OK I thought it would be fun and interesting to share some the process of repositioning Archipelago in 2019. The sketch above was my starting point.
I’ve worked with many different types of marketing people, designers, developers and agencies – from one-man bands, to global names, and all the variations in between.
What’s striking is that, in my opinion, there is NOT necessarily a linear relationship between the the size / scale / prestige of the project, client or agency – and the quality or effectiveness of the work.
Of course it’s true that with more resources you can spend longer on the work, hire more experienced people, do more background research and explore more potential solutions. This improves the odds of finding the best solution, and reduces the risks of screwing it up somehow.
However – at some point there are going to be decisions made that mean the project A/ succeeds, B/ fails, or C/ No-one really knows because success wasn’t ever defined.
These key decisions can be made well: understanding the options, weighing the risks and rewards and taking into account expert advice – or they can be made badly: on an individual’s personal taste, for example, or for internal political reasons.
I believe that good decision making does not require a huge team – in fact, that can actually hinder the process. For SMEs and organisations where resources are limited, it is the quality of the decisions taken BEFORE resources are committed that matter most. I have lost count of the number of clients that have come to Archipelago thinking they needed a new website, for example – when, in fact, their brand proposition just didn’t make sense. Just saying “Ok, we’ll build you a new website”, knowing that it would not solve the problem – would have been a waste of their resources and completely unethical, in my view.
I do believe it’s possible to facilitate the highest quality of decision-making in a way that is affordable, practical and delivers immediate value – whatever the project size or scale.
So my value proposition for Archipelago is this: We help organisations get the most possible value from their marketing/comms budgets – by getting the fundamentals right and focussing on the activities that will deliver real-world results.
To deliver this quality of service without being unaffordable we have to be lean, and as agnostic as possible of any particular tactic or technology. If you’re a dedicated SEO marketing agency, for example – you’re likely to recommend SEO over other activities in the marketing mix. That doesn’t mean SEO won’t work for a specific project – but it makes it hard for you to be objective. That’s why we keep our permanent staff levels low, and bring in the right mix of specialist skills to a project after the strategy has been agreed.