Six Questions with Trew Knowledge

This post series profiles each of our featured partner agencies.

Trew Knowledge is an award-winning digital marketing agency located in Toronto. They have been a WordPress.com VIP Featured Partner since 2015. We asked founders Anthony Moore and Shawn Barrans six questions to help you get to know who they are as an agency.

Boardroom Mural at Trew Knowledge HQ

What’s your agency’s origin story?

Trew Knowledge was founded in 2009 by Anthony Moore and Shawn Barrans. Anthony, with a background in Digital Media Arts focusing on design and programming, and Shawn with a degree in Marketing, were able to mesh their different set of skills to form an agency that offered clients full 360 solutions.

In our first couple of years in business it was just the two of us, working on a kitchen table in a suburb just outside of Toronto. We were constantly working all day and night building relationships with clients, attending networking events, participating in trade shows, and partnering with other agencies.

When we started making traction and bringing on a lot of clients we decided to rent office space downtown Toronto and hire staff. It was around this time we built a relationship with WordPress.com VIP and eventually became part of the Featured Agency program. In addition, we have become exclusive partners to Gigya and ramped up our services in the Customer Identity and Access Management industry.

Today, we work with some of the largest brands in Canada, as well as globally. Being able to work closely with the talented people at WordPress VIP has given us the ability to take on large, enterprise projects and deliver incredible solutions.

Pick three words that describe your agency culture.

Collaborative, passionate, and forward-thinking.

Our office is laid out in a collaborative, open-concept workspace. This gives everyone on the team the opportunity to speak freely, share ideas, and work together on projects. Since we are currently a small team, everyone gets the opportunity to work on several projects at once. Because of this, we have been able to improve, streamline, and automate several of our processes for project delivery.

When we are looking to bring on talent to join our team we look for someone with a genuine passion for what they do. Whether a creative person or a programmer, their passion must play a large role in their lives. Everyone on our team has an incredible thirst for knowledge.

Anthony Moore presenting at BigWP in Toronto

Tell us about a client project you are especially proud of.

Our relationship with the Canada Olympic Committee goes back more than five years with the development of their flagship site ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics Games. We also programmed the Canadian Olympic Club, the official fan club of the Canadian Olympic Team.

The Canadian Olympic Club, powered by Gigya, is the first ever digital fan club of it’s kind by any national Olympic team. It allows fans to log in via their favorite social network and complete various challenges to earn points. These points can then be redeemed for contests and prizes, including swag, trips, signed memorabilia, and digital downloads.

The success of the website has been honoured with accolades such as an official honoree in the 18th annual Webby Awards for Best Sports website, Communication Arts “webpick of the week”, and Gold for best mobile user-experience in the 2017 W3 Awards.

What are you most excited about in the WordPress community right now?

2018 is going to be a very exciting year for WordPress, and the internet overall. With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) taking effect on May 25, 2018 we are interested in seeing how website/business owners handle the regulations for data protection. Internally, we are in the process of developing a set of tools to help guide people using WordPress and assist with maintaining a compliant website. We hope to share more details with the WordPress community over the next couple of weeks.

Our team is also very excited for the release of Gutenberg. Our team has been testing the new editor for a few months and are really excited to get this in the hands of clients. While there may be concern for many people, given this is a big change for how they currently use WordPress, we feel this is a very forward-thinking approach and will really create a bit of a standard for content creation.

Panel Discussion on Customer Identity Management (From left to right: Shawn Barrans – Trew Knowledge, Vic Torossian – Corus Entertainment, Georgia Sapounas – Canadian Olympic Committee, Anthony Moore – Trew Knowledge, Sergey Krayniy – Gigya)

What’s your favorite conference or event of the year, and why?

This year our team attended WordCamp US in Nashville. This was our first visit to WordCamp US and we were blown away by the quality of content and speakers at this event. It was great to see some fellow WordPress VIP partner agencies in attendance from around the world and catch up with them.

This was also our first time visiting Nashville, and between the music and hot chicken, we are looking forward to returning next year and doing it all again.

(And the sixth: Ask yourself a question and answer it) What are you looking to accomplish in 2018?

2018 has already been a busy year, and it has just started. As mentioned previously, this is a big year for GDPR compliance and it is something Trew Knowledge is taking very seriously as it impacts several of our clients. For organisations we work with who are using WordPress, we are in the process of developing a set of tools to assist with them becoming compliant. This has certainly been challenging so far but we see this being an incredibly valuable tool for our clients and the WordPress community in general.

As an agency, we are always looking to grow. We are looking to bring on more talent that will allow us to not only expand our client services, but also be able to develop more product based solutions. We have had the pleasure of working with clients from hundreds of different industries, and each one offers its own unique set of challenges and opportunities.

Thank you, Anthony and Shawn!

More on Trew Knowledge:

Agency focus and specialties

  • Strategy
  • UI/UX Design
  • Customer Identity Management
  • Gamification & Loyalty
  • Custom WordPress.com VIP themes & plugins
  • Content & Data Migration
  • WooCommerce

Currently working with: The Canadian Olympic Committee, Corus Entertainment, Rubicon Project, Rakuten Viber, The Nation Network, Hip2Save, Barnes & Noble, Toronto Film School, Yorkville University, Sun Life Financial, Walgreens, Arizona State University, and the Justice Institute of British Columbia.

