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“Pivot, pivooooot, pivooooot!”

If you haven’t seen Ross Gellar shouting this out in the television series, Friends, whilst trying to navigate carrying a massive couch up a spiral staircase, then firstly, you need to go watch Friends, but secondly, it’s okay, because you can probably relate to the feeling regardless.

For many agencies and other small businesses, the arrival of Covid-19 was much like carrying a massive couch up a spiral staircase.

This mini downloadable guide will provide some insight and input into how your agency can ensure they’ll be able to pivot within, and re-adjust to, a new normal in a world after Covid-19.

In this guide you will learn about:

  • why digital transformation is crucial for agility
  • ways you could restructure your agency
  • how to foster a culture of innovation
  • the importance of integrative systems.

 

 

Silversoft hosted a webinar earlier this quarter to discuss how agencies can make more strategic scheduling decisions with Deltek WorkBook. The vital component of creating a real-time project schedule within your agency is often over-looked, and we chatted through how to easily create a project schedule to reach your campaign goals.

The creative brief is the unsung hero of the campaign process.

At least that’s what McDonald’s former global marketing director, Joe Talcott believes, calling it “one of the most valuable and paradoxically most neglected tools marketers have to create good work”.

The creative brief is not just important to agencies. When well-executed, it’s a key element that helps every member of your internal marketing team, as well as all outsourced agencies, clearly understand the goals and constraints of the campaign.

Attempting to go ahead with a project without a creative brief is like attempting to find an address without a GPS tracker or a map. Sure, you may be able to figure it out, but you’ll probably take a few wrong turns along the way, wasting time and fuel.

Many companies get it wrong, rushing the briefing process or not ensuring the brief provides clear and detailed information. The result of this is often detrimental impact on the cost, quality, and delivery of a campaign, not to mention a waste of everyone’s time, as reverts and amendments may need to be made at later stages of the campaign.

And if you’re still not convinced, here are a few more reasons as to why a clear creative brief will ensure a successful campaign from start to finish:

Better alignment for bigger teams

These days, when you’re trying to coordinate large-scale projects as a global business with a multi-faceted team, it’s more important than ever to get everyone on the same page. Whether it’s creative directors, account managers, designers, copywriters, videographers, stylists, or buyers – it’s likely that various contributors will join the project at different points in the process.

Having a concise creative brief is the best way to ensure that every contributor is using the exact same reference point, understands all the strategic goals of the campaign, and can see how their role fits into the process.

An underrated time-saving tool 

Many companies see the creative brief as a waste of time, but can you imagine receiving a completed campaign back from an outsourced agency only to realise they completely misinterpreted your brief and will have to start the project from scratch?

Depending on the size of the marketing campaign, this type of error could cost the company weeks or months of valuable time. By simply investing an extra hour or so into developing a clear creative brief at the beginning of the process, you’re ensuring a more efficient turnaround of your project in the long-run.

Catch any issues before they catch you

As a marketing manager or director, the creative brief will serve as an invaluable resource for you to anticipate any problems with a project before they happen. Whether it be a legal conflict, a technical issue, or a budgetary constraint, you’ll be able to consult all the necessary stakeholders, using the brief as a reference, to check for any consistencies in the project.

Remember that revising, scaling down, or changing direction entirely is far easier to do, and financially more viable, in the planning stages of a project than it is during the execution stages.

Say hello to a successful campaign from start to finish

Ultimately, a clear creative brief serves as a reviewable, recordable document that can be referenced throughout the project by all parties involved, acting as a guide that will:

  • create more trust between your team and your vendors;
  • result in a better project process;
  • save you time and money;
  • and improve the quality of work being produced by each team member.

But, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed about where to even get started with this document.

Which is why we have gone ahead and compiled the ultimate go-to creative brief checklist for marketing teams. You can distribute this to any marketing managers, team leads, or project managers who would be in charge of initiating your next big campaign. Get your free copy below.

 

 

 

 

Silversoft is delighted to announce that The Whalley Collective has chosen Deltek WorkBook to assist their agency in their next phase of growth.

The Whalley Collective, an independent agency centred in Durban, South Africa have grown their client base and with an evolved collective and semi-remote working structure approached Silversoft to assist in implementing a robust agency system to assist in aligning their operations, finance and client service teams.

“The Whalley team needed a solution that aligns their internal teams, and has a fully integrated finance platform. Deltek WorkBook ticked all these boxes for them, with some added features such as real time communication on briefs, jobs and quotes” say Charlie Mossop, Global Account Manager at Silversoft.

Paul Whalley, Director of Business Operations explains that “internal communications are very important for us, and WorkBook’s powerful inbox feature will allow our teams to collaborate on one job management system, as opposed to using third-party applications”.

“The Silversoft team has been incredibly hands-on throughout the process, guiding us on process enhancements to ensure that while implementing a new platform, we also enhance our process to enable growth” continues Whalley.

