We recently heard that the FT1000 – Europe’s fastest growing companies 2019 – ranked us the UK’s fastest growing social ad company, which, of course, had us all celebrating like mad!
When we came back down to earth we agreed it was time to define how we can continue this amazing growth streak. We actually asked ourselves the question, can we continue or have we now plateaued?
I felt it would be good to share how we came to the conclusion that our belief about growth can either help us thrive or hold us back.
If we believe continually growing is an ongoing struggle then we probably won’t make the FT1000 next year. If, on the other hand, we see growth as the status quo, then we are most likely to continue our upward trajectory.
Let me explain.
One of the most insidious mindsets any work environment can suffer from is ‘business as usual’. Yet it is generally accepted that after a period of intense innovation or change, an organisation should then settle back into BAU.
If, instead, we adopt the approach of continually defining and re-defining challenges, I believe we can more readily identify problems as well as potential opportunities before we need to address them. In other words we aim to continually stay several steps ahead, and this requires a consistently creative approach to everything we do.
However, to be of real value, creativity must always lead to innovation. Our goal is always to link a great idea to an actual client need, or better still to the needs of an entire market.
As it turns out, focusing on incremental enhancements is an energetic and exciting process. We want to push beyond being relevant to our clients and prospective clients, we want to re-frame how we approach each new project we work on.
Once we have agreed to switch our mindset to continual growth and expansion, we set about refining how we manage to keep working in innovation mode, without burning out!
Here are four key approaches we adopt:
Each new idea we have, such as our AI-driven audience builder, The Atom, is continually tweaked and improved on. We believe in making incremental changes which we test and then run with. Innovation does not always mean ‘the next big thing’. Iterative changes over a period of time can take you much further.
Ensuring that we have a pipeline of new ideas means regularly brainstorming, often away from the office, to keep our team’s creativity heightened. Innovation is part of our DNA and we actively encourage everyone to share new ideas no matter how far-fetched they might seem at first. Our motto is to listen to everyone without judgement to ensure our work environment is supportive and results in mutual growth.
Breaking down each new idea and stress testing it often gives rise to entirely new concepts. Knowing which ones are likely to be of value and which ones we need to cut loose needs to be a rapid and painless decision. Once again this takes away some of the pressure of having an innovative idea but being tentative about putting it forward lest it not be ‘worthy’. Our mindset is one of continual growth and we all recognise that we need to sift through numerous innovative suggestions before identifying the next game-changer.
Creativity is closely aligned with innovation and there is always a risk that creativity can dry up under pressure. As a consequence we aim to maintain a healthy balance between work and down-time to keep everyone’s energy high. The more flexible we are as a team the more likely we are to deliver outstanding solutions. It is a fine balancing act and we always aim to bring everyone in on the journey as we expand.
Ultimately growth has been framed as a complex and often obscure exercise. It is frequently seen as dependent on the economy which, as we all know, is rather shaky. Yet if we take our own expansion to heart and if we continually strive to improve what we offer, there may be the occasional rocky time, but by keeping a steady course on continually shifting forwards and offering increasingly relevant services and products, we aim to keep moving in the right direction.
About the author
Sharon has over 20 years experience in digital and social media marketing. Starting her career in telecommunications, Sharon moved to DoubleClick and then the BBC where she oversaw change management projects to advance the uptake of new technologies.
In 2007 she co-founded agency:2, Europe’s first social media agency, which rapidly grew to become an award-winning business with a wide range of leading global clients including Mattel, Microsoft, Sony, Turner and Hillarys.
She is also the co-founder and COO of Mighty Social, ranked by the FT as UK’s fastest growing social ad company (FT1000 – Europe’s fastest growing companies 2019). Mighty Social is a disruptor within the digital ad world, segmenting audiences in real time with dynamic creative to maximise response rates, using Mighty Social’s patent pending technology, the ATOM.