3 Tips For Managing A Remote Team

3 Tips For Managing A Remote Team

We’re 15 months on from the first official lockdown and I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all had to adapt our day-to-day routine in work. Some more established businesses have had the astronomical task of reinventing the way that hundreds/thousands of people work and others have had the difficulties of scaling their start-up in the height of lockdown. We definitely fall in the latter part of that, so we thought it would be a great idea to share our findings over the past 15 months and share some processes that have massively helped our business manage a remote team while scaling significantly. 

Throughout this blog, we’ll briefly outline our 3 top tips for managing a remote team and directly comment on how we’ve implemented these tips into our business.

1. Workflow, workflow, workflow (and comms)

From a business that used to operate solely on emails, if you haven’t already discovered or implemented a workflow tool or communication platform into your daily routine, we highly recommend doing so. 

A workflow tool enables each team member to manage and prioritise tasks each day and also allows management to visibly see what each team member is working on, especially when you don’t have the ability to lean over the desk and ask them. Internally, we actually use Trello, it’s perfectly suited for what we need and has a simple, easy to understand interface for new starters and team members who are new to the platform. 

Within the workflow section, we also include communication tools which are slightly different, however, also an important implementation when managing a remote team. We like to look at communication tools as replacing the office general chats (and banter). As a business, we initially ran from google hangouts which worked perfectly until we got to around 14-15 team members, then it became a little too hectic. So, we decided to implement slack into our team and we haven’t looked back since. As a team of over 30, slack enables us to set up different channels for different topics, rather than having a big long chain of messages that everyone has to read. 

2. Let your hair down.

One thing that remote working has taken away, especially in a young and growing agency, is the after work pub. As a business that was founded just before lockdown, we actually decided to hire our team based on talent and not location, so we are actually based all around the UK. This was such a good decision in some respects, but in others, we miss the human interaction and typical office banter. 

So we decided to set up a Friday afternoon group video call where typically, everyone who wants to, grabs an alcoholic beverage and we have 30 minutes to an hour of letting our hair down and not talking about work. We spend so much of our lives working, that as a business, we want to make it a fun environment for all of our team. 

Typically, we run these calls on google meet, however, as the team has expanded, we’re finding we’re getting so many different personalities joining the team that one chat became too much and people wanted individual conversations. So after a recommendation from a client of ours, we’ve recently implemented cosmos.video into our Friday calls which is a virtual venue that has games, break-out areas and the ability to hold private chats and conversations. 

3. Video calls are a must.

We found out early on that regular video calls are essential to managing a remote team, without these, we would never see anyone’s faces or really get to know them. As a business we’ve implemented morning calls, every morning, for just 15 minutes with our team split into 2 groups. This call enables the team to see each other every day, to chat about what they have on today and what they would like to achieve and also, to see if they need support from any other team members. 

Final Words

To conclude, we’ve all had to adapt throughout lockdown and our businesses have had to evolve, become more efficient and managing a team from home has been difficult for everyone. However, looking back, lockdown has pushed everyone into finding a better way, stepping up and pulling together as a team.

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5 Tips For Marketers On Banner Ad Design

5 Tips For Marketers On Banner Ad Design

Banner ads still play a huge role in marketing campaigns for a number of reasons, however, without the right design, they can become lost on a webpage and become unnoticed by the user. Throughout this blog, we’ll cover some actionable tips and take-homes to help make your banner ads stand out and perform. 

In the post below, we’ll cover 5 easy to follow tips that will help you with your next banner ad campaign. The 5 area’s we’re going to cover are:

  1. Design to stand out
  2. Design for the right banner size
  3. Make sure your copy is easy-to-read
  4. Have a clear CTA
  5. Keep it simple

We’ll include examples throughout the blog to make each point easy to understand and take in, but before we do so, let’s walk through what web banners actually are.

What Are Web Banners?

Web banners (or banner ad) is an advertisement displayed on various parts of a web page, usually consisting of an image (.jpg, .png, .gif) or a multimedia object (usually created using flash). 

All banner ads have the same basic function, once clicked on, your browser will take you to the advertiser’s website or landing page. Banner ads can be used by marketers to increase traffic, sell a particular product, grab attention or to announce sitewide discounts and sales.