“The Silversoft team was most excited to hear that The Whalley Collective had been considering various tools but chose Silversoft and Deltek WorkBook for the love of our ecosystem and excellent support,” says Dan Marcus, Director: Agency Solutions at Silversoft. “We are looking forward to a long partnership with their dynamic team,” continues Marcus.

About The Whalley Collective

The Whalley Collective has Durban and Cape Town offices serving clients across southern Africa. Driven by their vision of ‘Ideas with Soul’ this independent group of strategic and creative mavericks value fearless thinking, diverse perspectives, and the power of collaborative relationships to do meaningful work that improves lives and builds brands that loyal customers love.

About Silversoft

For 15 years, Silversoft has been delivering enterprise solutions to people and project-centric firms, supporting over 50,000 users across South Africa and beyond. Silversoft has offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town and is the local Platinum Partner for Deltek – the leading international provider of software to the Professional Services industry.

With WorkBook by Deltek, Silversoft delivers beautiful Agency Management technology that will help your firm win the best accounts, deliver the greatest projects, delight your clients and be more profitable. Workbook looks good. Lifts heavy.

Find out how Deltek WorkBook can transform the way your agency performs here.

 

The choice is yours: the collaboration between your agency and your client on the latest campaign can either be a pain point or a productive process. It all depends on the briefing process, how you allow your client to get involved and what system you have in place to help manage this communication.

The importance of the creative brief

The brief is a vital part of the project-management process, as it helps you, your team and the client clearly understand the goals and constraints of the campaign. When you get the briefing process right, your agency benefits in a number of ways:

  • Saving time and money – a clear brief means fewer revisions and changes at a later stage
  • Inspiration – a good brief will get your team thinking out of the box to bring it to life
  • A reference point – when reviewing the project at any point, you should always be able to check if it’s reflecting the requirements of the brief

Collaboration with the client is key…but also a lot of work  

Naturally, the client will be the one to hand you the brief explaining what they want achieved. The problem here is that, although some clients provide a detailed brief of what they want, many clients only turn in a half-thought-out brief or a confusing concept they’re unable to explain. But because the brief is the foundation of any creative project or campaign, it’s crucial that the client is given more agency to collaborate with the team until the brief is as clear and detailed as it can be.

However, managing a project is a time-consuming and sometimes overwhelming process – having to juggle the expectations and needs of everyone from executive management to the creative team – so, it may seem that going back and forth on emails with the client to gain clarity on a brief might just be asking too much.

This is why every project manager or project lead should be using a management system that not only helps you to track your projects and handle the financial side of things but is also a collaboration tool – designed to help you prioritise your communication with clients and make better strategic decisions about projects.

Using a management system to make your creative workflow, well, flow

Raise your hand if you’ve got more than three apps or programs on your computer or phone that help you to manage various functions of the project. Most project managers end up having one tool for communication purposes, one tool for task-planning, one for document sharing and so on. Most of them don’t have anything to help with the initial briefing process and client collaboration. In a recent poll we took during a webinar, we found that 67% of those surveyed don’t currently use a software system for briefing.

But imagine you had one system that did it all and, most importantly, allowed you to have better alignment with your clients at the beginning of the project process. You’d no longer have to worry about remembering the login details for the 10 different management programs you’ve been using, but instead would reap the benefits of using the right software, such as being able to:

  • streamline projects, people and finance from end to end in one best practice solution designed to help you grow;
  • boost productivity and optimise utilisation through better project and resource planning; and
  • increase profitability and control costs by scoping accurately, increasing efficiency and reducing delays.

Power your agency’s success with Deltek WorkBook

Built by agency veterans, Deltek WorkBook is a total agency management system that provides best practice solutions to help your agency grow. WorkBook makes it easier to focus on your clients and make strategic decisions for the future by streamlining projects, people and finance from end to end, giving you better control, insight and visibility at any time.

 

WorkBook’s client portal feature, enables you to:

  • Streamline the briefing process between the client and internal teams
  • Provide clients with an easy login to the system and determine whether they can create a new brief or just view current briefs
  • Give client contacts access to new jobs created by the studio as well as remove client access to jobs that have been closed or cancelled
  • Easily liaise with clients, using the cleverly designed customer portal

Want to ensure your project process starts with a clear brief and is streamlined with helpful collaboration with your client?

Book a demo of Deltek WorkBook by completing the below form

 

 

 

 

99c chooses Deltek WorkBook to digitise manual and disparate systems, and create a single agency workflow to enhance visibility into workload, capacity and overall business operations.

The firm has partnered closely with Silversoft to implement Deltek WorkBook’s best-of-suite agency platform to transform the way in which the agency manages resources, in an optimal manner to drive client success.

“I’m incredibly proud to call 99c a client. After 5 years of close partnership in working through their key requirements, Hylton and the team have chosen Silversoft and Deltek WorkBook to reimagine the workflow of the firm and implement innovative technology to streamline their processes” Says Dan Marcus, Director: Agency Solutions at Silversoft.

