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Customer Story: Red Antler

Defining and positioning “The Next Big Thing”.

Defining and positioning ‘The Next Big Thing’ - Red Antler

Red Antler is a Brooklyn-based brand consultancy specializing in new ventures. Their three partners worked in the advertising world at large agencies like Saatchi & Saatchi, JWT, and Kirshenbaum, Bond & Partners. Founded in 2007, they’ve since grown to 30 people, working on projects for the likes of Behance, Rent The Runway, and Cornell University.

Helping new companies define who they are.

Red Antler grew out of a desire to work with people who were creating something new, and weren’t really the right fit to go and work with a big agency. As a new and hungry upstart themselves, the challenge lay in finding ways to add value for entrepreneurs who weren't trying to advertise and had no budgets.

After doing some consulting work for Behance, and working closely with the founding team to affect strategy, messaging, and user experience, JB Osborne (CEO) and Emily Heyward (Head of Strategy) found it not only incredibly rewarding, but a crystallizing experience. They were energized by working with new businesses, helping them define and position themselves, and to enable them to communicate and grow. By mid-2010, Red Antler had merged with graphic-design company Pro-Am, and Simon Endres joined as a partner and Creative Director. They started building their team and hiring full-time designers. Scaling from a team of two to having several full-time salaries and freelance fees to juggle, they realized they would need more than their traditional Quickbooks setup.

See where all of the time is going.

JB explains how limited project visibility had been under the old system: “When it came time for us to price our projects, we realized that we had almost zero visibility about our cost structure and its relationship to how much time people were spending on each project. When we were working on a core branding project, something we’d done many times before, I had no idea if we were putting in two, or even three times the amount of time. It was just all speculation, and our inability to quantify time spent vs cost led us to look into time tracking.”

“With our old system through Quickbooks, the only way for us to track it was to look at our profit at the end of the month and see if we has done a good job of estimating or not.” However, this approach of looking backwards wasn’t the way to move forward confidently. He adds, “This approach was not only reactive, but it didn’t educate us on how to do it better moving forward. With Harvest we can see the time people are spending and be able to say, ‘Oh, wow, on this project, this is what we estimated, but this is what we actually spent.’ That was really educational for us, to understand the value of what we do. For me, it’s about understanding the scope of a project, how much time we’re spending on it, and the value of that work. This way, we can feel confident in our fees and commitments.”

For me, it’s about understanding the scope of a project, how much time we’re spending on it, and the value of that work.

“As both our account and design teams have grown, Harvest has been an incredibly useful tool for us. It's definitely increased our profitability as a business. It’s helped us as owners, to have visibility into our business and understand how we spend our time, the value of that time, and ultimately, to make sure we’re being compensated for that value we’re creating. That’s a really big win for me.”

As simple as creating an account.

With Harvest, the simplicity of the app limits training and encourages usage. “When I was at a big agency, expense reports and time tracking would just sit there for months, and then you would just go in there to get it over with and enter numbers that are not accurate. We don’t have that challenge here, people are much more proactive about it. Whenever we have a new person join the team, there’s never a situation where someone asks me, ‘What’s this thing? I don’t know how to use it. Can someone train me, walk me through it? What do I have to do?’ It’s just as simple as creating an account for them, and it happens: they just do it. I think that’s a really powerful thing.”

“We're incredibly busy, so no one has any time for anything other than trying to get the work done for our clients, but having Harvest be a seamless, integrated experience designed both for the account team and the design team has been great. I think time is money, and it saves us money for sure.”

Having Harvest be a seamless, integrated experience designed both for the account team and the design team has been great.

Estimates that help you increase billing.

JB further explains, “Harvest serves two main functions for us. One is the reporting, to have visibility of the time being spent on different projects. The other is estimates, which, when we were smaller and didn’t have the right systems in place, we used to do by email only.

“We've now got a system in place where any production estimates, new client estimates for work, or change orders all happen through Harvest estimates. Now there’s a connection between our account team and billing to make sure that we’re billing the right stuff. It’s increased billing because we have an easier way to determine additional billings, track them, and make sure they get billed. It’s easy to determine project scope and cost, capture it in Harvest, and know it's going to be dealt with. Estimating is less of a hassle, rather than being something you have to remember to deal with.”

With Harvest keeping track of their time and estimates, Red Antler is able to focus on helping launch “the next big thing”.