Let's Wrap Up 2021 Right
Much like 2020, this year has been... different.
Like the rest of the UK, our team have been full of hope, confusion, frustration, and worry, and that was just about our Christmas party. We've made changes to the way we work forever, from where we pop our laptop, to what we expect from our workforce and our clients.
It's easy to get caught up in the tasks of the day and not take time to look back at how far you've come in the past 12 months. So, this is pretty much a great big appreciation post to all our staff, clients, external partners, other halves, even our kids for learning not to ask for snacks 56,382 times during the morning Zoom call.
What Have We Been Up To?
We have been incredibly lucky to work on some amazing websites, software, branding and digital marketing campaigns this year, with inspiring people behind these businesses. Now, while we never stop working on a Project until the team and the client are completely happy with the result, here are just a few of the works that we have produced in 2021.
Our Proudest Projects
JoEnglish came to us with the idea of creating an e-learning platform, focusing on teaching Italians to speak English. Given our extensive experience in software development within the online learning sector, we were naturally excited to get started.
The site exceeded Joe's expectations within the first hour and continued to ramp up massively over the first month meaning the site smashed Joe's year 1 target within the first 4 weeks. Even with the site beating all expectations, our comprehensive go-live plan meant that the servers coped well with all the traffic and there have been no issues for users. Due to this overwhelming success, the client is already looking to invest in further updates and expand on features. Our developers have already started work on stage 2 and we've begun discussions on stage 3 with some exciting new additions on the way!
Less of a client, more like our pride and joy...We grew the idea in the soil of our digitally minded employees, and after a great deal of care and a little time, our promising pixelated carrot grew and was ripe for the picking. Now an online marketing agency in its own right, Bite still works closely alongside us, with access to all our accumulated knowledge and a vast array of skills, ensuring that we offer the full range of digital products to satisfy ambitious businesses. And, in April 2021, we were finally ready to launch our dedicated digital marketing agency.
Every so often, we get the chance to give our designer real creative freedom and The Forge was an opportunity to significantly enhance the business' image. A bespoke branding, website and social media updates all took place, to show their heritage, their passions and services.
Cast In Tradition
Being a former working forge, the client wanted to celebrate their origins and promote the hundreds of years’ worth of history that had led them to where they are now. Our expert graphic designers got to work, curating a brand identity that modernised their past.
A New Home
With a super outdated website that was hard to navigate, it was clear that we needed to simplify the customer journey. Using our customer build CMS, we took their modern visual identity and created a stunning new site for their shoppers to relish. Fully loaded with keyword-rich content, The Forge was ready to shout about what we had designed for them.
We're now an agency of 18 developers, designers, and digital marketers, making us one of the biggest and best-looking agencies in Yorkshire. Due to an ever-growing client base, super-duper retention rate, and all-around Northern charm, it was about time we hired some more local talent. So, meet the lovely new people who will be creating, designing, and marketing your business.
Mike: developer (front-end)
Mike is our latest front-end developer, which means he turns your brilliant idea for a website into code and builds stunningly responsive user interfaces that leave your customers thrilled with both how your site looks and how it works. He joined our ever-expanding team of professionals in 2021, with high hopes of evolving his development skills and ruining his eye-sight by the time he's 35 years old.
Hannah: digital marketing apprentice
Hannah is the new apprentice in our digital marketing team here at Prototype Creative. She joined us in lockdown 3.0, so most of us are still convinced that she's a catfish. But, it sure would explain why she's constantly asking us to cash app her...
Daniel: business administration apprentice
Daniel is our new Business Administration apprentice, here to join forces with Scott and Becky to make up our operations team. Even though he came on board with the Prototype Creative team in lockdown 3.0, meaning most of us haven’t met him face to face, he’s already created a great impression.
We're always thrilled to be expanding our team of super nerds, developing our staff in any way we can to create a passionate, knowledgeable workforce and we think our new starters have done a brilliant job of fitting in with the team and working hard in what has been a challenging year.
Senior Front-End Developer
Scott (usually referred to as Mallin) was recently promoted to Senior Front-End Developer.
All our employees have management reviews roughly every 6 months, and after we identified a need for a more senior member of staff in the front end team, Mallin has been working towards taking on that role.
