Reactive is an award-winning Web design London based agency established over 17 years. Our services include web design, brand identity design, online marketing, website hosting and maintenance. Our target markets are premium SMEs and small enterprise-level companies. We have considerable experience in B2B design, especially financial and property sectors.
Explained in a nutshell, we help businesses and organisations present their products or service online to their chosen marketplace. A typical client of ours is either a startup that requires a new brand identity and website design from scratch, or an established business or organisation with a need to refresh their existing communications, either because the brand identity and website appear dated, the technology is no longer supported, or often because a business has changed direction and as a result needs to change its message.
Our creative solutions are guided by key marketing principles, ensuring that the work we do for any company is aligned with the needs of their chosen marketplace. As such, all our projects begin with the careful writing of a design brief, which is the document that will underpin the project from concept to completion. It is within this briefing document that we take care to understand the client’s marketing objectives and target audience. We also discuss any competitors and the typical user journey within the website for each stakeholder group.
Once we have the briefing documents in place, our working process often begins with a brand strategy than a logo design and website design and development. The design stage is always an iterative process. We start by designing a few concepts whether it is for a website or a brand identity. We then ask the client to choose a concept and we then gradually evolve the design until we get it just right. We test the website thoroughly in all modern browsers prior to launch. Most of our clients request a Content Management System (CMS) which we add as required. We’re not tied to any one technology although we find that WordPress is popular with small to medium-sized companies. Once the website is launched we can then assist with online marketing to ensure visibility on search engines. We also offer website hosting and support, content writing services and print design.
I began my career in web design and development in the late ’90s, and I noticed that all businesses, however large or small, need a website. I wanted to create a design agency that is dedicated to web design and brand identity creation. I was fortunate enough to begin working in digital design when web design and digital design were first taking shape as a new medium. The internet was just becoming accessible to consumers. It was an exciting time.
I started my own digital agency in 2004. Since then we’ve concentrated on web design and brand identity design. Online marketing plays a big part in what we do too.
The challenges the business/market is facing
Design & technology are constantly evolving and we need to respond quickly to changes in business as well as keep up with design trends and technological advances. Our staff are young and ambitious and keen to keep up with new and emerging trends in both website design and branding.
Web design is a competitive marketplace and very often our challenge is to distinguish ourselves from smaller agencies, freelancers and outsourcing companies who deliver work at a lower cost. Once a client sees the quality of our work then I think they realise the difference that hiring a professional web design agency brings. However, for smaller clients who have a limited budget, we understand that it is difficult to make that financial commitment to employ a design agency. As web design and brand identity design become increasingly more accessible to non-designers through software such as Wix and Squarespace, some smaller potential clients, which is only a fraction of our client base, are tempted to take on the project of building websites themselves. There’s a popular perception that these tools might threaten a business like ours but we actually find that clients who are serious about their online marketing quickly realise that these tools are not for them.
Like all businesses we faced challenges during the pandemic mostly relating to staff being off work and the unpredictability of knowing whether we would be working from the office or from home. Fortunately, our London web designers were busier than usual during the pandemic as businesses shift attention to working online. We’re now hopefully in the post-pandemic phase now and we’re seeing a return to normality with flexible working being a popular choice amongst our staff.
Another challenge, UK Inflation and possible recession looming is of course a concern to us. We intend to manage this by employing a blend of full-time staff and freelancers and keeping fixed overheads low. We learnt a lot from the last recession back in 2008. We think we’re much better placed this time around. We have diversity in the vertical markets we serve and in the services we offer and we don’t rely too heavily on one or two key clients to bring in revenue.
The opportunities the business/market is facing
We’ve started the financial year well with a lot of enquiries for new business. Our SEO team have been working hard to drive traffic to our website and that’s given us the edge over many of our competitors. Despite a disappointing outlook for the economy, we’re confident that we will have a good year. We’ve got a good team in place and I trust them to be able to deliver quality work to our clients which will in turn bring us more business in future.
If I could single out one opportunity for us it is to continue to develop our existing niches where we have a lot of experience. These have primarily been in financial web design and the design work we have done in the property sector. In particular, we work with private equity clients and investment houses. These are the sectors that we have concentrated on most over the years mainly because they suit our design style which is professional and discreet and works well for premium businesses operating in these market sectors. Another sector we’re working in increasingly is logistics. We will soon be relaunching a website for M9 logistics, we also work with Tower Cold Chain and Axis logistics.
The COVID pandemic brought surprising opportunities. Like many companies, we have adopted a flexible working policy where staff can choose to work from home or come into the office. We’ve actually found that this has made us more productive as staff no longer need to spend time commuting. We’ve also adopted the culture of online video meetings using Zoom or Microsoft Teams. We love meeting our clients in person but we’ve found that it has become more standard practice to mix meetings via video link with some face-to-face meetings. This has certainly proved a more efficient way of working. We’ve also been fortunate in the small but I hope important contribution we’ve made in the global delivery of COVID vaccines through our work with Tower Cold Chain. Tower delivers proven physical and temperature protection not only for COVID vaccines but also for other pharmaceutical and life science products. Their containers are designed to perform in all supply chains, regardless of the transport type or environment. We helped to take Tower Cold Chain from an SME to an enterprise-level client by supporting their rapidly growing marketing team in the delivery of a new website and order system to support the re-brand and growth of the business.
The low value of the pound internationally has brought a lot of interest from foreign clients, in particular, from the Middle East where web design and development skills are lagging behind in some areas and the drop in the pound has motivated foreign media buyers to work with UK design and technology companies such as ourselves.
Advice to others about business
My advice is “never give advice” but I can share some things that have helped me along the way.
The first point concerns the importance of networking for start-ups. When I started my business, I worked alone from a home office. It made sense. I wanted to save money and to do that I needed to keep my overhead low. With the benefit of hindsight, I think that was a bad idea. The reason is, when I did eventually move out to a shared office, I met a lot. of business owners who needed London web design services. The money I spent on rent easily paid for itself. I wish I had begun networking sooner.
My second point is to be careful who you employ. “Marry in haste, repent at your leisure”. It’s a bit like that with hiring staff. A good team member will bring a lot to a company. if they’re truly excellent employees then they might even help you run the business. Staff who aren’t committed need a lot of time to manage and can end up draining resources Try to find out as much about people as you can before hiring. Of course, sometimes it’s just a matter of luck, especially with junior staff. If you find the right juniors and you can help build their careers, then I believe that you have a better chance of creating a loyal team and building a successful business.