Helping to devise the strategy in large (and smaller) projects, collaboration and strong communication is always an essential part of any freelance experience strategists role but when the pandemic hit in 2019, the fundamental ways of working changed overnight.
Beginning her freelance career in 2014, Experience Strategist Joana Veiga dipped in and out of full time and freelance roles until she decided to go completely freelance in 2019. Having typically worked onsite for a number of agencies before the pandemic, Joana would work onsite with clients so she could understand what the approved Scope of Work (SOW) is and what the commercial and project objectives are of the Agency. She would then start working with the End-Client, the Brand and audit the objectives and goals of the relevant stakeholders.
But with a sudden enforced remote working, Joana had to quickly pivot her standard ways of working which she describes as by far, the biggest challenge of her professional life, so far.
When Covid hit we had to pivot and work from home. All the new processes, running workshops, co-creation sessions, engaging clients and teams, testing and learning on the fly was, by far, the biggest challenge of my professional life, so far.
Having overcome such a big challenge in her career, we asked Joana about other more common challenges she often comes up against when working with clients on their projects
Often, agencies don’t have a well-defined statement of work or approved project and that can complicate things. I would love to see end-clients (the brands) being more conscious of the agencies’ processes, so they could bake their timelines into their own.
When it comes to working with these challenges we were suddenly faced with;
Being mindful of everyone’s own personal situation was integral.
Working through the pandemic as a hands on freelancer also caused Joana to change her ways of working to include;
Checking in on colleagues and partners. Having daily stand-ups to bring people together. Keeping my camera on 99% of the time, even when I didn’t feel like it. Chopping down working sessions to 2 hours and taking breaks. It was normal to be all day in a workshop but you can’t be all day in a video call.
But it hasn’t always been a difficult landscape for experience strategists like Joana to navigate. We asked Joana about some of her favourite projects and what clients had done to help make it go smoothly.
I would say having open and fair clients who are able to share information, co-create and integrate the fresh point of view a strategy consultant brings to the table.
When it comes to how clients can help projects run smoothly, Joana was quick to share her own experiences of when it goes well
I always want to understand what is the approved SOW (Scope of Work) and what are the commercial and project objectives of the Agency.
Again, highlighting how important clear communication is as part of her daily role. We then asked Joana if there was one thing, as an experience strategist, Joana could have direct impact on for change?
I would like to be able to keep track of the results and what happens to the projects I was involved with. I tend to be brought in to work at the beginning / inception of a project but then I leave and lose track of progress.
And the best piece of advice Joana has received in her career so far? Joana says it’s simple;
If you promised to do something, do it. People need to trust you and know you’re reliable. Reputation is everything. I tend to get repeat business from previous clients and I believe it’s because they trust me.
Winning the YJ Strategist of the Year award meant a lot to Joana who moved to London from Lisbon in 2013, and in her own words
I had to start from scratch, in my early 30s. The award made me feel recognised by my peers and the Industry.
If you want your next project to run as smoothly as possible, why not book Joana.