The role of the Senior Front-End Developer at Prototype is vital and gives that person the power/responsibility of guiding our progress from a front-end perspective and ensures that (amongst other things) we are a) keeping our practices/tech up to date, and b) have someone on hand that is qualified to train our more junior staff members.
Mallin was the obvious choice, with his wealth of experience, tenacious attitude and WordPress wizardry, we knew that he could fulfil this role and help to grow our agency.
Becky, who used to be our Project Co-Ordinator, has now moved onwards and upwards to take on a brand new challenge within our company.
With the influx of enquiries and the increase in commercial work, Becky has flourished in her new role, as Commercial Manager. Her new position sees her promoting our services to potential clients, attending networking events and being the main point of contact for all possible partners. If you want to work with us, you’ll likely speak to Becky, at some point.
Being naturally sales-minded, she has been an asset to the commercial team and continues to drive new ideas and create stunningly bespoke proposals for our clients. We can’t wait to see what she brings us, in 2022.
Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce
We are delighted to announce that we have joined the Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce. Our platinum membership has us super excited to reconnect with some old faces and get to know some new ones!
As most of our team are from the local areas of Rotherham and Barnsley, we love seeing what the Chamber of Commerce are doing in creating strong networks for a range of different businesses. Many businesses are still recovering from the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic, so we know how important it is now more than ever to support our local businesses and get involved in the business community within our region.
Joining the Chamber means that we will be popping up at more networking events and are looking forward to all of the opportunities that arise from this.
Best Full-Service Digital Agency
This year, we added to our trophy cabinet by winning the Best Full-Service Digital Agency – Yorkshire by the Northern Enterprise Awards 2021. We’re thrilled to be recognised for our achievements in the digital marketplace and, being such a competitive industry, we’ll be bragging about this one, for some time.
We pride ourselves on being able to provide a business with everything that it needs to scale and succeed in the digital landscape, from kick-ass branding that sells your business to your ideal audiences without saying a word, to bespoke software that automates and simplifies your practices better than you ever thought possible.
What Can You Expect From Us In 2022?
More Wellbeing Support
We're a proud Mindful Employer and we're determined to keep getting better at aiding our workforce in everyone's quest for the perfect work-life balance. Even with the best of intentions, sometimes, work can be a stressful place. Especially for those who are dealing with mental health issues. It is now estimated that 1 in 4 of us will suffer from a mental health condition at some point in our lives, so at Prototype Creative, we felt it was our duty to become knowledgeable in how to help support our employees.
We’re a totally transparent agency. That goes for our clients and our workforce, meaning that we have open and honest conversations about mental health and what effect that may have on our ability to do our best work.
Our employees come to work at Prototype Creative because they love what they do, but mental health can often have a devastating impact on the things we once loved. Providing clarity on duties and job roles can build skills in our employees, enabling them to recognise and approach the correct individual, should they have a concern.
Ensuring that they have a stable and comfortable home working environment, we monitor our team to make sure their workload and working hours are manageable, giving them opportunities to work flexibly to suit their needs. We support our employees with any mental health difficulties, diagnosed, or not, and support them to either stay at work or return safely. All our staff have the option of working remotely, or at the office, so precautions are taken, and we leave this up to the individual to decide what is best for them.
Above all else, we believe that we have the skills and processes in place to promote equality and diversity at Prototype Creative. We can and do help those in vulnerable positions get the care they need and provide a safe, supportive workplace for those with mental health worries, or conditions.
We know that looking after our employee’s mental well-being is simply just good business.
More Awesome Projects
We’ve already been inundated with enquiries for the New Year, so we hope to see loads of new and exciting clients coming on board and sharing their hopes and dreams with us.
Our team have some super interesting Projects lined up too, both internally and externally, so we can’t wait to share more about those with you in the coming months. With the continued success of our dedicated digital marketing agency, Bite Digital, we think that it’s time to expand even further into the digital realm and make pixelated waves in every aspect of the marketplace.
Well, that’s all for now, folks! Stay safe, enjoy the festive period, and remember to cherish time away from the desk and screen. We look forward to welcoming you back in 2022!