Adam Griffith, the Managing Director at Luminary, answered our questions about the impacts of COVID-19.
Adam Griffith has been living in Wodonga, a different city in Australia, for the last four years. In other words, Luminary has had a (mostly) remote MD for that whole time. Luminary has already had a distributed team for many years, and remote work has already been well established among their team, but this is the first time that the whole team has worked remotely at the same time.
You can enjoy reading the Q&A below, which draws attention to the importance of websites when it comes to digital transformation.
Q1. Digital transformation for companies and brands has become almost mandatory in a very short time. As a digital agency, how are you handling this process? Can you please share some concrete examples elaborating your digital transformation process?
Digital transformation is a core part of what we do at Luminary. As such, we have a well-established process for how we scope and deliver on our digital transformation engagements. Our four-stage process covers Exploration, Strategy, Ideation and Refinement, and is based on the traditional ‘double diamond’ consulting methodology.
Phase 1: Exploration – In this initial phase we align our team with the client’s market landscape and the context of the project. We conduct research based on both internal sources (stakeholder interviews, sales reports and business strategy documents etc) and external sources (industry trends, competitor research and customer research).
Phase 2: Strategy – This phase sees us filter the findings from the Exploration phase in order to recommend a way forward. We use a range of activities such as user personas and journey mapping to make sense of the data we have collected.
Phase 3: Ideation – In this phase we bring research, ideas and inspiration to a facilitated ideation workshop, aimed at uncovering creative ideas for solutions, features and improvements. At the completion of this phase we will have explored new and innovative ways of solving problems and investigated how we can borrow from leading examples to deliver the transformation.
Phase 4: Refinement – This phase sees us refine and build out the ideas from the Ideation phase. We develop a range of prototypes that we can test and iterate on with users and organisational stakeholders. Finally, we create a roadmap that contains the timelines, resource requirements and action plan, with clear KPIs attached to each output.
Q2. Can you share some precautions you have taken to continue business as usual during the COVID-19 outbreak?
While we have had a distributed team for many years, and remote work is common among our team, this is the first time that our whole team has worked remotely at the same time. We responded immediately to increase our systems’ capacity to ensure every team member could carry out their job as if they were in the office. Cloud solutions like Microsoft Azure, Confluence, Jira, Google Meet, Zoom, Slack, Accelo, all helped to make this transition smooth.
A weekly marketing meeting between Managing Director Adam Griffith and Marketing Manager Tami Iseli pictured above
Much of what we’ve been doing to ensure business, as usual, can continue has been assisting our clients with transitioning to remote working tools. We’ve also doubled down on our process for running remote workshops, which you can read about here.
Q3. What industries are your clients mainly focused on? How has COVID-19 affected these industries?
We work across a number of industries and we’ve seen a varied impact across those industries.
In the charity and not-for-profit space, we’ve seen our clients recognise the need to engage even more with digital to drive donations and donor engagement.
In the financial services space, we’ve seen clients being impacted from a revenue and administration perspective, resulting in a need to communicate more, mostly through digital.
In other industries, like entertainment and hospitality we’ve seen an obvious reduction in spend and activity, despite a desire to continue down the path of digital transformation.
Q4. What are your insights into digital transformation within different industries? How do you think they will evolve?
From what we’ve seen, the differences in approach to digital transformation are not centred so much on the industry as on size. COVID-19 has forced all organisations to move down the path of digital transformation more quickly. For SMEs this hasn’t been as painful, but the larger the organisation, the higher the likelihood of there being entrenched legacy systems and legacy ways of working. So the effort required to move those cogs within a larger organisation is a lot greater. The smaller you are, the more nimble you generally are.
Also, organisations that are not used to working remotely or sharing files and accessing tech remotely are struggling. In some cases, security and governance policies have traditionally constrained their ability to work remotely so they just don’t have the experience with it. By contrast, organisations that have already started down the path to digital transformation have fared a lot better.
So size, combined with where an organisation is at in its digital journey (as well as the need to be physically present, for example, in retail) all play a part in determining how well organisations are managing.
In terms of how things are likely to evolve, we are seeing a lot of transitioning into the cloud so that information can be accessed from anywhere. We’re also seeing clients move towards more agile and collaborative ways of working. This is something Luminary has put quite a strong focus on over the last few years, so we are finding a lot of our clients are turning to us to help them make that transition.
Q5. Companies are now investing more on various digital channels. Based on your know-how in digital marketing, which sectors should focus on investing in which digital channels?
The impact of COVID-19 has meant that pretty much all organisations are looking at digital more. Most have less to spend though, so they’re not necessarily investing more at this stage. It’s a question of how you allocate the money you have. However you slice it up, the website is still the hub of your digital presence. All organisations should ensure that their website is up to scratch because any other digital channel you invest in – whether it’s advertising, design or experiences – ends up channelling back through to your website.
Q6. After the COVID-19 crisis, it is expected that the need for digital agencies will increase. Companies will invest in digital more than ever. In this case, why do you think they should partner with your digital agency?
It really comes down to organisational fit. If someone is after a small brochure-style website on WordPress, then Luminary is not going to be the right agency. Our services are really geared towards medium-to-large, digitally mature organisations that value their digital presence, with their website at the core of that. What we offer is a tightly integrated digital ecosystem that is effective and efficient, and built on a modern tech stack. We’ve proven over our 20-plus years in business that we have what it takes to survive and thrive during an economic crisis – of which we’ve seen a few. We’ve also been able to advise our clients on getting through downturns, at the same time as helping them get the most out of their investments in digital.
Q7. Are there any practices that you have adjusted during COVID-19 that you would like to continue after this crisis ends? (e.g. remote working)
While our remote working practices were already well established, the main adjustment we’ve noticed is that our clients are now aligning to the ways of working that we’ve proven to be successful. While we’re looking forward to seeing our clients in person, we suspect there will be more of this style of working in the future. As an agency that has been carbon neutral for the past two years, we see the minimisation of commuting and travel as one of the key benefits of this new way of working.
One of the regular Friday training sessions since lockdown pictured above
Q8. How does being a DAN member contribute to your agency’s success?
DAN has given us the opportunity to reach a wider audience to share our story. It also gives us the opportunity to present Luminary along with some of the best agencies in the world, and to be part of the community that comes along with that.
Luminary has been creating award-winning digital experiences since 1999. They specialise in large-scale projects implemented with Kentico, Episerver, Sitecore & Umbraco.