Agency highlights

  • Exclusive WordPress VIP partner in Canada
  • Preferred solution partners with Gigya and Zurb
  • Official honoree in the 18th annual Webby Awards for Best Sports website for Olympic.ca
  • 2017 W3 Award, Gold – Best mobile user-experience for Olympic.ca

Sailthru VIP Plugin Updated with Finer Controls

VIP technology partner Sailthru is a consumer interest based personalization platform purpose-built for publishers and retailers. It brings powerful capabilities to WordPress, like high-performance email, onsite personalization, and mobile marketing automation.

The WordPress integration brings it into the WordPress dashboard to seamlessly surface Sailthru and its insights within team workflow.  Site editors can also personalize onsite experiences by using Sailthru insight to post content that is most relevant to their users.

The newly updated plugin, version 3.1, brings more powerful and fine grained controls to the dashboard:

  • Streamlined setup
  • Deploy Sailthru’s latest JavaScript Tag easily to give you greater flexibility on how your site interacts with the Sailthru API
  • Ability to choose between deploying Sailthru JS or just tag manager
  • New fine grain control over source attribution for our list Subscribe Widget and ability to start flows in Lifecycle Optimizer
  • More control over transactional emails
  • Improvements to filters and hooks, giving your developers more control over functionality

VIP clients will find notes on transitioning to the new version in the Lobby(#).

Connect with Sailthru to learn more about how clients use the platform to deliver personalization across multiple channels.

 

 

Happy Second Birthday AMP

Today the AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) project turns two. As part of a look back and ahead, the AMP team at Google has shared impressive data today that quantifies its positive impacts on time spent on page (2X), traffic (10% increase), and sales conversions (20% increase compared to non-AMP.) We’re proud to be a part of AMP’s unfolding story, and to continue to make it easy for WordPress users, from the individual author to the largest global media and marketing organizations, to take advantage of these powerful open source tools.

Photo by Mo Jangda

From early on we saw AMP as an important project to support because of its core focus on improving the mobile web experience for both publishers and readers, and for its commitment to the open web. We were proud to be the first platform to integrate with AMP, and continue to iterate on the plugin to make it easy for millions of sites across the WordPress ecosystem to integrate AMP with just a few clicks. Most recently, version 0.5 of the plugin, released in August 2017, brought a host of new updates, like faster rendering, improved spec-compliance, new embed handlers for Vimeo, SoundCloud, Pinterest and Playbuzz, and easier addition of amp-analytics tags.

Across Automattic (including WordPress.com and VIP) hundreds of millions of client page views per month are delivered through AMP today. Over the last two years, many of our clients and partner agencies have customized and optimized the AMP experience for their particular needs, with impressive results.

Google’s AMP tech lead Malte Ubl

The New York Post has seen a 60%+ bump in average daily referrals coming from Google on mobile to their article pages since implementing AMP for all of those pages. VIP agency partner Alley Interactive, who handled the development, found most of what they needed in the standard plugin for WordPress, and layered in some front-end customization to closely match the look and feel of the Post’s standard pages. In the process, they even contributed code back to the core plugin to address bugs and add functionality.  This approach for the Post has delivered in both experience and performance:

“One of the most exciting things for us has been the ability to make our AMP pages feel like more of an organic extension of our mobile sites rather than a highly templated offsite platform. The average user cannot tell the difference between our mobile website pages and our AMP pages which is impressive. In other words, our AMP pages retain all the key components of our mobile web pages, are a true reflection of our brands, and we’ve improved performance in the process!”

-Michael Liss, Senior Director of Product & Project Management, Digital, New York Post

Media powerhouse PMC, representing 22 brands including Variety, Deadline, and TVLine, has implemented AMP for about half of their sites.  As reflects their approach to code reuse across the platform, they developed their own customized AMP plugin based on common needs for an initial set of their publications, and then rolled it out to several more shortly thereafter.

They are currently in the process of refining their approach to analytics and optimization based on iterative tests. One enhancement that has yielded strong results was when they published galleries in AMP with each slide as its own unique AMP page and URL, which both doubled page views and dramatically decreased load time.

And this Fall, the 9to5 network – including 9to5mac.com, 9to5google.com, 9to5toys.com, electrek.co, and dronedj.com – worked with VIP agency partner 10up to launch an updated AMP experience that brings them closer to embracing “AMP-first” just as much as “mobile first.”

“Our newest iteration brings the AMP reader’s experience much closer to that of our traditional responsive site. We can now deliver many of the supporting features that they have come to expect, like our familiar header and navigation, Disqus comments, and related and featured posts widgets. If you put the AMP view and mobile responsive “full” site side by side, you’ll see an incredibly similar layout and design. What’s more, this puts us on a path to take advantage of the AMP framework more and more as it continues to mature.”

-Seth Weintraub, Publisher, 9to5 Network

Left: AMP, Right: full site

We’re excited to see all of the amazing things our clients and the WordPress community as a whole are doing with AMP. For our part, we’ll continue to support the AMP experience with WordPress and extend the benefits it brings to publishers and readers alike. We want to cut an extra big slice of cake for the 400 folks who have contributed code to the project including a couple of Automatticians, and for our friends at Google for leading the charge. If you’re new to the project, consider coming out to the AMP Roadshow as it rolls through Europe and Asia in the upcoming months.

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