By Andre Gwilliam •

Parallax: A Digital Innovation Agency

Parallax Directors - Andy Fitch, James Hall, Tom Faller, Lawrence Dudley, Dario Grandich

This week marks our eighth birthday, so we thought a suitable way to celebrate would be to offer up some insights into the day-to-day workings of Parallax. It’s been a couple of years since our last major milestone update – quite a lot has happened since then!

Not only were we officially named one of the fastest growing tech companies in the North of England two years in a row, we were also listed in both the Digital Leaders 100 and Prolific North’s top 50 agencies. In the past few months, we’ve also launched a range of exciting new websites for our clients, created some beautiful new brands from scratch and delivered some of our most complex, technologically-driven solutions to date.

As a full-service, digital innovation agency with a multi-talented team, we’ve focused every effort on making sure we produce quality work for our clients. We like to think we’re pretty good at it, but the proof is in the pudding – read on to get a glimpse of what we bring to the table in this incredibly competitive digital industry.

Innovation and Digital Marketing.

We strongly identify with the word ‘innovation’ – being creative is at the heart of everything we do. We explore areas to help clients improve that other agencies might not consider. Aside from our main aim of getting brands and businesses noticed online, we are experts at tackling complex technical projects.

On the digital marketing side, we specialise in producing beautiful, well-scoped, responsive web designs. These are always backed with the latest technology and creative thinking, combined with an effective digital marketing strategy to earn commercial success. At Parallax, it’s always about quality over quantity, and it’s ingrained in everyone’s work-ethic here. We all have a similar mentality which also means, as a business, we treat our colleagues the same way; by offering staff quality perks and a flexible approach to their working lifestyle.

Trust In Technology.

You don’t land a title like ‘one of the fastest growing tech companies in the North of England’ by chance. It’s taken us several years of adapting, developing and maintaining belief in our passion for technology. We have a strong melting pot of talent, with experts in project management, development, design, and marketing. They’re used to working with one another as a collaborative engine in a modern, forward-thinking office environment and since we all have one common interest, we’ve learnt to be as adaptable as the technology that brought us together.

Our directors started out their journey delivering complicated technical projects which eventually led to us acquiring the likes of British Airways as a client. We’ve always trusted in technology, because we understand how it works. Thanks to our passion for tech, we’re now completely embedded in the local digital scene – amongst our current team we have an AWS Community Hero, a jury panel member for the CSS Design Awards and a host of Leeds Glug.

Parallax Office

Taking Digital Marketing To The Next Level.

Delivering websites that function as well as they look is our bread and butter – we put just as much attention and care into one project as we do another. The past year has seen us launch a number of new websites for a range of exciting brands, including Town Centre Securities, Tilsatec, IconInc, Trax, edenYale and Playertek, plus an award-winning brochure site for Leeds Golf Centre.

But the work doesn’t stop there. Once launched, we use our skills to amplify brands online, catch the attention of new users and improve overall search rankings. From content creation through to technical SEO, our in-house team cover all aspects of modern marketing. We create new brands from scratch and breathe life into old ones, identifying core values and developing a consistent tone of voice. Copywriting, photography and video animation all work together to take on-site content up a level, creating a cohesive online experience across every touchpoint. We then use all the tools at out disposal – paid social advertising, digital PR, brand ambassadors, PPC, email – to ensure the right messages are communicated to the right audience at the right time.

Last year, for example, we launched a range of new vegetarian and vegan products online for Cauldron Foods (tripling their social media following to over 60,000 people), created a female fitness campaign called Set to Sweat for easyGym (with over 20,000 downloads and counting) and improved search rankings for the Parklane Properties Group (giving IconInc a year on year increase of 45% for organic traffic). We also launched a customer service brand – CitiPark Heroes – for our car park client, using a mixture of online and offline promotion.

Innovation Requires the Best Talent.

We strongly believe that innovation and talent are a collaborative cog; always progressing, constantly moving forward. The talent at Parallax is ultimately what drives our clients to reach new boundaries and we love seeing the passion and skills new blood can bring to the table. We’re always interested in getting to know the very best people the digital sector – if you want to get to know us we’re always happy to hear from you.

Gone are the days of working a fixed weekly office schedule. We like our staff to hone newly learned skills while they work and we provide the modern flexitime approach to suit that. To complement our work/life balance policy, we believe it’s important to break the day up by either having a social break by gaming, partaking in our lunchtime legends initiative or simply popping out of the office to grab a coffee. We believe that it’s important for our staff to further their development where possible, that’s why we encourage staff to attend some of the best digital events in the UK, such as SearchLeeds at the Leeds First Direct Arena, or global tech conferences like AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas.

