What even was 2021?
Don’t know about you, but for us, this year was a whirlwind.
Even though it started in a lockdown, we could definitely notice that our clients were looking forward and preparing for a more optimistic future. With their marketing strategies stronger now after adding more focus to their digital channels during the first year of the pandemic, the businesses that we work with started making plans for new spring and summer campaigns, ensuring us that we’ll have our hands full with work for the foreseeable future.
This intensified workload made us revisit our own plans too – we realised that to support our clients better and to ensure the work-life balance doesn’t become a problem, we have to set off on a fishing expedition to reel in more fresh talent in all departments.
With projects that kept us occupied throughout last year, including an exciting new brand and website development for the TV-advertised Crocodile, a couple of new online shops and an innovative internal platform for Berry Global’s waste reduction campaign, Waste is Gold – to name just a few projects – we knew we needed a lot of additional help, and pronto.
That’s how we ended up with 6 new recruits this year – and they’re all splendid. Have you read their stories yet?
Georgia & Niamh – https://fishtankagency.com/blog/doubling-up-on-designers
Last year really reinforced the importance of user experience for our e-commerce clients too. Re-designing the customer journey for Butterworths and Chelsea Beds Co we sourced wisdom from all our departments – Design, Digital and Dev – making sure that we’re creating interfaces optimised not only for conversion but also for ease of use, prioritising transparency of the process over fancy bells and whistles.
But mostly, 2021 was about building connections. Despite spending the majority of the year working from our homes, we set out a goal to check in with our network, getting better at social engagement and nurturing client relationships. Thanks to that we were able to build a great bond with KC Communications, who we recently helped to rebrand as Wild PR. You can read the great story of our collaboration and the Wild project here. Keeping in touch for the last couple of years, we also finally helped JMG Group put their mark on the web, giving the group a new digital home at jmg-group.co.uk/.
In the meantime, we celebrated some big dates. Joe received lots of appreciation and chin tickles for his 10 years at Fishtank mark [Read more here] – and we were thankful to be able to get together for that one!
Claire and Paul celebrated their 5th Fishtank-versary while Ola, Gemma and Mike were just behind with their 4 year anniversary status. This is something we take a lot of pride in – people rarely stay with us for just a moment. 🥰
We learned a lot this year too, all of us. And not just about Tag Manager, animations or code – some learnings came from inside, rather than the outside world. When Damien took an 8 week sabbatical, there was a lot on our Heads’ heads… Managing the agency in his absence, the senior team realised, just as much as the boss did when he came back, that the team is now more than capable and can not only maintain the course, but also shine, win contracts and close deals. That said, we welcomed Damien back eagerly and with a big song and dance. Watching him squirm was fantastic – See for yourself.
But, let’s not get too soft now! When we’re talking about this year, we can’t forget about Euro 2020 and how much excitement that was for everyone in the country. The live game commentary on the Fishtank WhatsApp group was unrivalled – we can only feel sorry for those that didn’t experience Craig’s and Georgina’s magnificent football insights. But we all know how those championships ended, so we tried to dry our tears by throwing ourselves into work. And with sport so close to our heart, we managed to squeeze in a football-focused project too – the dev and design teams put their heads together to create a new platform for YEFA, giving the academy a chance to promote their great mission. Having just finished the Association of Sport Directors platform, we had a lot of valuable research and experience – and honestly, it was just fun to see the football world from a completely different side.
Finally, one of our favourite client memories from this year was starting an exciting journey with Glu Recruit too, a fantastic crowd from Rotherham that quickly turned out to be Fishtank’s long lost sibling. To be honest, we can’t wait to show you their new website in the New Year – it’s going to blow your reindeer socks off.
One of the great things about being a small local agency is the ability to help young people get their professional experience and get involved in a variety of B2B and B2C projects. Assisting Max with his University placement was so great, it encouraged us to take on an apprentice in the Digital department (hello Katie) and we were happy to invite Stevie for a work experience week in the summer too. We’re thoroughly invested in this mindset and plan to carry this into our 2022 strategy and beyond, making it ‘the Fishtank way’ of giving back to the creative community.
But all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy… No? 😉
Fishtank is a sum of its parts – and each of these parts made an effort to make 2021 special somehow. Read on to find out the specific achievements and milestones that made this year amazing for each and every one of us outside of Fishtank:
For me it was finally celebrating my and Jack’s engagement with our beautiful engagement party in September, and finding my wedding dress!! 👰🏼🌴
My greatest achievement this year was taking the plunge into a new career and getting an apprenticeship at an amazing organisation (Fishtank of course!) where I can pursue my passion – digital marketing 🥰
I think growing my first baby potato and my engagement were both equally meaningful 😂! I also said yes to the dress 👰🏼
My highlight of the year was definitely going to see Dreamboys…👀
It’s work-related, but I’ve been able to refine my animation skills and worked on loads of great projects with great people!
Surviving another year of a pandemic was a success in itself!
We hear you on that one Gem 🍻
Getting a role here at Fishtank and buying my first car were both special moments.
Finding out we’re going to have a second baby… Amazing!
I finally caved in and agreed to buying a house… And it turned out to be great! I mean, getting the fuschia pink velvet sofa I wanted helped a lot but it’s a good adventure altogether 😁
For me, it was finishing uni – even though we didn’t get a graduation 😔
Seeing live music is massively important to me and so when music venues and stuff reopened this year I was delighted and went to see an AC/DC cover band. It was awesome 🤘🏻
The big one for me would be becoming an Uncle.
A big collective ‘Awwwww’
Moving back down south to be closer to my family and surviving living with them for a month 😉
Seeing some of my favourite artists/live music again after covid – Caribou and Glass Animals were fantastic!
Finally meeting the big man himself, Mr Claus, and with the family for a trip of a lifetime in Lapland. I will never forget seeing the boys’ faces when they met Santa, and he had their letters in his hand. Pure Magic, plus seeing them ski for the first time wasn’t a far second, genuinely magical trip!
We could complain, with our Christmas party getting cancelled on the day of (thanks Corona…) but we realised that, in all its weirdness, this year did bring us a lot to be thankful for. We’re stronger, we’re happy, there’s more of us and we can do some awesome things together. So thank you, 2021 and roll on 2022!