Today we have selected Shamil Shamilov to take his interview. He is the Founding Partner of dNOVO Group.
First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?
Well, most brick-and-mortar businesses suffered in a major way during the onset of Covid. Being a fully digital operation, we assumed this would not slow us down. However, for the initial 4-6 months, we did experience a significant slowdown since many of our paused or reduced their ad budgets. In comparison to other businesses, one should not complain, I guess, especially since it did pick up relatively quickly.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined this company?
Well, I have been in digital marketing for a decade now. As a partner at another agency, I saw my share of marketing scenarios and promoted dozens of companies in all sorts of industries. I joined that outfit as an account manager shortly after arriving in the GTA, and in a year, had an opportunity to grow into a partner role. The guy who ran the firm was an excellent teacher, and I tried to be a good protege. Over the years, we have had quite the history, growing the business, focusing on different products, etc.
Yet like all good things, we decided to part ways, and three years ago, I went on my own. We rebranded and began focusing on the legal field. dNOVO comes from the Latin denovo, which means anew, it’s often used in law, so I thought it was a perfect name for the agency.
It is an odd feeling since I ran an agency for years yet now had to do under a new brand and alone.
How does your company innovate?
Technology is one thing; it evolves, changes and new ways to market become available, yet true innovation is in the service. We try to reverse engineer what our clients want and need. We cannot please everyone. Thus we work with a specific niche and do everything to solve their day-to-day struggles, dilemmas, and marketing challenges. A strong, interconnected team is the key, and we have developed specific communication protocols with clients where they feel that we are right there with them every step of the way.
Being preemptive is the key; we always address issues before they become problems and flow marketing trends to offer the latest to the clientele.
How the Coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
The initial onset of the pandemic has slowed the business to a halt virtually overnight, yet as mentioned prior, it began to pick up in a few months. Luckily for us, while some of our legal clients experienced a slowdown, we also had many home improvement companies for marketing. As you know, that economic sector began to boom as people stayed in and worked from home. We picked up a few new clients, and the legal side began to come around over time. Overall, it allowed us to reflect, make adjustments, and come out stronger and more innovative. I believe that every challenge is an opportunity in disguise. Such events teach you what is important, and our relationships were the clear winner. We had done work pro-bono for some clients and maintained all the staff when companies laid people off and took care of each other and the clients.
Did you have to make difficult choices and the lessons learned?
There is a saying that Fear has big eyes; I must admit that the initial lockdown left us with a feeling of frustration. Yet, as you go through it one day at a time and support each other, it makes facing the challenges easier. We also learned how to manage costs better while not compromising the quality of the service. A few basic adjustments often make all the difference.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Keeping things simple is key. While the developers might be used to more specific project management tools, the marketing team has to incorporate various aspects, such as social media, design, content marketing; thus, using simple project management tools is crucial.
The same goes for communicating with clients. We have adopted some basic daily tools to provide effortless, real-time communication amongst the whole team. Zoom, Trello is amongst these tools.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Innovation, great customer service, and results keep us competitive. We are very aggressive in our marketing efforts and have an arsenal of tools and strategies to provide value and positive ROI to our clients.
We are forward-thinking and care for our reputation. And we have a value proposition like a few players in the market while staying within a niche keeps us more specialized.
Your final thoughts
Challenges experienced during any crisis promote ways of how to come with them. Yet, in a more stable environment, many get complacent. I think learning from this and staying lean and prepared is key.
Also, open communication within the team about both successes and shortcomings is key to keeping everyone on the same page and looking in the same direction.
Lastly, no room for negativity in the ranks is one of the most valuable keynotes that keep the company striving forward.
- Spokesperson: Shamil Shamilov
- Company: dNOVO Group
- Website link: https://dnovogroup.com/