Building Identities through Web Development

Established in 1999, Forthmedia Interactive Development was one of the first companies in the country to make websites, CD-ROMs and interactive applications. Today, they’re creating everything from Facebook applications and browser-based games to mobile apps and augmented realities. In seventeen fruitful years, it has established itself as the go-to web development source for every business who wants to create a space online.

Stephen Lee, Managing Director and founder of Forthmedia, shares the company’s story. During the years leading up to Forthmedia’s creation, the Internet was, “very popular, it was very new, and for a lot of techies it was very, very interesting. It seemed that there were a whole lot of possibilities – it’s like a door opened for a lot of new things.”

How to Build Identities Through Web Development

While even then the Internet was already being considered a new platform for businesses, it still took Stephen a lot of effort to gain a following in the Philippines.

“It was fairly new in the country, so most of the budgets were [still] going to traditional media. We really had to show them how powerful it is, and the different things you can do with it. It’s not just like a simple billboard or a brochure online; it’s a lot more than that. You can engage with your customers, you can get quick feedback from them and you can track a lot of things that you wouldn’t be able to easily do if it were offline material,” he shares.

Of course, in this day and age, this knowledge is no longer new. CEOs from all over the Philippines are taking to the World Wide Web to expand, promote and even begin their businesses, and Forthmedia is busier than ever.

“[For every new client,] we try to get their objective first … to connect with their interesting customers, or they want to get new clients, or they just want to have something viral,” he says. The team then conceptualizes and brainstorms with the client on what the product will be and how it will function. They present different concepts and prototypes; then revise the product based on what the client wants.

This is both the beauty and challenge of Forthmedia: their product always mirrors their client brand’s personality, image, and objectives. Whether it’s a website, an augmented reality app, a mobile app or game, they make a conscious effort to make it an extension or voice of the client. The product must appeal to the client’s industry or field, and so everything from design to aesthetics to the actual experience must reflect the brand.

Additionally, because most of their clients have marketing both on and off the web, they also strive to match online and offline marketing to give a singular, consistent voice to the brand.

“Essentially, we’re selling services instead of products, so the service is really tailored to what the client needs,” Stephen shares. When asked about how this works, he advised, “Make sure when you develop the product it will really fit the client, [where] if they had the capability to develop, it’s what they would have done. Try to think like the client instead of thinking like yourself. Try to adopt the personality of the client.”

Stephen admits that the process can sometimes be a double-edged sword, as there are benefits and challenges that come with it.

One benefit is that they can – and do – really satisfy their clients. Once they get the requirements from a brand, they aren’t burdened by limitations right away and can try to get as close as possible to what the brand wants. They have the luxury of producing an end product specifically tailored for the client, which almost always guarantees client satisfaction.

On the other hand, since each product is tailor-made, the clients may tend to give a lot of comments and request many revisions. While Forthmedia welcomes open communication with clients, Stephen admits that it can be tedious and tiring when two separate departments – such as Marketing and IT, which both have a say in web product development – can not settle on a product and constantly request them to change it. The challenge in this is being the mediator between the departments, and marrying the good ideas of both.

There’s also the added challenge and benefit of staying ahead of the game. He shares, “We’ve had a lot of clients who needed things that, let’s say, did not exist yet, so we’ve had several projects that we’ve had to develop new technologies for, new algorithms for.”

While this can be taxing for Stephen and his team, it keeps them on top and consistently thriving, and cements their place as one of the most popular, admired and trusted web and mobile app development companies in the Philippines.

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