Not only does flexi-time benefit staff, it also gives piece of mind to our clients too. Our team is available both before standard working hours and later in the evenings too, which means requests are met and results are delivered when they’re needed. Innovation demands talent and talent requires innovation – we think we’ve hit the sweet spot with both.

Parallax Office

Developing Highly Advanced Systems.

We could list every success we’ve had both past and present, but here’s just a few examples of our recent technology-driven accomplishments. We’ve committed to not one, but two NHS projects. The first is top secret (for now) but will potentially impact 750,000 NHS and social care workers. The second is a new minimum viable product (MVP) for the NHS to help advance the way they spend their money on management training. We believe that the NHS has the opportunity to breathe new life in their brand with this sophisticated tool that, again, required the expertise of our ‘techies’.

Over the past year, we also undertook an ambitious “Internet Of Things” project that includes many different disciplines – everything from Big Data and analytics through to lightweight binary protocols. The end goal is to allow councils and other entities to manage huge fleets of assets, collect data and ultimately save money through actionable insights – pre-empting flooding or knowing when to deploy gritters – ultimately saving local authorities millions of pounds per year.

The project is for a company with technology in 90% of all street lights – either power distribution units that feed power to the column or photocells to help control lighting levels. We invented a compact and secure Over-The-Air Firmware Update Protocol suitable for radio transmission, as well as building a fully-fledged radio network simulator to test setups before rolling them out. The simulation allows users to accurately plan the rollout of an IoT system for a city or region. The final product is in field trials, with the overall goal of bringing about greater energy efficiency for greener, smarter cities.

We also launched ‘Goal’ for Apple News, a new channel designed to bring breaking football news directly to fans. Having previously worked with the Perform Group on projects for UEFA and Chelsea FC, we were ideally placed to take on this sports-focused technical project. Going beyond reporting scores, this channel also delivers in-depth articles, transfer rumours, goal alerts, live scores and in-game match statistics. Requiring a process for transforming newly published content into a format Apple News could understand, we developed a robust, third-party application for monitoring bespoke news feeds and converting uploaded articles to a more suitable container.

Additionally, working on behalf of Unilever, we recently picked up an exciting project to create a cutting-edge 3D interactive in-browser game for LYNX deodorant. Designed to encourage young teenagers to develop a good daily hygiene routine; we built a dynamic WebGL browser experience that revolved around eliminating odours through a series of increasing difficulty levels. Unilever were so impressed with our work, we went on to win a retainer to deliver a series of innovative communications pieces and demos for them for the next 12 months.

Parallax Office

Parallax Invent. So Can You.

As a key partner of Amazon Web Services and Serverless, we continue to speak regularly at major digital events and we’re always looking for inventive ideas and ways to pitch them. We still host ‘hack days’ every quarter – they give us the chance to flex our creative muscles, try new technologies and free up the team to develop something new.

James Hall, Director of Parallax most recently discussed how innovation is a process, not a technology, and we like to reflect this across our ongoing projects at Parallax.

One recent example of a hack day project brought to life is our Viva le Velo website. Inspired by the Tour de France, our Head of Design produced a brilliant concept which all began with a doodle. Soon, the rest of the team was on board, turning the initial sketches into a fully-realised interactive experience, with smoothly animated famous bikes from cycling history.

One of our most successful digital PR campaigns to date remains our Topple Trump game, which was insanely fun to create. Topple Trump is perhaps best described as an awareness tool, created to engage audiences in the chaotic election campaign for the United States’ presidency 2016 which saw Donald Trump elected. Our interactive online game received some great coverage online – it’s a perfect example of the kind of creative work Parallax is capable of.

Doing Our Bit.

Finally, outside the office, our creativity continues to be put to good use. Leeds SOUP, initially launched by our own Director James Hall, is a community micro-funding event which provides grants to local charities. James decided to set up the Leeds version of the original Detroit SOUP, which was established in 2010 after seeing cuts to the welfare budget. A great way to give something back to the community, the initiative has raised thousands of pounds for various causes and continues to go from strength to strength. Our collaborations with the community have also led us to form relationships with some fantastic organisations in the area. We’re proud to support the leading homeless charity St George’s Crypt each Christmas, sourcing gifts and helping cook a warm three-course meal for those who need it most. Looking forward, we hope to keep supporting our community in ever more innovative ways.