Resn gets FWA Hall of Fame nod, but managing director Rik Campbell is already eyeing the future

Since starting out in Wellington in 2004, Resn has risen to being a world-leading digital agency with one office in the capital, one in Amsterdam, and the majority of its clients in the United States. And as pointed out in a feature posted earlier this year on Idealog, it’s an agency that isn’t accustomed to hearing the word ‘no’ during after pitches.

This commercial success has also spilled across into awards circuit, with the agency being recognised time and time again by the Favorite Website Awards, and last week completely cracked it by becoming the distinguished 23rd member of the FWA Hall of Fame.

FWA founder Rob Ford said Resn first came to the organisation’s attention in February 2008 with a “very innovative and original” website for a New Zealand band. Since then the company has won the ‘FWA site of the day’ forty times.

“That first FWA win would be [followed by a] long and consistent run of wins for Resn as we quickly began to realise their trademark style, which was, and still is, cutting edge, creative, progressive, original and always overflowing with that rare digital ingredient…personality.

“It has been great to see Resn expand across the globe and to now be one of the most creative agencies in the world,” he says. 

We touch base with Resn managing director Rik Campbell for a Q&A on the win, and a few tips for brands that are trying to achieve that pizzazz that Resn has managed to nail so convincingly.

Resn just got admitted to the FWA Hall of Fame. How does it feel to be one of the 23 chosen ones?

It feels amazing. It is a huge milestone for us. The Hall of Fame contains the world’s finest companies who have all contributed significantly to shaping the creative web industry. It’s an honour to be among them. 
We have a brilliant team, strong agency partners and brave clients to thank for the years of opportunity and hard work it has taken to be honoured in the top league.

Was being in the FWA Hall of Fame something Resn was aiming for?

As we continued to be acknowledged for producing world-class projects we felt we had what it took to make it into the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is an endurance award. It only comes after years of consistent excellence, which we have been proud to have been able to achieve.

They say your websites have “that rare digital ingredient…personality”. What does this mean to you? 

To hear that is very special to us. Our approach is fuelled by amazing personalities at Resn and we have always let this shape who we are and how we communicate the Resn brand. Being one of the smallest and definitely the most remote company in our global competitive pool means X-factor traits like personality in our service and our projects is vital. We see this as a key ingredient to our success.

Resn has been an absolute leader in the website design space, and having being founded in Wellington we are very proud. What would your advice be to other agencies wanting to achieve this idea of “personality” in their digital creations?

We are proud to lead by example and show that New Zealand has a place globally in the digital creative industry. Early on we set out to do the work that inspired us. All of that work was for international clients so we knew we needed to be an export company and fight our way into the global pool to top companies. As far as advice, I would suggest hiring people with personalities you wish to see in your company. Personalities that inspire the company. And importantly make sure you allow them to have an influence on your work product. Let people be who they are – that’s why you hired them.

Huge question coming. What will web design look like in five years? Ten years?

Virtual reality seems like an awesome next playground. Highly personalised product placement and marketing will hopefully be seamless. Fully immersive ultra realistic experiences. And of course huge advancements in mobile, wearable tech and perhaps holographic displays. But I do not think Google even knows the answer to the five- let alone ten-year digital future.

What has been one of the coolest websites you have built lately, one you are really proud of?

Fresh off the press is a complex site we built for Gap.  Using your webcam you can trigger music by waving your hands in front of a striped top. You can play along to a track by the artist Blood Orange. Anything webcam is a real challenge. Combining that with a form of musical instrument it next level complex. We have some nice animation additions rolling out to it next week.

And I love this unique and creepy little number we made in celebration of our FWA success: http://clap.resn.co.nz/

How do you find having your offices spread across both Wellington and Amsterdam?

The time difference between New Zealand and The Netherlands is large. Twelve hours on average so there is no easy way to ride that. The team in Amsterdam is structured in a similar way to our Wellington team. They are a full studio and handle their projects mostly without the need for Wellington to be involved. I was based there for two years to launch the studio. We have strong leadership there including three great people from our Wellington office to keep the daily cultural link to our Wellington roots.  

We share inspirations and opinions daily via company email. We collaborate on pitches and knowledge sharing on regular basis. We do combine on projects when required. We also have weekly management meetings to keep on top of things.

Would you recommend other agencies to do the same?  

It is not easy and you have to really know why you want to have another studio so far away. Also you need to understand the market you are entering as each market differs. One key thing would be to ensure you have a stable client base in the market you are entering to help fund your setup.

Most of your business is out of the United States. Was it a conscious decision to target that market or did it just happen, and how has it helped Resn as a company?

It was conscious. The work we admired came mostly from US clients. Their market is large enough and advanced enough in digital to afford the things we really want to do.

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