We talked to Vadim Orlov, founder of Embacy, an agency that creates branding identities and websites for digital companies, and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and Embacy Agency doing in these COVID-19 times?
Vadim Orlov: My team and I are doing fine. When the pandemic began, we decided to work remotely. In the first week, it was difficult to adapt to the new work format, but then we structured our workflow and introduced several rituals so that everyone could feel part of the team and stay human. For example, we have a company-wide call every morning where everyone can see each other, discuss not only work but everything else that’s been happening. Every Friday, we finish early and also get together on a call to discuss the past week and share our thoughts and plans for the weekend.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Embacy Agency.
Vadim Orlov: I started Embacy a few years ago. At first, it was a small agency that was engaged in the development of landing pages. Then we realized what we do best and what makes us unique. So we focused on what we do to achieve the best possible result: we don’t do app development, strategy, content, or any other part of marketing or ads; we only do branding identities and websites.
How do you improve your business?
Vadim Orlov: We are constantly improving our sprint workflow, with one sprint being five workdays, which gives us an undeniable advantage — high speed of work. Plenty of our clients are digital companies that are just entering the market or are forced to transform in a rapidly changing market. In such situations, the speed of work without loss of quality is important, and we can give it to them.
In just a month, we study their business and their niche, do analytics, come up with a unique idea based on which we make the branding identity and the website. Also, in our portfolio, there are works for large corporations that turn to us for a fresh and independent look at their brand. We provide them with the same speed and attentiveness, and they’re just delighted: in other companies, such work could take much, much longer.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Vadim Orlov: The financial situation in the company has not worsened; on the contrary, we take bigger projects, and our team grew too. The coronavirus pandemic has shown that companies whose business is built around a digital product will have a greater advantage in an unstable economy. I mean such areas as fintech, medtech, edtech. Every day we receive emails from founders or CEOs of various startups who have launched MVP of their products and now want to take their market share. How to do this if you have a young unknown company and a limited marketing budget? Of course, with the help of a memorable brand identity and a website that will emphasize all the advantages of the product. That is why we have clients, and there are no financial difficulties even in a pandemic.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Vadim Orlov: Embacy is growing rapidly. During the pandemic, our team more than doubled. The format of remote work allowed us to hire cool specialists from different cities and even countries. Now our team is represented not only in Moscow but also in London, Paris and many other cities. However, we have a long and thorough recruitment process because each employee must be not only a professional but also have common values with the whole team. We work with modern and fast-growing companies, open to change and new ideas, so we must be like this.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Vadim Orlov: Our relationships with clients are based on the principle of total transparency. Before starting the project, we provide full information about the deadline, scope of work, and the expected result, and we communicate with them using e-mail and Google Meet. We lead all projects in Figma and Notion, to which each client has full access. This allows them to observe our work in real-time and always be aware of what stage their project is at. For communication within the company, we use Slack, Google Meet, and Telegram.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Vadim Orlov: Embacy is a completely independent company.
Your final thoughts?
Vadim Orlov: Freedom is the cornerstone of our company’s philosophy. By freedom, we mean the opportunity to be ourselves, to do what we like, and work with who we like. Such freedom can only be achieved through professionalism. For us, each of our projects can’t be just “good enough” — we have to stay professional to maintain our freedom.
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