Since Ronin started trading in 2007 we have placed a major emphasis on spending time talking to clients and candidates and understanding their individual needs. This sales strategy would have worked in 1997 or 1987 in the same way as our success has been achieved as a result of the relationships that we have and our attitude towards those relationships. Technology has been important in terms of aiding our search activity and managing data but from a marketing perspective it has not been prioritised.
One of the outcomes of the above has been that we have outgrown the website that has publicly represented the business since we opened for our first day of trading in 2007. I have been aware of the weakness of the original site for the past 18 months and development of a new site has been a long process.
The challenge has been to produce a site that delivers a message to a wide audience that accurately represents Ronin. Every company in the recruitment industry claims to be unique and in some ways they are. Website’s and marketing literature do not reflect this well and on the surface it appears to me that there is a fear of stepping away from the stock images of the Gherkin, multi-cultural boardrooms and people on phones/ laptop’s.
I have written ‘how to’ articles on writing a CV. The great thing about a CV is it can be adapted dependant on the role that you are applying for. A website does not allow such flexibility; it truly is one for all. I imagine that a number of people will not like our new site. I tested the site on focus groups and the feedback on the illustrations included comments such as ‘they will not fit well with the most corporate clients’. Well this was a seriously worrying observation as the ‘most corporate clients’ represent the largest demographic of companies that we engage with. I have stuck with what I believe represents us though as we will not pretend to be like other agencies in order to engage with less agile thinkers, they are probably not individuals that our highly intelligent and creative candidate base would enjoy working with.
So why has it taken so long for the new website to be created and launched?
This is in part my fault as I have and always will prioritise existing clients and candidate needs and the past 10 months have been incredibly busy at Ronin. We outsourced design and creative input to my good friend Paul McAnelly at Hawaii Design whose team have been superb. Hawaii commissioned illustrator James Taylor via debut Art to create a number of pieces that make up the site. I am personally a big fan of James’ work and could not be any happier with what he has contributed. Lawrence Brown has led on the technical architecture of the site and has been fantastic. I imagine that the average adult goes online every day through their Smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC. Lawrence not only creates a site that feels nice to navigate around but also makes sure that the interface is as attractive on a phone as it is on a PC and through any of the browsers. So a large team and a lot of intensive design work plus multiple drafts of the text have meant that the process has taken longer than expected but I hope that you enjoy the results of our efforts.
We still have some work to complete so that we can fully integrate the vacancies page. This is the most important part of the site and should be completed by the end of January.
The new site is a foundation of a larger vision that we have for integrating technology into our relationship focused business. I hope that you enjoy our efforts.
Before setting up shop with Ronin in 2007, Mark spent seven years working for large, corporate recruitment agencies. And it was this that inspired him to create a new prototype for his industry, free to adapt to the changing world. “The industry was already changing at a rate of knots before Ronin came into being.”