An agile approach prepares you for the unexpected

By Clare Friel, Friel
Before starting my own business, the word agile was something I only associated with fitness. Yet, over the past two years I have learnt that it has everything to do with business, and more so than ever, an agile approach has been key to navigating through the pandemic.
Published in Suffolk Director Magazine, Summer 2021
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Agile can mean an alternative approach which we have all become accustomed to, in both our personal and professional lives. When COVID hit we all felt it straightaway, and from a marketing agency’s perspective it was a time when we were needed all the more by our clients, to ensure their businesses kept visible when they were unable to network, or even leave the house.

All hands-on deck!

However, we are all human, and for most of us, we held our heads in our hands and wondered how we were going to retain work when everyone was battening down the hatches. Job descriptions quickly went out the window. It was all hands-on deck to make sure we could pivot and reassess our clients’ new needs to fit the changing landscape.

People, processes, technology all became agile. Our clients’ content can sometimes be created up to three months in advance, so the breaking news meant that we had to review all our pre-scheduled work. Also, we had to have virtual meetings with all clients to see how the unknown was going to affect their businesses and, in some cases, change their tone of voice on social media. The hard sell approach was replaced with more people-focused news.  

Working from home had its challenges too with Zoom and Teams becoming the new normal. From kids walking in demanding to be fed, to clients’ partners walking in half dressed (definitely a client’s partner and not mine) we all adjusted; we all had to become agile whether we wanted to or not.

Agile working is not new to Friel

COVID aside, as a marketing agency we have always had that element of agile working. There are always new technologies emerging which need to be incorporated into our clients’ marketing strategies. TikTok was born in 2016 but really took off in 2020, therefore we had to become experts in it very quickly. Even existing platforms kept us on our toes. Our friends at LinkedIn like to change their algorithm regularly, so we always have to make sure we know what they are looking for, to ensure our clients get the most visibility and engagement on their posts.

Being an agile business has allowed us to adapt to market changes and react fast to clients’ needs and expectations. Without compromising on quality, an agile approach has meant we have grown as a company. Before COVID, we were a flexible organisation anyway, with some members of staff working around school hours, or to accommodate the needs of family life. However, the future of working in the post-pandemic world has seen more companies across all sectors adopting a more flexible, agile approach, and for most employees that is a positive outcome in the quest for a better work/life balance.

How that will affect businesses remains to be seen, but agile working is being built into strategies and if COVID has taught us anything, it’s to be prepared for the unexpected!

Clare Friel is Director and Founder of Friel. For more information E: clare@frielgood.com 

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