First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Raphael Guintoli: We are living in a very disturbing period. The covid-19 emerged a few months after we opened our Singapore operations. We had several active clients at that time, and it became increasingly difficult to have conversations in meeting rooms. Fortunately, our existing customers didn’t cut their budgets, and we maintained the same level of commitment in our execution, without in-person meetings. So far, none of my family members were infected by the virus, but we’re all very concerned.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Agencygmedia.
Raphael Guintoli: I founded Agencygmedia in early 2020, a digital marketing agency focusing on creating value for large brands. Initially, in Hong Kong, we also partnered with clients in Singapore and France. Prior to that, I have been very fortunate to work in companies where I learned tremendously in every aspect. Academically speaking, I studied law undergraduate before enrolling in a business school for a master. It certainly opened doors to me as I was lucky enough to work for LinkedIn, Accenture, or even WPP, switching from performance marketing, account management, and lately, marketing strategy roles.
How does Agencygmedia innovate?
Raphael Guintoli: At Agencygmedia, we use to say we are saving headaches to large firms marketing departments. We try to avoid the complexity of the multi-layered decision-making process by onboarding clients on a collaboration based on a holistic execution ranging from web design, innovative marketing strategies, and execution through social and paid-media. We are innovating as we allow our clients to choose an agency instead of going through several hiring phases (creative process, copywriting, performance marketing analyst, etc.) Whatever their size, companies can rely on us and focus on their core business rather than hiring a team for advertising.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Raphael Guintoli: 2020 was certainly not the easiest year of the decade to start a business. That being said, with a lot of determination and resilience, there are still ways to convince marketing decision-makers – but budgets are shrinking, there is no doubt about it, especially regarding SMEs.
I would say that we are coping by doubling down on what matters most for our clients and always try to deliver more than expected.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Raphael Guintoli: A few months ago, we were approached by a Japanese brand who wanted to execute a large street-advertising plan with subway ads, outdoor panel… Given the situation, we had to cancel this very exciting project and review the scope of work as we were afraid of not being able to execute the project properly. This is a choice we don’t regret, given the circumstances.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Raphael Guintoli: I have to say we are living in a very stressful period. The fact that we can’t have an in-person meeting is really annoying. Don’t get me wrong. I am a technology-enthusiast kind of person. But I’m convinced that it’s always great to meet your partners and stakeholders in-person at least periodically. I’m sure the situation will get better very soon.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Raphael Guintoli: It’s a very competitive field. We help customers of a certain size, but we voluntarily remain reachable to SME’s. We are more efficient and reliable than most agencies and still way more affordable than large ad conglomerates like WPP and other big names.
We plan to strengthen our position by keeping adding as much value as possible to our clients, whatever their size, and delivering more than expected.
Your final thoughts?
Raphael Guintoli: I believe there is light at the end of the tunnel, all the time. If the virus is obviously a hurdle we have to deal with, it also highlights new ways of doing things and collaborate. A lot of companies will probably keep some ways of working after the pandemic.