Jonathan Bradford, Managing Director at KOTA, has joined our Q&A session.
He answered our questions about the digital transformation in the post-coronavirus era. He also shared how they maintain their agency culture and how their clients have been affected by the COVID-19.
You can read the full Q&A below:
Q1. The last two quarters have been challenging for the world. How has your team been faring? What’s next for them and for your agency?
We have a small and incredibly talented team that has adapted tremendously during this period. Our communication, productivity and quality of work has levelled up and I’m confident we will look back on this period as a real leap forward for our agency.
In fact, over the course of the next three months, we will be releasing our best work to date, so keep an eye out!
Q2. What challenges did you meet during the COVID-19 outbreak and how did you overcome them? What do you advise the ones facing the same?
Around 12 months ago, we took steps to trial “Work from anywhere Wednesday’s” with great success. It broke the week up into sprints and Wednesday was treated as a deeper working day. Without a doubt, it helped the team to adapt much more quickly when the world went into lockdown.
However, maintaining the company culture is a current challenge. We have managed to organise a few socially distanced meetups which have helped with morale. Right now, we are favouring a hybrid approach to working next year (2 days in the office and 3 days from home) but are exploring many possibilities. Communication within the team remains our most important objective. A flexible approach to the working week will most definitely benefit the agency.
Q3. Thankfully the majority of the digital agencies were already equipped and trained to work remotely. So during the outbreak, they were all able to work from home. However, we assume that you have clients from different sectors that are not familiar with online meetings. How do you manage video calls instead of in-person meetings with them? And how do your customers feel about it?
Interestingly, we’ve won a number of international clients during this year. These meetings were always going to take place online so our preparation did not change. We replaced whiteboards with miro.com to facilitate collaboration during the meetings. Some of our most successful projects are where we have onboarded our clients through Slack, communicating on a daily basis without being shackled to a Zoom meeting. Our approach is to respect our clients’ way of working and adapt our process to make them feel comfortable.
In instances where clients couldn’t come and visit us before finalising the agreement, we encouraged them to contact our existing clients. Most of our partnerships span over many years and hearing the kind words from established brands made winning work that bit easier.
Q4. What were the top three remote working tools which your team has been using, internally or externally, during the outbreak? And what are your thoughts on them?
Without doubt, Slack remains an integral part of our business, Google docs and miro.com for collaboration. We actually wrote a blog post on this topic just after the lockdown started, you can read it here.
Q5. What industries are your clients mainly focused on? How has COVID-19 affected these industries?
When we started KOTA, the majority of our clients were in hospitality, so mostly restaurants, bars and hotels. 7 years later we are working across multiple industries but it is our oldest partners who are struggling the most. It’s incredibly challenging for an industry with fine margins to adapt to what the government guidelines are, especially when changing on what seems like a weekly basis!
Luckily, the diversified sectors we cover have helped us to win great projects during this period. We are working with a luxury travel company, an AI company and a superyacht company, for example. We love the challenge of entering a new sector and creating impactful experiences for our clients.
Q6. The companies which have survived the first few months of the coronavirus outbreak have been getting back to business. We would love to hear your observations and experience regarding actions by different sectors during the post-COVID-19 era.
We found that we were able to attract more established businesses. For the first time, they had time to take a step back and consider the digital strategy by working on the business, not in the business. Larger companies who have invested in their brand, will now most likely come back even stronger in the future.
Q7. Digital marketing is evolving every day. And digital agencies are the ones who need to adapt quickly so as to success. With this fact in mind, can you mention some of your investment plans for business development in Q4?
Our reputation is always our best lead. We will be continuing to build stronger relationships with our existing client base, which in turn acts as our best lead. We invest in the expected areas such as PPC, SEO and partnerships, such as DAN, where we can showcase our best work, and can definitely see a return on those investments.
Q8. As an effect of the coronavirus pandemic, investments in digital marketing have been rising, which promotes higher competition between digital agencies. Considering all these, what are your plans to promote your business in the last quarter of 2020?
There are many amazing digital agencies. We believe our great design will always be the primary reason why we attract customers. From there it’s about showcasing our process, technical and digital marketing expertise, and most importantly an honest, human approach.