesbrough, as well as ŠKODA UK, Ministry of Defence, National Gallery of Ireland, Carluccio’s, The Royal Family and UK Sport.
“Just like us, our client portfolio is expansive and diverse, which means we’re able to work with great brands and organisations from a range of industries including sport, the public sector, retail, tourism, leisure, and arts and culture. For every project, our aim is to scope, develop and deliver excellent online experiences that help our clients maximise their use of digital and better engage with target markets.” says Hayden Evans, Reading Room’s Creative Director.“ Before we do anything technical, we always spend time speaking with real users and understanding our clients’ target audiences...”
There are few common things that are nested inside the work of Reading Room, we ask Hayden what four words describes them most. “Inquisitive, ambitious, strategic and creative,” he says, “we work hard to make sure that this shines through in all our work.”
As an agency working with clients as big as theirs, the skills within the agency have to be comprehensive “which means we can support clients right from the start of their digital journey” he says. “To begin with, we help them understand their target audience through a consultative approach that delivers bespoke recommendations. We then progress along the digital lifecycle to develop an online presence that has the right design, features, technology and content to meet the demands of the people who will use it.”
Reading Room believe that research and testing are two of the most important elements in their digital development. “Before we do anything technical, we always spend time speaking with real users and understanding our clients’ target audiences – either through focus groups, phone interviews or online surveys.” He explains, “we like to make sure that every feature of a website has a purpose and adds value in some way.”“ We all have a passion for digital and are driven by client success – there’s a real sense of shared responsibility in helping clients launch meaningful, successful websites.”
When asked about some of the agency’s highlights, he reveals “this year has been a particularly exciting one for us as we launched our own sports platform – ‘Playmaker’ – so a real highlight has been tailoring this to three different football clubs who all had similar requirements, yet needed their own distinctive identity. While we had tight deadlines, we managed to launch websites for Stoke City, Middlesbrough and Swansea City over three consecutive days in July 2017. This was a huge achievement for the team and one we’re very proud of.”
“Another highlight has been gaining recognition for our work regionally and nationally, including accolades at the RAR Digital Awards, The Drum and the Interactive Media Awards. This year alone, we’ve been named as a B2B top 10 agency, climbed eight places in Econsultancy’s Top 100 Digital Agencies report, and taken home Bronze in the ‘Agency of the Year’ category at the 2017 Football Business Awards. It’s always a highlight to receive recognition and be regarded highly among peer agencies.”“ We’re not an agency full of buzzwords or egos. We’re a down-to-earth, approachable and genuine team, and our culture encourages creativity and ideas.”
Their team is one with ambition and clear passion for the clients that they work with. As a team of 115, we ask what everybody here has in common, what makes Reading Room, Reading Room? “One of the key ingredients is a proactive attitude,” he reflects “we all have a passion for digital and are driven by client success – there’s a real sense of shared responsibility in helping clients launch meaningful, successful websites. That means people who consider themselves ‘rockstars’, ‘ninjas’ or ‘gurus’ will not fit in well with us!”
“We’re not an agency full of buzzwords or egos. We’re a down-to-earth, approachable and genuine team, and our culture encourages creativity and ideas. We want everyone to contribute to our success, which means project decisions are not just made at the top and opinion is valued.”
After having enhanced their expertise by merging with Rippleffect, they’re now looking forward to developing their offering even further to football and sports clubs, through the expansion of Playmaker. “Our parent company – Idox – has an established, predominantly public sector client base that we’re also keen to support further, especially as digital transformation remains a key part of local and national agendas.” Watch this space, it doesn’t sound like they’re slowing down anytime soon.