I was asked recently whether Cicada is led by design or by technology. This was in a business development meeting, so I didn’t have much time to think about my answer.

The meeting was with a firm of architects, if you want to know. My off-the-cuff reply was that we aren’t led by technology or by creativity, so much as by the commercial desires of our clients.

But the questions set me thinking.

Online agencies do tend to be led by technology or creativity, but I think this misses the point. Shouldn’t we surely, be led by the commercial ambitions of our clients?

I’d have to admit that I am more inspired by creativity than I am by technology. I think the creative for the new palm.com website is great. Personally, I don’t get to work on many websites that I’d consider to be truly creatively led. Cicada’s SME clients tend not to have the budgets to indulge in, or the target markets that demand, beautifully designed websites.

And the more traditional Roxtons website is a favorite of mine.

Check out Heals new website which I think is nicely designed and quite easy to use. It takes you easily to, and through, the shopping process.

These are, of course, consumer brands with substantial budgets and / or well heeled clients.

Whatever your business, it’ll need to succeed at the online juggling act of providing an affordable website that’s creatively and commercially distinctive, and which supports your commercial objectives. In terms of online objectives, Cicada’s clients are typically looking to become more effective at converting website visitors into qualified sales prospects.

So where does this leave the architecture practice I was talking about?

Well after a quick scan online, I’d say that whilst creatively led, SME architects’ websites tend to be a bit ‘samey’. There’s definitely scope for a more distinctive look, and there’s always room to improve the return on investment that a website can deliver.