5 Tips For Marketers On Banner Ad Design

Here are our 5 actionable tips for marketers to consider when managing a banner ad campaign, our goal throughout the rest of this article is to provide clear advice with examples that you can follow on your next campaign. 

1. Design to stand out

Usually when creating a banner ad, it’s common practice to avoid white backgrounds, the main reason being that a large percentage of web pages they appear on already have a white background and the ad will blend in. 

We usually suggest opting for a bright, bolder background to catch the eye of the viewer. This will help draw attention to your ad, no matter what webpage your ad is placed on. 

2. Design for the right banner size

When it comes to banner sizes, there are so many different banner sizes to opt for, however, we feel it’s more important to focus on the top performing ad sizes in your campaign. According to Google the top performing ad sizes are:

300×250 (Medium Rectangle)

336×280 (Large Rectangle)

728×90 (Leaderboard)

300×60 (Half Page)

320×100 (Large Mobile Banner)

3. Make sure your copy is easy-to-read

One mistake marketers make is trying to include too much information on a banner ad. Taking into consideration the sizes these will be on a web page, we feel it’s important to include a maximum of two to three lines of text, preferable in a bold variation of your font. 

Another common mistake we see marketers make is the colour combinations used on the ads, when taking into consideration the comments from point 1 about the background colour, we feel it’s best to opt for a white/black type colour, perhaps using another colour to highlight key works and buttons. 

4. Have a clear CTA

Not including a CTA on a banner ad is pretty pointless and may seem like an obvious thing to do, however, believe us, we’ve been asked to remove them before… 

On a banner ad, you need to tell your audience what action to take, this will help click-through rates and overall conversions from your campaign. Use phrases such as:

“Learn More”

“Try Today”

“See More”

“Shop Now”

These include a physical verb at the start on each work as you’re telling people to do something or take action from your ad. 

5. Keep it simple

When creating your banner ad, it’s easy to try and fill it with as much information about your product or service as possible. However, we find, with too much information it’s difficult for the view to understand what you’re actually selling. 

With clear, concise messaging and imagery, you’ll allow the viewers to easily understand what you’re actually selling.

Final Words

To conclude, in our opinion, banners should be simple, easy to understand and have bold creative and by applying the above 5 tips, you’ll be onto a winning formula.

With White Label, we work with marketing teams to create compelling banner ads that help connect and convert your audience.

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How To Give Great Design Feedback

How To Give Great Design Feedback

The creative process is all about collaboration. It’s about getting the understanding between marketing teams and designers on the same level so everything is aligned. Over the past few years we’ve realised that great design work isn’t just about working with a talented designer but about improving the link between design and marketing. 

Designers get feedback such as “can you make it pop more?” or “can you jazz it up a little?” which leaves too much room for interpretation. The more experienced designers are skilled in extracting the information from the client that they need and the more experienced marketeers and project managers understand the importance of great design feedback.

In this blog, we’ll cover our top 4 tips for giving effective feedback to design teams which will help you get to your final sign off much quicker and eliminate the frustration that’s caused with multiple revisions. 

1. Always direct feedback at the Design and not the Designer.

Instead of aiming your comments at the Designer, it’s best practice to aim it at the design itself. This will allow the designer to quickly understand where they may have missed the mark in the initial proof. This will allow you to talk about specific elements of the work and it will allow the designer to get a better understanding of exactly what you’re looking for in the changes.

2. Keep all of your feedback in one place.

We always recommend keeping feedback on a particular piece of work in the same place, this allows the designer to double check they’ve made all of the changes and reduces the risk of changes being missed. We like to recommend using platforms such as Trello, where you can comment against a proof in the same chain. 

Always avoid using multiple communication channels such as video, email and slack, we find that communication get’s lost and it creates a task in itself for the creative to collate all of the feedback. 

3. Give positive feedback

Negative comments towards a designer (or anyone in general) sets off your working relationship in the wrong light. We’ve found that when you provide positive feedback and respect your relationship, designers are more likely to go above and beyond and also, feel comfortable to ask questions about the project.

4. Give realistic expectations

One of the key reasons we see projects go wrong is unrealistic expectations with project deadlines. When design work is rushed, that’s when the outcome isn’t always as expected and mistakes are made. We know it’s not always easy to forecast projects in some industries, however, where you can, give enough time on projects to get it right.

