Culture eats strategy for breakfast; Digital eats everything else for lunch
By Digital & Social Manager, Laura Jack
I think it’s an understatement to say that the thought of the country, and world, closing down for an unknown amount of time was worrying, unnerving and overall terrifying back in March. There was a lot of talk about industries slowing down, projects and plans going on hold and that left the majority of us with a sinking feeling of uncertainty.
What is going to happen to the industry?
Are our clients going to cope?
However, I don’t think many people anticipated the complete dependency that we would develop for the digital-sphere. From Zoom to Microsoft Teams, digital software and platforms allowed businesses, organisations and whole industries to form a new way of working and enable them to stay afloat during these choppy waters.
Not only that but digital content boomed, creating an even more saturated environment than before. Government updates about coronavirus fought with media hype and fakenews; tips about how to make the best banana bread or how to TikTok bombarded our social feeds. So how do you get clients’ content out there and recognised within this new digital landscape and heightened noise?
If lockdown gave me time to do anything, it was to take a step back and really hone in on how to navigate digital platforms for our clients. And more so, it gave us time as an agency to do more internal learning and skill sharing. We took our internal training series, Lunch & Learns, virtual and focused them on hot digital topics: what makes engaging content? How have e-commerce habits changed and how can they be exploited?
Some of our top tips discussed during these sessions were:
- Using your own data for learnings is essential
- Videos are still number 1 for engagement
- Boosted posts are the norm and without them you’ll be left behind
- Brand honesty is the best policy
- The fewer clicks you have, the easier the sell will be
It also allowed us time to give back and work with some charities, who, with cuts to their fundraising income and internal resource, needed help more than ever. One very worthy charity we helped was Families First, who work with young people in need of additional support. They wanted a brand and digital overhaul to help signal a confident new chapter and arm them to support families remotely. We developed an upbeat and ownable new brand identity and built a website that would help users better navigate their services and access useful resources online. But for me it was important we didn’t just build it for them; I helped train their team on WordPress so they could come out the other end upskilled and able to take on updates themselves afterwards. The old ‘give a man a fish…’ analogy came to mind, and it was a really rewarding experience, allowing this charity to advance leaps and bounds during a time when they most needed it.
We also recognised the importance of retaining our culture remotely, and weekly catch-ups in the bar seamlessly moved to virtual drinks over Zoom. However, after getting accustomed to the routine of working from home, how do we keep ourselves motivated and engaged, and most importantly how do we keep the same buzz we would have in the office from our homes? It’s very easy to roll out of bed, sit at the dining room table all day and then move your body to the sofa. It’s almost too easy, in fact.
We flipped the weekly fitness challenges from our insurance provider, Vitality, into weekly creative challenges called Guytality. We were challenged on everything from lockdown cocktail creations to poetry to wacky hairstyles, and each week all entries were drawn for someone to win £50 for themselves and £50 for a nominated charity. Not only did these help us to stay creative but it meant at the end of the week we knew we’d all be coming together again to catch up, show off our wonderful creations…maybe even embarrass ourselves.
It’s been a rocky time to say the least but the one thing that everyone has in common is the need for digital and that won’t be going away. Living and working digitally is the new norm so it’s important to be on board.