At its heart, branding is about storytelling. And a good story must begin with a compelling storyteller to pull in the reader. As Mary Ellen Davy, founder of ellen&ellen, explains, they create brands that pull – acting as narrators for a business' story, and arming their clients with the hook and key messages that will turn heads at market.With a team of just five, ellen&ellen have completed some major brand applications including; The New Zealand Defence Force, AirForce and Navy, Government House, QBE Insurance, Vista Entertainment Solutions and Greentree.
But like any small agency, ellen&ellen doesn't have the staff capacity for a complex management system. The team manage clients and workflow themselves, and they needed a product that would enable them to streamline processes as much as possible to free up time for billable work.
"When ellen&ellen first started, we had a pen and paper," said Libby Sinclair, one of ellen&ellen's design team. "We used to draw up our workflow on a whiteboard, which become really hard to track when you have a lot of clients. We did manual time sheets for 3 months, and that was difficult. Then our accountants put us on to WorkflowMax."
The company did have an account manager once, and while she was great, her salary was a drain on a small company. "We've pretty much replaced the account manager's job with WorkflowMax. Now, everyone can be the account manager."
"We use WorkflowMax every day," explains Mary. "We set up a job, allocate time, allocate tasks to specific team members – and at the end of a project, all the hours are in there, all the charges, how much each person costs per hour. You can quickly see the profit you make on each job. The fact that I can go – that’s the wages, that’s the cost, and that what we made – from a business perspective, that's bloody fantastic.”
The ellen&ellen team use the software mainly for time sheeting, quotes, job management, and reporting. Mary loves the fact that WorkflowMax allows her to keep track of what's going on in the agency, even when she's away from the office, and integrating with Xero means she always has a complete picture of her business.
“I'm a creative director, not an accountant,” says Mary. “But I still need to be able to manage my business effectively. Tools like WorkflowMax provide complete transparency to agency owners.”
As a busy creative director, Mary is often out-and-about, attending networking events, meeting with clients and hustling for her agency. She loves the fact that no matter where she is, she can have access to WorkflowMax and see exactly how the team is performing. “I love the fact that it's all in the cloud and I can access it anywhere without installing any software. I just need my laptop, or my ipad, and I can access it anywhere I want.”
Mary now can't imagine ellen&ellen functioning without WorkflowMax. "It’s a life saver. All you need is those two systems – WorkflowMax and Xero – to run an effective agency. It’s the perfect end-to-end business solution."