Final Words

To conclude, design is a collaborative process and if you’re struggling with your current design relationship, follow the top 4 steps when working with your designer, you might be surprised how the outcome changes. 

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4 Key Principles To Successfully Managing Large Design Projects

4 Key Principles To Successfully Managing Large Design Projects

Managing a large design project requires an in-depth level of project management and efficient communication to keep it running smoothly. If you ask any marketeer, I’m sure they’ve had their fair share of horror stories with projects in the past, the usual culprits are website projects or branding projects. 

However, with an internal team of 25+ creatives across multiple disciplines across the UK, we’re in a position to highlight the key traits we’ve found from our clients who have successfully seen large projects through from start to finish, over and over again. We’ve found that the projects that run the smoothest seem to follow the same trends as each other, and those projects that become stressful, usually miss one of the key principles that we’ve highlighted below. 

If this is your first large design project or are looking to strengthen your skills, then you’ve come to the right place. 

Communication:

Our first key principle may seem like an obvious one, however, it’s imperative that the communication channels are discussed and agreed before taking on the project. When we say communication, we aren’t just talking about letting the Design team know when your project needs to be completed. We’re talking about structuring a communication plan throughout the project to ensure that deadlines are met, the project stays on track and everyone within the team is aware of any updates or changes to the project. 

Depending on the turnaround time for the project, we advise weekly meetings at the start of every week (Monday at 10 is usually a good time), this gives everyone involved the opportunity to highlight the plan for the week ahead and allows you to set deadlines and ask any questions you may have. This meeting avoids any wasted time with emails or meetings throughout the week, it allows the whole team to know what their role is within the project for that week and most of all, it gives you peace of mind that you are heading in the right direction. 

We also suggest setting up a clear communication channel for the whole team, we suggest using Slack (or another similar tool). This will allow you to create a group for the project and then also set up sub groups if required.

Workflow/Project Management Tool:

A workflow or project management tool is essential for managing a large Design project. The workflow tool will allow you to break your project into a timeline, allow your Design team to upload proofs and communicate with you directly on the platform, have the full Design team on the same board and even have a mobile app (for when you’re really busy). 

If you’re new to a workflow tool, they can seem daunting at first and it will take some getting used to, however, believe us when we say, it will be worth it. Infact as an Agency, we ensure every client we work with has some form of workflow tool in place before working with us.

There are a number of workflow tools out there on the market, all with slightly different features and it will take a little researching before deciding on the right one for you. We’ve highlighted a few tools below we’ve used in the past, however, we suggest researching all of these and exploring which features are right for you:

  • Trello
  • Asana
  • Monday.com
  • Toggl
  • Base Camp
  • Gruup

Get Support & Delegate:

If you have experience in managing a large Design project, then you’ll know that it is almost a full-time job. The project will take a large amount of your time, even if you’re only overseeing the completion. No matter how much you plan, there will always be speed bumps along the way that will require your urgent attention. We suggest doing the following two things, in the same order:

  • Get Support
  • Delegate

Getting Support

It’s important to have support on the project with you where possible, even if it’s to act as a second pair of eyes on proofing, it will be a huge complimenting factor in the outcome of the project. Often, when the project is lengthy, you can become stuck in your own process and may miss something key. If you’re part of a marketing team, it’s important to have one project manager as opposed to multiple. 

Delegation

If you’ve managed a large Design project before, you’ll know how easy it is to get dragged into the project and take on some of the work yourself. However, with efficient management, planning and delegation, you will be able to stop this from happening from day one and free up your time to manage the full project, as opposed to just a small section. 

Recognise and Celebrate Your Designers:

One thing we always try to promote with our clients is to show appreciation and recognise your Designers good work, no matter how big or small the work is. Regularly celebrating wins will empower your Design team and keep everyone on the project motivated and aligned to the end goal. 

Whether it’s a private message to the individual, a more public call out (perhaps on your weekly calls) or even sending a thank you/gift card. This small act of recognition goes a long way for boosting your Designers confidence and it will improve the chances of your Designer going above and beyond for you when the time comes.

Final Words

Whether you’re new to managing Design projects or just looking for tips and advice, if you put in place the above 4 principles, teamed with the right Design team then you’re giving your project everything it needs to succeed.

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