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This interview was originally published on May 7, 2020 in Top Interactive Agencies. To see the original article, click here.

The coronavirus epidemic has meant challenges for many brands across the globe, limited to selling their goods and services only online due to lockdowns. For many this was something new, as they weren’t used to eCommerce. This is where agencies such as Codedesign have come to help.

Codedesign is recognized one of Europe's Top Interactive Agencies, as well as one of the eCommerce Development Agencies of 2020. 

In an interview with TIA, CEO Bruno Gavino described the changes experienced by brands and agencies due to coronavirus, while reflecting on the past and future of Codedesign.

TIA: Why is your city an attractive place to work? Why are digital marketing agencies in Portugal so famous these days?

BG: We have several remote offices around the world, but our team is headquartered in Lisbon, Portugal. Lisbon has faced a huge cultural shift in the past years, and digital technology has been the main catalyst. For a long time, Lisbon was considered the hidden gem of European capitals, but word got out about the warm weather, good wine, and affordable cost of living, and entrepreneurs started to flock here.

It’s no coincidence that Web Summit and several other conferences chose Lisbon as its host city for their flagship event. You can walk down any street and hear 10 different languages and find small businesses run by expats from every corner of the world. It’s become a haven for digital nomads and startups looking to find top-tier talent without the Silicon Valley price tag.

TIA: On our previous interview you mentioned to be using DCO since the start of programmatic. Have you implemented any new technology to continue to achieve this?

BG: The “what’s” and the “how’s” are irrelevant if the “who” isn’t right. Consumer behavior has drastically changed in the past 2 months, so brands are having to rethink entire customer journeys. But on a positive note, people are spending more time online than ever before, so there’s more opportunity and data available. Right now, our main focus is on using that data to learn what consumers really want from their brands and creating granular audience segmentation so we can deliver each person the best message.

TIA: Considering the spread of COVID-19, how have you organized pending projects?

BG: Since our team and clients are spread out throughout the world, we’re quite accustomed to working remotely. We often say that our office is wherever there’s Wifi. However, a lot of our clients’ businesses have physical limitations that don’t allow for such a smooth transition to a purely digital landscape, so we’ve had to restructure a lot of projects. A lot of our work recently has been helping clients pivot their business models and coming up with ways to keep non-ecommerce brands engaged with their clients online.

TIA: How are you making sure your people count with the technology and tools needed to keep up from home?

BG: We use Microsoft Teams to keep everything centralized, and it works well for us. However, we understand that productivity isn’t only a question of project management tools, but also mental health. Not everyone responds the same to isolation, there are a lot of new social and intrapersonal challenges that we’re all doing our best to navigating through during this time.

We have a quick staff meeting first thing every morning just to check in with the team and make sure everyone feels connected. Also, one of our clients, OMstars, has an incredible online yoga streaming platform, and they’ve been kind enough to give our team unlimited access.

TIA: In which ways do you think this situation might change the industry?

BG: As I was mentioning above, digital has become the cornerstone of a lot of businesses. It’s a huge opportunity for our industry, but it’s not an excuse for digital agencies become complacent. Margins are thinning across all business verticals, so clients are going to be more concerned with results than ever, and rightfully so.

For agencies, this means that we need to be focusing on data, and how we can use it to optimize performance and maximize returns. For brands, this is an obligation to learn about the customer and deliver them real value. Consumer attitudes are becoming more conservative and hesitant. Unfortunately, brands who continue to operate within their own echo chamber, and don’t start to build lasting, value-driven relationships with their consumers, may find themselves on the “nonessential” list.

TIA: Were you already following any global issue before the spread of the virus?

BG: I’ve always been interested by economics and global markets, and I believe as a business owner, it’s important to understand the greater context that you’re operating in. It’s not exactly breaking news that things aren’t looking very optimistic. We’re already seeing the early signs of a recession, and there’s undoubtably going to be radical shifts in consumer behavior. But to say exactly what the impacts of COVID-19 will be… well, that would quite literally be a trillion-dollar answer.

TIA: Can you share any of your upcoming projects that you’re excited about?

BG: It may sound cliché, but we’re equally excited about all of our clients’ projects. Something that we’re seeing across the board, however, is the need to move into an ecommerce first strategy. For many brands, ecommerce was only a supplemental sales channel, but with COVID-19 and social distancing taking effect, it’s now the beating heart of the business. Online sales are our bread and butter, so helping clients take the next step into ecommerce is super exciting for us.

TIA: How has your life story shaped the person you are today?

BG: I have always found myself on a very non-linear path. I studied engineering and worked as a software developer before I ever stepped foot into the world of marketing. I’ve started several businesses, some of which were more successful than others. Approaching the world from many different angles has taught me that there is no one, single perspective for looking at life. The best ideas are often born in the gray area. I get excited when I’m challenged to get creative or find an out of the box solution, and I think that’s what draws me to marketing.

TIA: Can you share a fun fact that not many people know about you?

BG: When I was in my early 20s, I participated in a clown training program. The training is quite simple actually- throw yourself into the most awkward, uncomfortable, and downright embarrassing situations, and get through it with a smile on your face. I didn’t make a lot of people laugh, but I learned how to accept uncomfortable feelings and persist through them. It was actually one of the most useful skills I’ve ever learned.

Bruno Gavino Codedesign Working Preferences

Connect with Bruno on LinkedIn here and also Codedesign is a digital marketing agency specializing in data-driven online sales and lead generation solutions for brands in a variety of verticals. Contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our digital marketing experts.

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