Why we’ve introduced ‘Strategy Day’ at Evergreen

By Aaron Rudman-Hawkins
January 21, 2022
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For this week’s business update I thought I’d share an insight into something we do at Evergreen that really helps the entire team stay on track and always deliver fantastic results. Strategy Day.

To highlight the benefits of Strategy Day and why it’s been such a game-changer for us, I need to explain a little more about our set-up and how we work, so here goes.

At Evergreen we have 25-30 clients currently, these clients are a mix of serviced-based SMEs and retail brands. For the most part, their campaigns include a mix of SEO, PPC, Content Marketing, Digital PR, Link Building and Creative all built into a digital strategy/vision for the client from the very start of their campaign.

We work with all our clients on rolling 90-day cycles, meaning we plan in advance and set clear parameters, objectives and deliverables on a quarterly basis across all the disciplines we provide here at Evergreen.

So effectively we plan, we get sign off, we execute, we report, we repeat.

Now we all know agency life is hectic, it’s fast paced and you’re constantly juggling many things. It’s very easy for those in our teams to be swept up in the ‘doing’ and not question the reasons why or look at the bigger picture. We’ve experienced this over the years, just like most agencies have.

We identified some issues

Within the existing 90-day cycles there was a window, typically around a fortnight where focus and energy would turn from the doing into the thinking/planning ahead for our clients for the next quarter or two.

The various departments would take their most recent work, learning and discoveries into a planning session and forecast ahead for that client, looking at key dates and what is coming up.

Our various department heads would come together, build out a plan and present it to the client for sign off. This is great and it worked well, but we have observed a couple of issues with this way of working:

We were doing the strategic thinking/planning for all clients in a relatively short window, meaning it felt like an intense couple of weeks where the team needed to bring lots of ideas and innovation to lots of meetings in quick succession, and we all know pressure kills creativity.

Outside of that 2-3 week strategy/planning window within a quarter, it seemed to us that everyone was in ‘doing’ mode – it was heads-down getting through the work without enough time to step back and review whether things were on track and if the work being done was the right, most important work.

We thought there must be a better way… and there was.

Introducing Strategy Day

The idea is incredibly simple – the best ideas always are – we found ourselves asking:

“What if we spread that 2-week strategy window over the entire quarter, so had one Strategy Day every week to break things up?”

Genius!

As soon as it was aired in the room there was a collective look around as if to say, “how on earth have we not thought of this before now?!”.

With Strategy Day being every week, we could:

Keep the ‘thinking’ for our client accounts top of mind throughout the quarter.

We would have a set day every week to have team ideation sessions and have the time to allow our creativity to flourish.

It would remove the pressure of having to do all things strategy in a short, pressured time frame.

It would allow every individual to take their ideas for the clients they are working on at a given time and build them out for future 90-day cycles while they are fresh in their minds.

It would give the entire agency a day to down-tools and think about the bigger picture for every client.

It would allow the team to build their client strategies in a way that suited them – some of the team (the creative ones) can brainstorm 2-3 clients in a day and have loads of ideas, whereas others (the techy guys) need focused, uninterrupted time to mine the data and pull together clear and concise objectives for the upcoming quarter.

Needless to say, we came out of that meeting and implemented this straight away, and the team loved it. They could all see the value in this immediately and I’m glad to say since embedding this into our working routine, it’s worked like a charm.

This is just one good learning we’ve taken from recent months and are now rolling with in 2022. It’s simple but proving to be hugely effective and maybe there is something in this for you and your business?

How often does your team take a zoomed-out view of their work and look at the bigger picture? It’s something to mull over with your morning coffee, eh?

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