Partner Profile: Branch Labs
Tuesday, May 15, 2018Lauren Macdonald
What is your primary focus/specialty, and why?
BranchLabs is an eCommerce agency that works primarily on Magento, Shopify and WordPress. We're focused on helping clients get the most out of their online stores, whether we're building them from the ground up or helping existing ones grow. Our team of programmers, designers, strategists, data analysts, and managers collaborate with clients to push out new initiatives and integrations, whether it's a snazzy new marketing page or a new backend integration that'll save the customer service team dozens of hours every month.
We primarily work with small to mid-sized retailers who sell B2C products. Often our clients have their own brands and produce their own products, though we also work with retailers and distributors with huge catalogs of other manufacturers' products.
How long have you been doing what you’re doing?
I started the company a little over four years ago as an individual consultant—my skills were primarily in strategy and development, with a tinge of design thrown in for good measure.
We've grown quite a bit since then, both through word of mouth and through the success of our first customers. As our clients grown, so have their eCommerce needs—and thus, so have we. That's not something I thought to factor in when I first started, but it's been fantastically rewarding to take part in.
What region(s) do you service?
Company headquarters are in Denver, Colorado. We have smaller presences in Los Angeles and New York as well.
Our process is, of course, designed to help us collaborate effectively regardless of location.
After all, even if you're in the same city as your agency most client-agency collaboration happens remotely over conference calls, email, or chat. That's why we've optimized our process for communication and collaboration with that in mind.
Who are some of your notable clients?
Fjallraven, La Sportiva, and Newton Running are probably the most recognizable client brands we work with, but every client provides unique and interesting challenges, which is something the team really likes sinking their teeth into.
Tell us something interesting about your company that makes you different?
Having worked at other agencies in the past, I think something that makes us different is our intense focus on the process by which we communicate and collaborate with clients. Doing the work and doing it well is very important to us. But largely that's a function of hiring the right people, having enough bandwidth to serve existing clients, and investing in training.
Communication is a bit different. Even the best manager can easily get overwhelmed without the right tools and processes for communicating with clients. It's easy for clients to get lost—to not know where specific projects are, what's blocked, and when to expect the next update.
What I've found is that it's not that most agencies are incompetent, it's just that their communications strategy sometimes makes it look that way.
Why did you choose to work with eBridge Connections?
eBridge is a great partner for us because—true to name—they bridge the gap between our deep in-house knowledge of eCommerce platforms like Shopify and Magento and the adjacent world of enterprise resource planning software (ERPs) and other data management platforms that are absolutely crucial to our clients' operational excellence.
The team at eBridge is great because they're enthusiastic to learn the unique issues that our clients are facing. Together, we're able to take that understanding and develop really solid solutions that work well on both sides of the integration while solving specific business problems.
Provide a favourite quote on eCommerce, digital marketing, or just what you do overall.
Ok, while this isn't specifically about eCommerce, it is from Jeff Bezos. Hopefully that's good enough. This quote is from his 2018 letter to shareholders, and I think it's hugely relevant to quality client-agency collaboration.
To achieve high standards yourself or as part of a team, you need to form and proactively communicate realistic beliefs about how hard something is going to be.
In order to produce good work, Bezos says there needs to be not only an understanding about how hard it'll be, but that that understanding needs to be understood across the team.
Everyone needs to get aligned on how long an initiative will take, otherwise the team is setting itself up for disappointment. I've been thinking about this quote a good amount recently, and I recommend reading the whole letter in its entirety for anyone who finds the above quote thought provoking.