Barns Bulletin #3: November
A busy November for the Barns: BIMA Digital Days, local coffee, conferences and the launch of our own event "Tonic - Talk. Listen. Mix." Just in time for Christmas...
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Here at The Barns, September has flown by, but despite it being a busy one, we’ve had a great month here are Freestyle: We’ve been out and about at conferences, getting stuck into training events and even said hello to a brand new Freestyler! With so much going on inside and out of the studio, it’s no wonder October has rolled around so fast.
Read on to get the low down on the past month...
At the start of the month, we watched the Mens Cycling Tour of Britain whizz past the studio! Because the Barns is situated right on the tour's route, we were able to have a front row seat to the action...
September saw the release of newest B2B Spotlight interview! For our 4th interview in our series, we sat down with Paul Instrell, Marketing and Sales Director at Calor, to hear his thoughts about delivering authenticity, keeping connected with consumers, and leading a renewable energy revolution.
In September, a few members of our client services team headed down to London for a 3 day course in delivering excellent account management! In amongst training and hard work, they still found time to see the sights in London (spot The Shard in the pic below).
A few Freestylers headed to the re:develop conference down in Bournemouth, for a one day event about all things web, dev and people focused!
The insightful day kicked off with a talk from Stephen Janaway, the VP of Engineering for Bloom & Wild, who shared his experiences and tips on scaling up a team whilst still nurturing employee development. They also heard from Dave Hulbert, Engineering Director at Passenger, who identified the positives in eliminating bias in development, and Kevin Borrill, from 3 Sided Cube, who shared the difficulties him and his team had to navigate when they were tasked with building an Alexa skill.
A highlight from the day's discussions came from Liz Pope, the Head of Technology at Holiday Extras, who shared her company benefit ‘10 percent time’, which allows their employees to spend every other Friday working on something a bit different, whether it’s enhancing a new skill or working on a brief that's been on the back burner! We love the sound of this initiative, and it’s defo given us some food for thought and inspiration for making the most of our time here at Freestyle!
There was another visit to London in September, to attend the Agencynomics event which focused on demystifying the source of agency leads by likes of Spencer Gallagher and Peter Hoole. However, it was much more than just this.
Alison Coward from Bracket gave an insightful talk around effective team culture, showing us that how we work together has more of an impact on the success of a team, verses who is in it, or what they are working on. Quite a powerful statement. She then challenged the idea of meetings - telling us how much time is wasted on pointless meetings, but also encouraged framing meetings like workshops, therefore creating more of a collaborative experience.
The great Daryll Scott gave an experience to be remembered, around controlling anxiety in pitches and meetings, by understanding it and breaking down the barriers. He then went on to hypnotise a member of the audience live on stage, no wallet was taken this time! Overall, it was a really nice change to an agency event, which was informative, relaxed and gave an honest truthful look into the stories from agency owners 👍.
Rohini (one of our lovely AD’s) headed to the Ad:tech event in September, which was held at the Olympia in London. The insightful exhibition had an overwhelming amount of stands luring you in with free stuff (including Nutella waffles! Who doesn’t love free food?).
The main action was held within surrounding conference theatres, that offered a range of talks by discussion panels and notable speakers within the industry. From ecommerce to data-driven insights, to personalisation, innovation and emerging tech - there was a lot to choose from. This meant Rohini was frantically rushing between theatres trying to see everything!
Here’s a few key take-aways from Rohini's day:
1. Not everything will take off the way you want it to, whilst other idea’s and bits of innovation, just will! Always remember that there was a time people were sceptical about contactless payments! 🤷♀️
2. Innovation means rapid experimentation and expecting to fail, but pushing forward with the winners. Start up mentality and MVP’s mean that clients don’t have to wait a year for business case sign offs (by which time the innovative idea is no longer innovative). Think big, start small, scale fast.
3. By 2020 50% of all searches will be voice searches.
September’s Sheepie award went to....Jake🥇! Jake’s progressed quickly in his first year here at Freestyle, stepping into his new role as an Account Manager, whilst still keeping site support running with ease! Nice one, Jake! 👏
September also saw the studio embrace #NationalFitnessDay (so much so, we decided to make it a full blown #NationalFitnessWeek!). In order to make the most of it, the team were encouraged to come into the studio a little later than normal, in order to fit in a workout before work.
Some people decided to start their days with a morning run or bike ride, whilst others were able to fit in a yoga session or sneak in a gym workout. It was a great way to start of the day, and help restart our fitness mojo’s going into the winter months!
Director of Innovation and Strategy
We also welcomed a new face to the Barns this month! Our newest Freestyler, Tom, is joining us as our new Director of Innovation and Strategy! Having spent time (12 years to be exact) previously working in Manchester, Tom has certainly travelled around! Since co-starting his own digital agency out of uni 15 years ago, Tom’s seen the need for agencies to evolve their offering, and gain the right balance of strategy, creativity and technology to create meaningful emotive experiences for clients.
Outside of work, Tom loves getting stuck into a restoration project, and is pretty handy behind a camera 📸. We’re super excited to have Tom onboard, and we can’t wait to see what he does here as a Freestyler!
We rounded off September with a ‘healthy’ dose of a Freestyle Fave: Pizza. With all the hard work the team are delivering, it only seemed right to celebrate with a giant order from Basement Browns. Congrats to the whole team for their work on some amazing projects. And if you’re wondering, yes we managed to polish off all that pizza.
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