Try as we did – we couldn’t resist the constant social media and web advertising for one of the fastest growing mobile games – Clash of Clans. The ability to build your own little empire – and link with other ‘clans’ was something that we quickly realised we could relate to – and not to be a buzzkill about the actual fun aspect of the game – we found that we could relate to almost every aspect of the game from the perspective of a growing media company.
If you’re familiar with the game – skip to the next paragraph!
Clash of Clans is a bit like Farmville – you build your village with finite resources called Elixirs (mined from the Earth), as well as with Gold Coins (earned) and Gems (which are found or of course, can be purchased with that oh-so-easy credit card). You are externally faced with the threat of attack from neighbouring villages – which can also partner with other villages to create a ‘clan’ – hence the name!
But how does this relate to anything we do at HMC?
LESSON 1: MINE/MIND THE GOLD
Money (or gold) is finite – more so at the start of any business (or village). Cash flow is critical – towing the line between covering expenses and ensuring that you can cover the costs of new customers is a literal tightrope walked everyday by millions of businesses worldwide. But to avoid taking on massive overheads at the start, we decided to crowdsource the skills needed, only when needed – using a unique and innovative model that combined existing technologies and social media tools. What this means, is that we only use resources, exactly when needed – saving our own gold coins – and ensuring that our costs of business are always favourable to the client!
LESSON 2: BUILD YOUR ARMY
We don’t outsource everything of course – so we do have our own ‘barracks’ – a dedicated team of point persons with experience in particular fields who lead on the projects when required. We constantly manage a team however that does not occupy a traditional or working space – instead making use of technology to achieve communication and connectivity. This is always tricky and requires a delicate balance of information readiness at all times. For us as well as more traditional media companies, this would mean constantly engaging staff, creating an environment of creativity and ensuring that the team is happy, to provide work that is solid and always a step ahead. In Clash of Clans, just as in an agency environment, you have different types of army conscripts – from the regular soldier to the archer – or in an agency – from the creative head to the client services head – and not everyone sees the problem being tackled the same way. It’s important to always keep in mind that there is a common goal regardless of the differences in thinking – or difference in the way we attack it – and to leverage everyone’s advantage in skills for the common good!
LESSON 3: YOU ARE ALWAYS OPEN TO ATTACK
It doesn’t matter if you just started your own little Clan Village, or your own company, media or otherwise – you are always open to attack. The advertising industry in Trinidad and Tobago, like many other places is extremely competitive – but it is compounded here by a small and very connected society. For us, dealing with clients confidentially takes high priority when we deal with third parties – but it always opens an area to have someone (and they sometimes do) leave with your communication ideas or project plans and shop it around elsewhere. You must always be ready – even when you aren’t. We learnt that when delivering a pitch to a Government Ministry last week, who requested, at very short notice, a follow up to our tender – outlining a communication strategy and budget. We had prepared for it – and delivered it the very next morning, within a 24-hour window. Small businesses don’t often get as much respect as their larger competitors – but we made sure that our walls were tended to and our defenses were ready for anything that could be requested of us, from our little Clan Village. We leverage our size and unique team structure for speed too!
LESSON 4: YOU CAN’T BUY A SHIELD, BUT YOU CAN WIN TRUST
Sure you can purchase a Shield for a couple hundred Gems in Clash of Clans – which gives you protection from the attacks of other clans or villages for a specific time. If only you could do that in the real world. The one thing you can do however, is develop trust. Creating an environment of confidentiality, creativity and trust is key for both clients and your internal army as well. In winning trust, we win clients and those who are willing to work with us in our crowd-sourced media experiment. You can’t build a shield, but you can shield yourself with mutual trust.
LESSON 5: MONEY ISN’T YOUR ONLY RESOURCE TO MANAGE
Money is a great tool – but can also be spent badly. You may have a great team/army but you want to manage all resources. Our Clash of Clan’s Elixir is our creativity. We create a new team for every project – and call on the leaders in their respective spaces to deliver new and innovative ideas to that project. This is a far cry from a traditional agency setting where almost everyone, works on everything at the same time (Agency burnout is real!) Huckleberry delivers work that is a bit like Alchemy – getting the right ingredients together and applying some crowd-sourced magic from a new team every time.
LESSON 6: THE BEST REWARD COMES FROM A SOLID ATTACK
We’re not talking particularly about the act of raiding another village or company for ideas or anything such – we’re talking about the act of the pitch! Opportunity is rarely clear when it presents itself, as much as you can prepare for a pitch at a moment’s notice, you should. Always be ready to attack a potential client with a pitch! We invest much our time in ensuring that our communication plans match the business’ plans – which is why we focus so heavily on growing* and medium-sized businesses. And we often don’t find those businesses through formal tender processes – but through networking and everyday business and conversation!
Best wishes to your companies, clans and dreams!
Have your own comparisons? Comment below!
And be sure to like us across the networks – FB, Twitter, Instagram.
And of course, we highly recommend Clash of Clans on the App Store (Apple) and Play Store (Android)!
Huck’s Note: We never refer to a new business as a small one – while it may be a reflection of the reality of the business, we prefer to make use of the term growing. It implies what’s happening and where we, or you, are going!