You do everything you can to build the best creative team. You hire the right talent. Arm them with the best tools. Answer all their questions. However, if your processes are outdated, are you really doing everything to make your team successful?
Creative Agency owners devote so much time on the work at hand, making sure nothing falls through the cracks, at the expense of running the business. With competition so tight, it's difficult to have confidence in your team to deliver a high capacity of projects on time without overseeing every single one yourself.
That's what Jenny Sagström, CEO and Co-Founder of Sköna, was facing before she discovered Wrike. She was so wrapped up in ensuring work was meeting her high standards that she couldn't focus on moving the business forward. We sat down with Jenny to discuss the struggles her team faced prior to adopting Wrike and how they were able to handle a high volume of tasks and, ultimately, collaborate with confidence:
Q: Tell me a little bit about Sköna's ideals and philosophies.
A: So we have a few philosophies that we like to keep. Over the last 10 years, we have really honed in on B2B marketing. And we're super passionate about that because our philosophy is that B2B branding and advertising has totally been forgotten. As an industry, we have focused wholly on ROI. We've focused on the ability to measure what we're doing in marketing these days, which is great, but we have forgotten that brand is at the core of that, and B2B brands also matter. So here at Sköna, we put a lot of emphasis on bringing branding back to B2B companies because we know, at the end of the day, the brand is actually a benefit when it comes to ROI. When it comes to conversion, you have to have a strong brand at the core of that.
Q: With your recent expansion overseas, what were some of the growing pains you experienced?
A: The last year was a really exciting year for us because we opened an office in Stockholm. We saw a great opportunity in the high-tech market and wanted to be there both for bringing Swedish companies who really want to go after the Silicon Valley market, but also to help expose the Swedish aesthetic to the Silicon Valley companies. But all of a sudden, we found ourselves having two teams: one here working on California time and another one on Sweden time. We're nine hours apart. Since we have designers in both locations working on the same projects, we needed to bridge that gap do we can make sure we're all going in the same direction at the same time.
Q: What were you looking for in a solution to alleviate those pains?
A: We tried a couple of systems—we tried Asana, but it wasn't big enough for us. We started utilizing Basecamp heavily, but there was no project management component to it. One of the key features we were looking for was something that could replace our production meetings. Every Monday we run a production meeting, which is when the team in Sweden calls in. We go over who's working on what, how long it's going to take, do we have capacity, etc. In order to run that meeting smoothly, we put together production lists, which are basically an overview of the jobs we're going to work on each week. Putting these together required a ton of effort every week and we simply didn't have the time.
Q: What are some of the biggest benefits of choosing Wrike?
A: Wrike has been truly fantastic and actually changed our entire workflow. We are no longer reliant on the production sheet that we had before. Wrike allowed us to ultimately let go of such an important part of our workflow but became such a time suck. In addition to that, the most important thing about Wrike for me is it has freed me up to focus on other aspects of the business. As we're growing the company, I just don't have the bandwidth to work on every client and every project. But with Wrike, I have an oversight of what's going on, and more importantly, I can go in whenever I feel I need to be involved.
Q: How has the relationship with your team changed since using Wrike?
A: Wrike gives me confidence in my team. I know that they're not dropping the ball. And I can do spot-checks on the creative whenever I feel we might be going off track, because at the end of the day, my name is attached to whatever goes out those doors. Since I don't have the bandwidth to look at everything, I can make sure that we are maintaining our high standards. Just seeing them interact as a team gives me confidence that I don't have to micromanage. I can focus on the big picture. And I don't think I would be able to do that with any other project management system.
Q: How does Wrike play a role in Sköna's vision?
A: We really focus on being non-hierarchical. We want as flat of an organization as possible. When we take on new clients, we like to invite everybody in our work team to come on board and share their ideas. I think Wrike fits in really well because it creates an open workflow system and gives everybody visibility. You can learn from your colleagues by going in and looking at what they're working on and pitch any ideas you might have. So I think having such a system as Wrike has allowed us as an agency to be much more flexible and open in terms of how we work and collaborate.
Q: Lastly, what would you say to a creative team who might be considering a solution like Wrike?
A: I think that by having the operations taken care of, the creative team can focus on doing really good work. A lot of the time, it's hard to prioritize your time as a creative. You have a list of things that you know you have to get through by the end of the week, but you don't know where to start. With something like Wrike, your time is prioritized for you, and that means if you are one of those people who likes to get the small stuff out of the way and clear up big chunks of time to tackle the bigger tasks, you can do that. If you, on the other hand, are somebody who wants to just follow the due dates and prioritize by deadlines, you can do that too. Wrike is really solid in terms of helping people prioritize their time, but it also has a huge allowance for setting it up to work in the way that best suits you.
Want the full story? Read the Wrike + Sköna case study.