CASSIDY-LYNNE LOCKDOWN DIARIES: PART 1

It’s day 16 of the lockdown and I think it’s safe to say that as a country, we’ve learnt a lot:
  1. Some people will be sitting with hoards of toilet paper and baked beans for the rest of 2020
  2. Fast food and takeouts are no longer a necessity
  3. People really like banana bread – see ANY Instagram page for further proof
  4. We don’t connect with our families and friends nearly as much as we should
  5. How to respect personal space and take better care of our minds, immune systems and bodies
  6. Teachers, nannies, domestic workers and the colleagues of our spouses don’t get paid nearly enough to deal with our children, our mess or our significant others

While as a country we’re learning a lot, at Cassidy-Lynne we’ve also learnt a lot about ourselves – as a company as well as individuals.

WHAT WE’VE LEARNT AS A COMPANY DURING LOCKDOWN

We’re an agency who spend hours in strategy sessions for each and every one of our clients. We analyse trends, competitor activity, best-performing content and community engagements to plan our next tweet, graphic and/or blog post. Nothing, however, could prepare us for the paramount strategic shift we’d need to make for all our clients – literally overnight. 

You know those unfortunately timed ads which happened to align with the COVID-19 outbreak? No? Here are 2 examples –

 – KFC’s ad encouraging ‘finger-liking good’ wasn’t exactly the epitome of promoting personal hygiene and 


Axe’s ‘don’t overthink it’ campaign was extremely cringe-worthy when oxygen masks fell from the ceiling.

This is the kind of disaster we had to avoid at all costs for our clients to ensure that their messaging wasn’t:

  • Distasteful
  • Overly-promotional
  • Redundant in context of the current climate

LESSON 1: THE DANGERS OF AUTOMATING CONTENT

Encouraging an audience to book an Easter weekend away with their mates would have left the clients’ audience feeling annoyed and depressed. More so, the brand would have run the reputational risk of not being able to ‘read the room’. This is where the danger of ‘automating content’ comes in. You may have heard radio ads during the lockdown about booking your next flight to global destinations and wondered ‘what were they thinking!?’ – that is because this content was scheduled to air months in advance and unfortunately, wasn’t pulled in time.

As content marketers, we have learnt that there are certain situations which require flexibility. We’ve always known that over-automating content and leaving no room for flexibility, adjustments or amendments makes the client’s voice robotic and more of a monologue than an inclusive, relevant conversation with their audience. We’ve had to get pretty good at our strategies and content automation over the years to ensure that our clients don’t turn into robots.

HOW CONTENT AUTOMATION HAS CHANGED FOR US OVER THE PAST FEW WEEKS

Scheduling a monthly content plan, might not always be the best approach. 

During the lockdown period, we’ve actually been sending our clients a weekly content plan to ensure that the content we’re scheduling is relevant and prevents us from having to do double the work in case the online climate radically changes again overnight.

Your clients might be on a set retainer, but flexibility is key

Because we’re a small agency and our resources are somewhat limited, we’ve had to always keep content revisions to a minimum. We realise, however that just like the entire global climate shifted overnight, our client’s own context and climate may shift too and because they have direct contact with their clients and the results of our efforts, they are in the best position to provide input mid-month which would require a minor ‘plot twist’ in our overall monthly content plan for them – and you know what? That’s okay. Because sh*t happens. 

Sometimes it’s best not to say anything at all

We realised that for some of our clients, it would be almost impossible to say anything at all during this time because there simply was no place for them in this climate. Instead of trying to find a clever way to work their brand messaging into conversations and push any sort of ‘soft sell’ we decided it would be best for them to rather send hugs and kisses to their customers during this time, and give their audience some easy reading while they have free ‘screen time’ – this leads us to our final point.

Evergreen content is your best friend

We blog for our clients, a lot. We’re either a) positioning them as thought leaders, b) writing search-engine optimised content for them to publish onto their websites or c) using their blogs as another channel to drive traffic inbound from their social media channels. Because of this, we have some incredible content which could be repurposed. We’ve been able to use this time to re-educate and re-introduce our clients to their audiences while providing their audience with content which is well-informed and pretty damn cool to read without having to do any extra work or charge our clients anything extra! 

LESSON 2: AN OFFICE SPACE FOR US IS LIKE A FACEBOOK LIKES CAMPAIGN – OVERRATED AND AN EGO-METRIC

Having an office that is the epitome of #agencylife is the dream. 

But, are table-tennis tables, a stellar coffee machine, some schwanky outdoor furniture and a room full of desks, bums in chairs and wooden flooring what your employees would consider the dream? 

TABLE TENNIS AND OFFICE BARS VS FLEXI-HOURS, MORE TIME WITH YOUR DOG AND GARDEN YOGA

As an agency, we’ve always preached trying to achieve a ‘cool’ culture that promotes flexibility and a healthy work-life integration. But what we’ve realised is that this is almost impossible to achieve if employees are expected to report to a physical address by 8:30am and leave at 5pm with little chance to do anything before or after due to traffic and travel time.

If you were given the choice between either having table tennis and an office bar over flexi-hours, more time with your dog and doing yoga in your garden at 10am, which would you choose? The concept of what our #agencylife is defined by is being seriously challenged where we may no longer be looking to aspire to a Google-inspired brick and mortar environment. After having honest and transparent conversations with our team, we realise that cool office spaces might not be the root of job satisfaction. 

For bigger teams, a brick and mortar office space may be crucial but we’ve learnt how to deal with the distance and that absence really does make the heart grow fonder and the team bond stronger.

LESSON 3: HAVING THE RIGHT TOOLS IN PLACE MADE THE TRANSITION FAIRLY EASY

It’s really important, as any business, to ensure that you have the right processes in place – and if you don’t, there will be situations – like this, that highlight the gaps and weakest links in your processes. Thankfully for us, we had been using tools all along which made our transition into a remote-working environment an absolute breeze. We just needed a few tweaks here and there to ensure they all worked together like a well-oiled machine.

Here are some of the tools we’ve been making use of to collaborate with one another remotely and a couple resources for how to use each one for your own remote-working teams:

  • Slack – for all internal communication, making use of channels to keep all client discussions in one place
  • Loomly – to schedule all our content and collaborate on each clients’ post (and make quick changes when needed)
  • ASANA – to ensure we’re on top of our workflow and that deadlines aren’t missed
  • Later.com for all our Instagram preview scheduling
  • Harvest – to track our time but to also see at a glance what any team member is doing at any given time – avoiding all “have you started with” requests and mitigating the need to micromanage
  • Zoom – to collaborate with one another and do our weekly team check-ins and huddles
  • GoogleDrive – to organise and store everything we’re working on and provide quick links to one another to get started on different points in our workflow.

WHAT EACH TEAM MEMBER HAS LEARNT DURING THE LOCKDOWN

We turned to our team to gain their raw, authentic views of our new way of working. Continue on to part 2 to find out where their heads are at and what their experience of the lockdown is so far >>