Treading water with COVID.

There’s no denying it, times, they are a-changin’ and while it can be tempting to place all the blame squarely at COVID, the elephant has been in the room the whole time – we’ve just been too afraid to look it in the eye.
February 9, 2021
Words by
5 minute read

Change is the driving force behind evolution and expansion, change is the only constant, change is our friend...even though it might not always feel that way. As we witness some of our longest-standing friends, suppliers and fellow agencies endure hardship or shut their doors for good we also see a lot of victories being won. There are lessons to be learned here and positive opportunities exist for those who are able to adapt and reflect the present reality. Our pace of change as a society is dizzying but digital agencies are in the best possible position to restore some sanity (and profits) to the marketplace. First, we must connect with the times.

Consumers demand more. Forget about e-commerce unless you can deliver in less than 48 hours. Forget about TV channels. Forget about taxis. Forget about ‘no refunds’. We want it all and we want it now and it better be damn good. Fair enough, this forces business-owners to adapt and evolve to meet the growing demand for speciality and excellence. If you and your team don’t love at least some of what you do then it’s going be a rocky ride.

Let’s not forget sharing-economy platforms like Amazon, Shopify and myriad others that enable people to steer their own financial destiny from the comfort of their own homes. Consumers are producers now too and if you don’t have anything of real value to offer then there’s always the Instagram influencer route, life coaching (at age 21) on Facebook or perhaps spiritual educator on YouTube. All of these consumers who are producers require digital services, brands, websites, marketing etc. which has resulted in the proliferation of gig/freelance culture (think Fiverr, 99 Designs, Upwork etc.) which is only further ignited by social media.

The net worth of the above means that quality, cheap, junior talent has become more accessible to the general public than ever before. Why would you spend 5 years fighting tooth and nail to climb up the career ladder when you can be the ‘Creative Director’ and influencer straight out of university? It also means that for every new pitch there are a ton of 1 or 2 (wo)man ‘agencies’ offering to get it done for ‘cheaper’ and of course, the client is none-the-wiser to the inner working of the creative process and what an agency with years of experience is really able to offer. It’s okay, we know.

“It also means that for every new pitch there are a ton of 1 or 2 (wo)man ‘agencies’ offering to get it done for ‘cheaper’”

So where to from here? We’ve spent the majority of 2020 exploring new ways to offer value and we’ve also been speaking to other agencies to learn about how they’re adapting. Here’s what’s been working:


Instead of the usual 4 - 8-week strategy, branding, design & development cycle we get it done in under 3 weeks. It requires commitment and active client participation but it’s fun, effective and rewarding. The results are often groundbreaking since deep, collaborative focused work is a rare and powerful gift in the age of distraction.

This is valuable because what we’re finding is that people really do want things faster and it’s something that we’re able to offer while not compromising on quality or results.

Human Connection

It doesn’t matter how cute your marketing strategy is or if you email clients little custom pics with their name on coffee cups or whatever people are over being sold to. People don’t want to talk to a brand, they want to connect with a human, this is particularly true if you’re B2B or service-based and not as relevant if you’re selling a product.

Increased Flexibility, Understanding and Scaling Services

This might mean:

  1. Flexible payment terms
  2. Adaptive processes
  3. Extra revisions
  4. Deeper investment in their project; more research, more hand-holding, etc.
  5. Seeking outside help from new contractors, strategies etc.
  6. Collaboration with other agencies

Thank you for taking the time to read, creating this kind of content is new for us and we’d love your feedback. Our goal is to provide relevant, insightful content that is useful for business owners and agencies alike – We’d love to hear from you!