We talked to Andrew Woods of Duckpin on how to integrate agency focus on creating complete and cohesive brand experiences and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Andrew Woods: I am very fortunate that my direct family and co-workers are all safe and healthy during these times.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Duckpin.
Andrew Woods: I co-founded Duckpin in 2013 with my colleagues Cara Bonadio and Chad Birenbaum. For many years at a packaging design firm, we had worked together and were interested in putting our creative skillsets into a more holistic approach to helping companies grow. We founded with expanded digital services like web strategy, digital marketing and advertising. Since then, we’ve been working on growing our offerings and innovating on our services.
How does Duckpin innovate?
Andrew Woods: Our driving innovation is team and client feedback, and we go out of our way to collect it – good or bad. After every project, we have “retrospect” meetings to discuss what went well and what wasn’t smooth. We collect “OGRES” from the team which stands for Obstacles, Glitches, Resistance, Errors and Static, and we work as a team to get ahead of them every week. Finally, after each completed project, we speak with our clients to get their perspective on our process, work quality, and communication. This highly active feedback loop drives our innovation in a very genuine way.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Andrew Woods: While Q2 2020 was a challenging time, I’m happy to say we’re finishing the year strong. As the severity of the pandemic came into view in March, businesses all over the region went into “cash flow protection” mode, and the phones stopped ringing so to speak. But we found that many businesses could adjust to the circumstances and get back on their feet quickly. By Q3, we were busy helping customers pivot their marketing and communications.
During the brief period where new business was down, we took advantage of the free time as a team improving our processes to come out of this better than when we entered.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Andrew Woods: Thankfully, we didn’t make any difficult choices. I’m very grateful that we were able to keep our entire team employed through these tough times and that we were able to find ways to accommodate our client’s hardships so we could continue our relationships with them.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Andrew Woods: I do my best to separate the things I can change from the things I can’t. Focusing on the things that will propel the business distracts my mind from negative factors out of my control.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Andrew Woods: Our competitors are just a handful of high-calibre agencies in the region, most of which have been around longer, are much larger and have built their reputation. We’re an emerging agency whose leadership doesn’t come from a “big agency” background. I see that as an opportunity to build a “big agency” from the ground up, each step of the way driven by client and team feedback and not past perceptions.
It has been the driver of our success so far and will continue to be. Ultimately, we’ll take the horror stories of big agency life (overworked, underpaid, high turnover, overpriced, quality work only goes to the 7-figure clients, etc.) and flip that around to a much more customer, consumer, and team-centric environment.
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