Travelling the world from our agency bar
By Managing Creative Director, David Guy
The second best thing we ever did as an agency* was put a fully functioning bar in our large meeting room – turning it into a shrine to premium spirits, wines, beers and top-level conversations with our team and clients.
This tale is about something we recently put into the bar, which has transformed it (again). It was a call with a large international client who requested a ‘Zoom’ video call that brought in this cool new change. After I had googled Zoom and found out I’d be video calling between Miami and Edinburgh, I set up my laptop for the meeting and, sure enough, it behaved appallingly. Therefore, I reverted to my iPhone. Unfortunately, alongside a dodgy camera shake, I picked up a painful £67 call charge as it wasn’t on WI-FI and I had chosen an expensive UK/US tariff option. Those that know Guy & Co know that we don’t like to stay in bad beta form for long. We saw the potential of this technology, and within 10 days our IT guys had a conference quality camera and microphone installed to a hard wired and powerful new computer, with pre-programmed position set-up and incredible sound pick-up. We hooked this up to our big screen and were ready to roll with Zoom.
And what an application. (And no, we’re not on commission!). A stable, easy interface, cost effective and packed with unique functions, Zoom makes global client meetings from our bar a reality. I love when technology creates game-changing moments and this was one (my first was the switch from overhead projectors to PowerPoint and never having to damn my nervously shaking hands for dropping the meticulously ordered agency presentation films ever again…). We particularly like the ability to share screens and give other users control to pick out points they want to discuss in our or their work. Next step will be to run qualitative consumer groups and host live webinars.
Now, for most agencies and clients, video conference capability is nothing new. But what I think is new is applications, such as Zoom, that are reducing the barriers to entry to make the experience stable, enjoyable and not cost prohibitive. I’m sure they will be one of those unicorn companies, like Uber and Airbnb, that will be greatly rewarded for just making things easy and work.
The other thing that is vital in this virtual meeting tale is enthusiasm; we employ quite a few millennials and it’s taken the determination of this generation X-er who refuses to think old to trail-blaze the agency adopting this tech; learning it, practising and advocating its virtues. I guess us X-men and -women can tap into our mutant gene to embrace any technological change and harness it for great productive creativity and operational efficiency!
*The best thing we ever did was develop a specialist creative and research agency proposition which brings both agility and efficiency in bringing great ideas to market at pace. But that’s another story.