Stubbornness. Fight. Risk. Bring it on.

Stubbornness. Fight. Risk. Bring it on.

We have been busy applying the lockdown wanker mentality to the business. We didn't learn Japanese, but we did learn new skills and got the business fighting fit. We are certainly stronger for it and building momentum. A rare insight into what's been happening in the very secretive and exclusive stables of Dark Horse.

In truth, I hate doing this stuff... I know other agencies do it and shout from the rooftops that they have won a client. I get it - it works. It just makes me want to hurl though. Excellence is who the team are. We don't shout about doing our jobs well. Roy Keane has it right for me. Effort, brains, and results are what we get paid for. The humblebrag ***** me off. But people like it, it seems.

So, like Wednesday Addams trying to crack a smile, here is me choking on my principles and pretending that I agree with the agency practise. Ralf.

In with the new

Businesses have had to face impossible decisions to furlough and retrench staff as a way to stay afloat. Others haven't even been afforded that opportunity and have had to shutter the doors on their businesses and dreams. Dark Horse is beyond fortunate in this sense; we've been operating as normal and have furloughed only one member of the team.

We've also chosen to raise instead of fold by bringing on three new members of staff. Dark Horse is constantly evolving, and part of our strategy is to anticipate how we can give our clients more than they expect. Adding to our artillery is a huge part of this. Fair deal - it's been a challenge to recruit without much chance for face to face meetings. But whilst others take stock and procrastinate, we are doubling down, taking the risk head-on and acquiring the best talent which has just entered the market.

Our new Content Manager joined us in March (the day lockdown started), and our latest team win comes in the form of our Business Development Manager who joined us in June. Our third exciting recruit joins us in July and will be heading up our Paid Social offering. To say that we're proud of how they've personified the Dark Horse experience is an understatement - but it goes to show that the people you choose to represent your brand is absolutely critical. I hope your suppliers and agencies are doing you proud with their representation of your brand.

Humble-bragging

My team have it tough. During COVID, we've won more business than has been paused and great efforts have been made. The issue they and I have (I need to do better) is that I recognise what a special group they are - and I believe their potential is sky high. With that in mind, I am too slow in coming forward to recognise achievement. I just can't help it. I'm never really satisfied, and I try to instil that they shouldn't be either. Expect more of yourself, back yourself - and back me too. Expect me to push you.

What the team and I consider average is what other agencies and businesses consider momentous achievements and are celebrated all over their LinkedIn pages. We expect nothing less than the best - something our clients will experience. Lockdown has shed light on how resilient the team is, and how hard they really work. I need to raise my game. I need to shout about just how much success our clients have been seeing and how great the team is.

We've levelled up new business targets. Companies are now wanting to work with Dark Horse. Wanting to embrace our difference. We stuck to our guns and believed in what we are doing on our mission to make digital accountable.

Free Video Reviews

With all that's been going on, we wanted to find a way to offer our help to businesses struggling through this period. We're proud to introduce a free video review service, where we analyse, interpret, and provide practical recommendations on changes that companies can make to their website to help them secure more leads and ultimately more sales. It's our little way of contributing our time for free to extend a helping hand to those who really need it.

Back to reality

As the 'new normal' era starts to dawn, we'll be staggering our return to Dark Horse HQ. I've got the safety of my team as priority and we will undoubtedly continue working remotely, but we also understand that the only way forward is indeed together. We've missed the daily chats, inexplicable rants, and crazily creative brainstorming sessions we so often used to share. The plants miss their basic needs being met too.

Looking Forward

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. We - as many other businesses - have lost some key hospitality clients over the last three months. But we've come back fighting fit, with new, exciting clients joining us to get the right team on their side. It seems that there are companies out there who are wanting to stand up to bigger online competition and be the unexpected winner. They are getting pissed off with the stress, so they are turning to us to get in their corner and start to terrify their competition.

While the country has been working hard and making sacrifices to flatten the curve, some of our clients are genuinely through the roof. There have been some real ROAS success stories, and this is down to the team being proactive and demanding. We've been toiling away to help our clients attract and retain the right attention and helping them to think beyond survival; think thrive.

 

I personally can't wait to see the team again and get fired up over lunchtime quizzes and creative sessions. I can't leave without saying a special thank you to our clients during a ridiculously trying time - we're proud to be supporting you and can't wait to see how successful you become.

Humble brag over. Now back to the space I find more comforting. Plotting ("strategising " is the client-friendly way of saying that), building, getting angry, solving puzzles, fuelling ambition - basically being Gru from Despicable Me.

Clients - you embraced the Dark Horse difference. We won't forget that. Neither will your competition.

John