In Session with Andy Street & Ed James

6th November 2020

West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, was talking all things digital with HDY co-founder Ed James this Wednesday in a live webinar. Recorded from two different locations in Birmingham, the socially distanced talk set the scene for the topic at hand. Heading into another lockdown, should businesses bet on digital as they plan for the road ahead? 

As John Lewis’ Managing Director throughout the financial crash of 2008, Andy had some shrewd insights into our current situation and on how digital will be key throughout the Covid era. The high street retailer survived the crash by pivoting its business and shifting online. While there’s no safe bet, as Andy pointed out, investing in digital paid off last time and it’s likely it’ll pay off again. 

Ed’s recent book ‘Be More Kid’ puts forward the case for a bold and playful approach to business. He points out in the webinar that big, daring brands are often built at times like these – if there was ever a moment to shift, it’s now, while audience engagement is higher than ever. 

The talk turned towards Birmingham and to the 5G initiative which has seen the city top the ranks as the best connected in the UK. The multi-million WM5G programme will drive opportunities throughout the region and across sectors. As a Brummie-based agency, it’s our job to help our clients to pivot digitally and to help unlock the digital potential of the West Midlands

Whether it’s mapping out an online strategy for retail giant Poundshop, or switching a performance-based festival to a virtual platform, being light-footed is key. The pandemic has accelerated the need for a strong online presence – to take advantage of social trends, switched on audiences and to be ready for whatever comes.

Adapting to change – as people, as teams, as cities – will allow for growth; we must create chances, and as Andy points out, being open to digital will facilitate this. It’s a time to pivot, to tell your story loud and to flourish.