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INNOVATORS VS COVID 19

Nicolas Leune, CEO at YDCA Agency: “Human Relationships at all Costs”

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Nicolas LEUNE YDCA Agency

We talked to Nicolas LEUNE of YDCA Agency about digital communication and e-marketing and here is what he said about it.

First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?

Nicolas LEUNE: Thank you for asking. Unfortunately, times are complicated. I just learned this week that my parents have been infected by the Covid-19 despite all the precautions they took…

It is a very stressful time, during which I am learning a lot about myself. Fortunately, my wife and my young kids are doing well. 

Tell us about you, your career, how you founded YDCA Agency.

Nicolas LEUNE: I launched Yellowdotcomm Agency, which is a digital communication and e-marketing consulting & support agency, 12 years ago, after graduating from a Management Bachelor at the ESLCA PARIS, and, obtaining my Master’s degree in communication at the ECS Paris.

My observation at the time was simple. The customer was considered, too much, as a “checkbook on leg” as we say in French, without paying attention to the most important thing, which is the Human itself. Therefore, human and physical relationships remain very important to me today, even though we are under a lockdown or a curfew…

Since then, I have created Harmonia Luxus, a consulting agency for press relations and influence, and have partnered with the creative agency “God Save The Queen”. Together, we continue to work WITH and not FOR our customers.

How does YDCA Agency innovate?

Nicolas LEUNE: I think we can distinguish two different points. Firstly, in the Covid-19 context. Our main innovation might have been found simple ways to keep the human links we have built with our clients, and internally, with our colleagues. It was the case with a large number of companies, which like us, have had to reinvent and link back where some may have forgotten… On the other hand, it is our job to innovate, so we can provide our clients with the best tools and methods to meet their needs as much as we can. No more, no less. 

How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?

Nicolas LEUNE: In France, we had our first lockdown in March 2020. Until April, we held out. Behind, we lived three months extremely hard. So hard that I honestly thought we were going to bankrupt at the end of 2020. And the business came back from August 2020 and we end up growing, which was really unexpected. So, we decided to raise our targets for 2021, and aim for 100% growth in our current turnover.

Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?

Nicolas LEUNE: We’ve tried to keep jobs as safe as possible. We neither fire nor put our team members in partial unemployment (it was a huge bet, but finally it was profitable). We clearly bet on the future, and nowadays, we are very happy about what we achieved. Unfortunately, it is not the same for a lot of our colleagues out there, who had to file for bankruptcy…

However, today, we continue to pay attention and operate finely.

How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?

Nicolas LEUNE: We’ve always been agile and have adopted very soon decentralized working methods. We have evolved our clients on these methods in order to be able to work effectively with them. Besides, it was a tough point for me, very challenging. Making use of asynchronous communication tools like Slack, project management tracking with Trello or Asana, some were not necessarily comfortable with these tools… Especially since they themselves, were teleworking and had to deal with their own problems.

Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?

Nicolas LEUNE: We have received some help from the French Government, and our bank. We had an EMP (PGE In French), allowing us to anticipate hard times. We also had some financial support in the most difficult months.

Your final thoughts?

Nicolas LEUNE: I am confident about 2021, which has to be the year of positivity if we want to get out of this as a grown person.

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