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Operating a digital agency in the ‘new normal’

Figuring out how to do great work in the wake of Coronavirus has been a steep learning curve. Here are some of the strategies we’ve employed to continue a culture of innovation in the most difficult of times.

The arrival of COVID-19 has turned the world upside down. Everything from family life to social interactions has felt the repercussions of this historic event.

Alongside all the life changes, there has been an inevitable effect on the way we work. When the pandemic started to close the country down, we faced the challenge of simply not being able to work the way we did before. Alongside this, there was a huge cultural shift for many of our clients to working at home. 

There seemed to be an unwritten rule that projects wouldn’t be as easily delivered if we were all working remotely. But, as days of lockdown turned to weeks and then months, we all began to realign our expectations, focusing on the importance of changing our approach rather than dwelling on the limitations.

Over time the expectations for sales and development returned, and we saw our clients adapting to a new way of working. Their needs changed, too—no longer were they just looking at their websites to generate leads. Instead, our clients wanted solutions that could connect into systems and platforms, improving everything from prospect engagement to retention.

Of course, the ability to do this online was already there—but the demand simply wasn’t. In short, COVID-19 changed mindsets and expectations, which has impacted the evolution of our own business. We’re now seeking to provide opportunities for companies to shift their entire business model; not only in reaction to the pandemic but as an opportunity to change every aspect of how they operate in the digital world.

Here are two of the biggest changes we’ve seen with our clients:

B2B clients now going direct to consumers

The downturn in B2B has caused businesses to seek out ways to link directly with end customers. This has, in turn, created different needs from their website and software. For forward-thinking B2B companies, it is now business-critical to invest in web technologies that support sales, marketing, and online software to automate the supply chain and provide an experience that consumers expect online.

Clients moving offline manual processes to a more automatic, online approach

We’ve seen an increase in clients wishing to connect websites to ERPs, CRMs and other online platforms. This not only provides a consumer-level user experience—it also reduces the manual processes involved in processing orders and maintaining data integrity between systems.

Of course, it’s not only our clients who have had to embrace change in order to thrive. We’ve implemented new ways of working in order to push through this period while maintaining growth.

Here’s how we’ve adapted:

  • The convoluted tradition of delivering a pitch in-person now feels largely irrelevant. We’ve been pitching and winning business via screen shares, and running interactive workshops with less down-time for client travel. Status and account management calls are now video calls, and we feel better connected as a result.
  • We found that we can deliver projects from inception to delivery with no face-to-face meetings. Although we’re a Manchester-based agency, we can now deliver overseas because the barrier of geography is no longer a problem. The pandemic has helped our mindsets change to what is possible, where we can do business, and how.

Alongside a change in thinking, our investment in software has helped us work in this new way, and could benefit your business too. We’ve found these solutions particularly useful:

  • Microsoft Teams – the lynchpin of our communications, pitch process, presentations, and file-sharing
  • Miro – ideal for workshopping, sharing whiteboards, design sprints, user flows
  • UXPin – our preferred tool for prototyping, wireframing, generating feedback at concept stage through the browser. Clients can feedback in real-time before budget is committed to design and development

Do you feel like your business needs to adjust its digital infrastructure to better navigate the ‘new normal’? Get in touch with us today to see how we can help.

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