Today we have selected Javan Bramhall To to take his interview. He is The Founder Of Digital Glue.
First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?
Overall we’re doing well. As a business, we’ve worked hard to focus on team well-being and engagement throughout this period. We’ve built-in better communication habits and tried to make sure we find ways to socialize and work. On a personal level, the challenge of home school can’t be ignored, but we’re doing okay!
Businesswise, we continue to grow and remain focused on the task.
We’ve been working at home since the first lockdown and came to the office in bubbles when restrictions allowed but have since returned to work at home for the foreseeable.
Tell us about yourself, your career, and how you founded or joined this company.
I began working for ITV in media sales after leaving university before joining a PR firm.
I joined a client of the PR agency, a distributor called Color Confidence, and during 6 years in this business was able to get exposure to PR, web, marketing, sales, and leadership.
I have always wanted to run my own business, and after a brief spell at another agency, I struck out. I believed a company should be driven by a core set of values and wanted to go out on my own and build a company that did that.
I started Digital Glue in 2013 from a spare room, then a garden office. Since then, we’ve grown into a full-service agency with a current team of 15, which we plan to grow over the next year.
How does your company innovate?
As an agency, innovation needs to come for ourselves and our clients, and it needs to be an ongoing state of mind. People think of innovation as a big lightbulb moment, and while that has a place, I think most innovation comes from listening to what customers need and responding with your best responses.
We use several processes to help this. One tool is our ‘sh*t’ ideas board, where any team member can write an idea they have to improve the business. That idea then stays on the board for a couple of weeks for people to look at. We’ll then take another look at it to see if, after time, the idea is beneficial or if we just got carried away with it at the moment. (The worst ones are usually mine!)
For clients, we use a quarterly strategic review process each quarter. This is a thorough look at what we’re doing and achieving, the client’s objectives, and the market around them to ensure we’re regularly keeping up with the changing landscape and coming up with new ways to help our client’s businesses grow.
As a creative company, we believe mistakes are a good thing that helps us learn and improve, and we’re constantly testing and trying out new things. With that, while mistakes occur, we can learn from them to stop them from happening again.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
At first, it was a worry; people were understandably cautious with money, and cash became an issue, but this eased, and in reality, we were back at full speed by the summer. Our clients have stuck with us, and many have added new services to what we offer them.
We adapted the business plan quickly at the start of the pandemic and came up with crying scenarios depending on the worst-case vs. mid-range impact. As we approached the end of the year, we were on course to achieve results at the better end of this scale and have grown year on year.
Despite being out of the office and the hardships that come with that, we’ve managed to stick to our values and keep a bit of normality throughout the team.
We continue to have weekly team meetings and coffee breaks in our calendars. We still finish early on Fridays to jump on a call, have a drink to switch off, and stay in contact in a less formal setting.
I believe everything is something you can learn from, and the pandemic has delivered learning opportunities in spades. We’re forever adapting to be the best we can be as a team and company.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons?
I think we’ve been quite lucky as a business. We haven’t had any rash decisions and always made decisions with the team in mind. We offered the team a temporary 10% pay cut or one team member furloughed when the pandemic first shut down the office, but the team took a pay cut which only lasted for one month, and we were able to pay that back in the summer.
We’ve learned that our team is a strongly knit unit, and working from home hasn’t been as big of a problem as first feared. We’ve been able to look at our clients’ businesses and ourselves as a business and make tweaks and improvements to ensure we’re offering the best possible service.
One key lesson for us has been that you cannot communicate enough! We have always been transparent as a business, but it’s been great to see that the more we share, the better the team responds.
The other key lesson has been that projects take longer with full WFH. Building websites or running creative projects without the ability to work side by side has been much more drawn out and time-consuming. We’ve got great systems in pace, but it’s not the same!
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
We’ve been using Google Drive throughout, and it is helpful to have a work-in-progress file that can be easily edited. We’ve also been using Monday.com, an incredible app that allows you to plan projects and timelines easily.
Regarding management skills, nothing has changed in my view since the crisis. I allow each member of the team to be intuitive and forge their path in their career. I let them learn from their mistakes and learn more about what they want to learn. An example of this is our development plans (PDP), where we write down both personal and business goals, and it’s then up to that person to devise a strategy for achieving these goals.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game? Your final thoughts
We only really compete with ourselves. Numerous agencies are doing their own thing, and we’re trying to do ours. We compete to ensure we’re delivering on our promises and living by our values which are important to us.
We know what we can offer to a client and what we can’t, and we make sure that if we can’t give 100%, we won’t commit to working with them. It’s good to compare yourself to other agencies; if you can’t see what your USP is compared to them, you have a problem.
About Digital Glue
Digital Glue is a full-service, integrated communication and creative agency. We exist to help people and businesses maximize their potential.
We specialize in making the complex, understandable, and mundane stand out. We connect technical and B2B businesses with their customers through copy and design, which is the audience focused, and campaigns that deliver ROI.
Digital Glue’s clients across various industries, including professional services, venture capital firms, technology, and charities. Our values guide Digital Glue – so much so that, we, made them part of our office.
- Spokesperson: Javan Bramhall
- Company: Digital Glue
- Website: https://digitalglue.agency/