“99c has over 400 staff with many moving parts and processes. Having a single agency solution suite in place has been a game changer for our firm and the team at Silversoft were instrumental in partnering with our firm to transform the way in which we work and optimize our workflow. Says Janci Prinsloo, Business Process Manager at 99c.

Hylton Heather, Director of Production at 99c adds “Having live actionable analytics at our fingertips has allowed the firm to focus on the key metrics that turn the needle, which is a massive driving factor in improving the agencies margin. Our firm is consistently investing in improving efficiency and having a platform in place like WorkBook is core to our long-term success.”

About 99c

99c is an independent, full-service, integrated advertising and communications agency, providing creative solutions for a wide variety of clients across many fields and industries.

Taking the time to develop deep, long-lasting relationships with our clients and fully engage in their businesses has stood us in good stead, often leading to our own organic growth, starting with one brand and gaining others from within a client’s group portfolio. So too have the lessons we’ve learned, the systems we’ve implemented, the structures we’ve developed and the culture we’ve created; all of which allow us to provide creative solutions for a wide variety of clients across many fields. The proof? Today, we’re almost 300-staff strong and still growing.

About Silversoft

For 15 years, Silversoft has been delivering enterprise solutions to people and project-centric firms, supporting over 50,000 users across South Africa and beyond. Silversoft has offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town and is the local Platinum Partner for Deltek – the leading international provider of software to the Professional Services industry.

With WorkBook by Deltek, Silversoft delivers beautiful Agency Management technology that will help your firm win the best accounts, deliver the greatest projects, delight your clients and be more profitable. Workbook looks good. Lifts heavy.

Find out how Deltek WorkBook can transform the way your agency performs here.

 

How to motivate your team to produce good work, even during a global pandemic

We all know what it’s like to dig deep on a Monday morning, trying to find the smallest bit of motivation to get out of bed and dress for work. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, it sort of threw the world into a permanent “Monday morning” situation. Along with the increased levels of stress and anxiety it brought to agencies and businesses all over the globe, came an adjustment to remote working and a struggle amongst employees to find motivation to be innovative and creative. 

Research conducted in partnership with Microsoft and the Boston Consulting Group, involving 9,000 managers and employees from firms across 15 European countries, revealed that, “It’s a challenge to feel connected, confident and communicate effectively with the team, and we know from a lot of research that creativity and innovation largely happen through collaboration.” A healthy team culture is achieved when employees feel motivated to be creative and productive. 

But, how do you implement this type of work environment when employees are unable to get together in the office for a good, old-fashioned creative brainstorming session?

Fortunately there are a number of effective strategies you can implement within your teams now to ensure you can harness that collaborative mentality, and motivate your team to produce creative work, at a distance. 

Ensure an effective briefing process

According to Denise Blasevick, CEO of The S3 Agency, providing a clear creative brief, a day or two before an online brainstorming sessions, is key because it “allows people to digest the information, do research, and come armed with questions along with any potential thought starters that can start the brainstorm out with a burst of energy.”

Download a helpful Creative Brief Checklist

Use virtual whiteboards for collaboration

Traditional brainstorming whiteboards are found to actually limit creativity because often one individual is responsible for recording all thoughts, whereas virtual whiteboards allow everyone to contribute, show and record their ideas. Visual collaboration in a virtual space also means you can loop in other team members who may work in different country offices. You could even use this process to encourage healthy competition, circling the “winning ideas” on the virtual whiteboard and challenging your team to suggest better ideas.

Here are a few virtual whiteboards we recommend checking out: 

Source: https://www.innovationtraining.org/what-is-mural-and-how-to-use-mural-for-design-thinking/

Encourage individual work 

Grace Judson, a leadership consultant, advises that you provide your team with limited solo brainstorming time, using a ripple effect: The first team member starts and is given 5 minutes to write out their ideas. Once they are done, the second team member goes, either coming up with new ideas, or using the ideas of the previous team member as inspiration, still on the 5-minute clock. This continues until all team members have contributed and then the results are up for discussion. 

Equip your team with a helpful brainstorming activity sheet

For many, the best way to tackle those Monday morning blues is to grab hold of a big cup of coffee. And for us, giving our team tools to help get their creative juices flowing while working from home, is the equivalent to a shot of espresso. 

Which is why we’ve developed a free, downloadable, Idea Generation Workbook that you can share with your team today – either for them to complete alone or for you to work through it with them. 

This sheet offers a few out-of-the-box ideas for brainstorming effectively, as well as formal processes they can follow to keep them focused and motivated. Before long, your team will be producing such good work, and solving every problem thrown at them, you will have forgotten remote working was ever a struggle in the first place. 

Ready to see your team’s innovative thinking thrive? Get your free Idea Generation Workbook by completing the below form.