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Why we shut the office down for two days

Nadine Long

August 2017

Sometimes, even for a marketing agency, it’s easy to neglect your own marketing. Day to day responsibilities can keep you from focusing on what you need to do in your own channels. We see this time and time again with our clients, who come to us to extend their strategy and creative efforts, and we’re no different.

Our agency was growing fast. Growth sounds great from the outside, but as a result, we found that our approach, people and services had outgrown what was represented on our website. After a brand refresh, we were ready to attack our site, but several months of slow progress here and there between other projects made us realize we couldn’t sneak in a website redesign in our down time. We needed to be able to get the whole team together to get it done.

So, in early June, we made sure to get the week’s work done early and paused on other projects for two full days to focus on getting our site done. Our design team was able to spend time finishing out shot lists, taking photos and finalizing design elements. Our writing and strategy team was able to put the finishing touches on copy and implement all of the crucial tags and optimizations needed, and we all pitched in on content entry (everyone’s favorite part of the process).

While we planned this event (and coined it Native Camp) with the aim of finishing our website, there were a few other reasons we discovered that it was a great idea.
It allowed everyone to focus on something they cared about
Everyone at Native cared about the site and wanted to see it go live: after all, it represents all the work we’ve done as a new agency and the clients who we love to work with every day. But as an agency, we’ll naturally always prioritize our clients first. Letting everyone know that we had time set aside to really, truly focus, took some of the pressure off and made the end goal feel more achievable.

We were able to collaborate across the whole team

Working on the site before had been in fits and starts, with varied, small teams. With Native Camp, we were able to plan for group collaboration and make sure that there were chunks of time set aside for not just one or two people, but the full team, to contribute. Rather than feeling like things needed to “just get done,” we set out with goals and ideas in mind and had the space to let them grow.

“Working in the same direction” really works

When you’re sitting next to someone who’s working on the exact same project as you, you feel more motivated, interested and invested. Before, we’d been working in smaller teams and making piecemeal progress. We found that even if we were all working on content entry, the knowledge that the entire team was invested in the same end goal made progress feel even more rewarding.

It was fun

Our team works hard (that’s not even a humblebrag). We’d had some really busy months of growth. With Native Camp, we were able to not just reach our goal of getting the site a huge leap forward in two days’ time, but to enjoy each other’s company. We celebrated some birthdays, set up yard games for when we needed to blow off some steam, and enjoyed happy hours at the end of each day. As much as we tend to think team-building is cheesy, we wouldn’t take back some of those moments and now-inside jokes for anything.

We got a lot done

Even with “team fun” built in, we made a huge leap on the website that a smaller team was then able to take and finish off in time for a July launch. As a bonus, everyone was a lot more familiar with the new brand we’d just unveiled.

We believe a site is never truly done, so there are plenty of updates still planned for the website. But the idea of “shutting down the company” for two full business days – something that was a little scary to us at first as a small agency – turned out to be one of the most valuable things we could have done.