How did the pandemic change Rebell Studio? True story.


There is so much talk now about the effects of a pandemic, crisis and change. One thing has certainly not changed - people are like chameleons, they adapt to reality in the blink of an eye ;)

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” ― Albert Einstein

Today I want to share with you a real story about small agency from Poland who got impacted by the pandemic. About us, about Rebell Studio.

We are a team of six girls, who run a design agency. Just before the pandemic we wanted to growth and employ two new people. We had a plans about workshops in our co-working space, we wanted to go to conferences and share the success story of a young female-only agency run by women. Before…

Until March 13, when we announced the principles of home office to the girls until further notice. At the beginning everyone told us that this is just for two weeks – same as with the schools. But after few days we all knew it would take much longer. The real problem began when all customers began to interrupt, pause, withdraw, cancel projects. All…

We mostly work as creative agency and online is maybe 5-10% of our projects. Everyone panicked a little. It was not only about fear for business, but first and foremost about health. Our lives have been turned upside down. We were forbidden to leave the house except for necessary purchases. Fear reflected in the clear judgment of the situation in many companies. So we were not surprised that our clients reacted this way.

We started to wonder what to do here. One, of course, for our business, but also how we can help others. First of all, we decided to use the free processing capacity of our graphic designers and do what we didn't have time for - supplementing our portfolio. Second, we set up profiles on platforms for creative agencies such as Clutch or DesignRush. We also had to reduce one position and stop recruiting for two more. We talked with our clients about how we can help them with activities that do not generate high costs, and we did it voluntarily. It was our pleasure that clients have been working with us for years and we just wanted to tell them what they can do without great budgets.

We also launched a small project to support small local businesses - such as hairdressers, beauticians, bookstores, etc. We called it #projektwsparcie (literally a support project). It consisted in the fact that the graphic designers could prepare graphics that reminded of some point, be it a dance school or tattoo studio, describe it, add # and share on social media. In this way, people could support these small projects, but they also remembered about them. Because these businesses were cut off completely from their livelihood. It wasn’t a big undertaking, but if we help even one of them it was worth to put effort into making it public and encouraging participation.

Well, but it was also necessary to ensure the existence of our agency.

Fortunately, among our clients there is also a large courier company GLS, which first of all played a very important social role these days, but also needed a slightly different, new communication. We had a lot to do here. We have entered the competition for communication regarding the introduction of BLIK payments. There were many challenges - how to record a video with such restrictions and when production houses do not work, how to find actors, how to communicate to maintain a sense of security in the recipients, but not to die in the crowd? We found a way and won a competition. Our idea soon saw the light of day and met with a great response from recipients and the company itself from multiple regions of Europe.

The campaign achieved really good results in the selected target group, as evidenced mainly by the high CTR (0.13%), as well as e.g. exceptionally long time spent with a rich media creation (36 seconds) or high ranges and indicator views on YT.

It was one of the few projects that we did in these most difficult months. Our company revenues fell cruelly and all we could do was draw conclusions for the future.

Fortunately, we can slowly see that the projects are starting up and everything is back to normal. But we don’t want to wait for the next such situation. We want to be better prepared.
For some time we have been planning to rebuild our small organization and separate two teams, one that will specialize in UX UI and the other that will carry out creative and off-line projects :) The pandemic has only confirmed our belief that there is nothing to wait and we need to go fast in this direction. The world is moving online, and our creative ideas work great there as well.
What is more, despite huge decreases in revenues, we decided to hire a consultant with experience in working for a large corporation, on analysis, numbers, not just intuition – to build strong brand for Rebell Studio. We also work on bringing better company project management processes.

There are a lot of challenges ahead of us, but as I always say "every cloud has a silver lining”.
What has the pandemic taught us is that an employee at home office is not less efficient at all. That is why we are now very open to home office working model, earlier it was just an alternative for us, but stationary work seemed to us definitely more efficient.