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Last week Razorfish usurped Fitch Digital’s position as digital design group for Thomas Cook. Is this an indication that clients are beginning to prefer specialist digital consultancies to generalist groups for Web design services? If so, what would you advise the likes of Fitch Digital to do to redress the balance?

‘Did anyone think the opposite when Fitch Digital originally won the business? I expect not. Clients quite rightly seek the partner who can provide the most powerful on-line solution.

This is not about a shift from one [sector] to another, it’s about a new and developing space where the rules are not yet written. Competition is a healthy thing. It keeps us on our toes.’

Jez Frampton, director of digital branding, Interbrand Newell and Sorrell

‘Traditional design consultancies have generally chosen the route of building internal digital media departments rather than working in partnership with dedicated interactive companies. The fact is that there is more to digital media than good design and account management. In my experience, clients simply want best-of-breed companies working for them – so it’s no great shock that these clients go to interactive agencies rather than traditional ones for work which is interactively focused. Maybe groups like Fitch should look to work with digital specialists. That way the clients gets a brilliant design group and a brilliant new media house who work well together.’

Alasdair Scott, Interactive Director, AMX UK

‘Digital consultancy, interface design and technical integration are complex disciplines and the groups that make the best job of them are “digital consultancies”. However, clients potentially benefit from agencies that have multidisciplined capabilities and this is as significant to the development of digital agencies as it must be to the “traditionals”. Groups like Fitch Digital need to analyse if they can compete in the digital environment. This takes new skills focusing around brand, information design, technology, business and change management and user psychology. Then they need to identify what opportunities they can offer potential clients that differentiate them from competitors. They need to develop new relationships with clients based around partnerships and not one-off deliverables. The only other alternative is to collaborate, buy or merge with those who threaten your business.’

Matthew Bagwell, Creative Director, Syzygy

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