The year started for Acorn Strategy just like it did for everyone else: a lot of uncertainty, an urgent need to adapt operations and work to a completely new set up, and a quest to meet business objectives and maintain employee morale in the process.
In the second half of March, Acorn Strategy was among the first companies in the UAE and the region to take a decision to work from home as a precautionary measure. Internal and external meetings would now have to be conducted online, and the usual order of business was considerably altered. We simply didn’t know how soon we would go back to the office, or what the market would look like by the time we did.
Three months later, however, and contrary to a general trend, Acorn Strategy had won major new contracts, doubled in size, and nearly doubled its profits compared to a year earlier. The challenges Acorn Strategy had to deal with were not of the type anyone would expect in a year like 2020: remote onboarding and induction, assimilating new recruits into the company’s culture and inner dynamic, and managing all that within a reasonable timeframe.
“In a year where business slowed down, budgets were slashed, priorities were reassessed, and strategies came undone, Acorn Strategy recognised, co-opted and cultivated the active ingredient of growth.”
Moreover, Acorn Strategy’s clients with ongoing communications and public relations contracts needed to adapt their communications and marketing strategies to address the new situation. This would have to be done rather quickly, delivering meaningful results that helped clients in the public and private sectors retain and grow their audiences, increase brand awareness, and achieve returns on investment.
The results of all these pursuits were exemplary success. The keyword for how Acorn Strategy managed not only to maintain its business, but also to grow in the midst of a welter of external threats, competition and uncertainty, is agility. The company was quick to adapt to the rapidly evolving situation, drawing on the skills and expertise of its workforce, as well as its inherent flexibility. Processes and policies were updated to accommodate new ways of work and ensure employees were comfortable and safe as they worked from home. From then on, the ship sailed smoothly from one milestone to the next, reshaping and refining whenever and wherever necessary, earning a prominent position in regional and international markets as a resilient, methodical and highly adaptive agency.
In late 2020, Acorn Strategy celebrated its 10th anniversary. It wasn’t a conventional celebration, but neither was the success it marked. In a year where business slowed down, budgets were slashed, priorities were reassessed, and strategies came undone, Acorn Strategy recognised, co-opted and cultivated the active ingredient of growth; one that earned it widespread recognition in the form of shortlists for five prestigious industry awards – on top of everything else. That ingredient is agility.