The turning point of an agency

Dinosaur logo and Mark Beaumont

Integrated communications agency

Manchester-based Dinosaur are a progressive, award-winning independent creative communications company with skills in creative, strategy, digital, social and motion.

Mark Beaumont, Chief Creative Officer and Founder tells us about a decision he faced a few years ago and how it has worked out for them since...

“We decided to get serious. Preparing the agency for growth, getting the basics right..."

Dinosaur clients

Dinosaur clients

Decision time

It’s clear that Mark Beaumont and Dinosaur are on a mission. Dinosaur had already proven their creative skills, developed a strong team, built up an excellent client list and even had a great location. But a couple of years ago, one question remained...

What direction should they now steer the agency in?

It was partly a question of scale and partly one of what type of agency to become—big questions, which led to a major turning point for them.

Time to get serious

Says Mark: “There comes a time in every agency’s life when you stand back and have to decide where you want to take it."

“Do you want to just carry on being a neat SME, trying to navigate the ups and downs? Or do you want more than that from it?

“We decided to get serious. Preparing the agency for growth, getting the basics right, making sure you’ve got the right people with the bigger picture mindset, having them run proper little cost centres and so on..."

“And getting a serious system to drive through the efficiencies, give you what you need and be able to grow with you.

“These were long-term decisions.

"Getting Synergist was a key part of it, and I’m glad we did it.”

Client work by Dinosaur for Reebak

Client work by Dinosaur for Reebok

The challenge

“We used to have another system, but we outgrew it.

"It was fine when we were a small creative team of 10 people, and when we got it we were simply happy to get out of paper."

“But now we’ve grown up to be an integrated communications agency and the old system simply didn’t give us what we need. We couldn’t even get proper Work in Progress information out of it. And the service was poor and very take-it-or-leave-it.

“So we switched to Synergist. A good move.

“We’re sorted now and for the future, and I can see that I could run a 200-person agency with Synergist. That’s very reassuring.

“Knowing you have a system that can handle it all and pull it all together and grow with you is a good feeling. Getting Synergist was a smart move. I will retire with Synergist!”

Mark has grown Dinosaur into a thriving integrated communications agency, and their successful 15 year journey, strong creative portfolio and impressive client list prove their ability to prosper.

When it comes to using Synergist day to day, he doesn’t happen to be much of a button-pusher himself, however. But he knows what he gets from the system and what it delivers them.

To find out more, we asked him how he steers the agency and interacts with the Synergist system.

Client work by Dinosaur for Wagamama

Client work by Dinosaur for Wagamama

“I may not be typical”, Mark says, “but this approach has worked really well for me...

"During sunny times you tend to run things with a lighter touch.

"As long as I keep on top of Work in Progress and forecasting – two essentials even in good times – I feel I can run it with only a sideways glance at the other key reports because I can see from those two essentials that the team are on top of them all and it’s humming along.

"But the moment it turns stormy, just watch me switch. I’m closely tracking every single one of those reports. You have to, because in stormy times you need to make informed decisions fast."

Client work by Dinosaur for Atkins

Client work by Dinosaur for Atkins

"There are just five reports that are considered essential in running an agency.

  • Profitability report
  • Staff utilisation report
  • Job health report
  • Work in progress report
  • Forecasting report

In good times: Mark's 4 tips

  1. Always be on top of WIP and forecasting no matter how good the going is.
  2. Automatic alerts will warn you of problems if they arise.
  3. Get team members trained up to closely track profitability in their own profit centres.
  4. Drive efficiencies in the good times. It’ll pay dividends in the bad.

And in tough times, he says:

"Do a hands-on analysis of all five essential reports every week. You can see pretty much everything from those.

"You can steer an agency with little or no personal button-pressing even in tough times, but you do need:

  • a good team who appreciate the bigger picture you’re after.
  • a comprehensive system to pull everything together into one."

Client work for Coop Bank

Time to see it

Whatever your agency looks like – 10 to 500 people, design to digital –
Synergist can be shaped to the way you work.

See it for yourself.

Synergist consultants, Agency Works, will be in touch to arrange your bespoke demo. Their experience working with hundreds of agencies means they can help you work out what's right for you.