All businesses, particularly small ones, need to work as efficiently as possible, which is why tech for agencies is an important subject for me. It doesn’t hurt that I love technology: gadgets, software, AI (artificial intelligence). It brings out the inner geek that’s not so inner. Here’s what we use at Spencer Brenneman to deliver branding services as efficiently and effectively as possible.
G Suite as the foundation
First, we use Google G Suite as the foundation of our communications and data storage. “Growing up” professionally, I was chained to Microsoft Office as most are and were to this day, I still don’t understand why one would choose to live that way. For me, using Office was like working after eating a large Italian meal with a side order of pancakes all while the laces of your shoes were tied together. But hey, what do I know? Microsoft seems to be doing just fine without me.
To be clear, G Suite is not perfect. There are many features and functions that fall short. Slides, in particular, is a bit disappointing and, get this: My Google Assistant at home cannot access my G Suite calendar. My Alexa can, but not Google Assistant. Go figure. (Yes, I have both. I told you I was a geek.)
Despite those shortcomings, G Suite, particularly Mail, Drive, and Docs, serve us very well. Plus using my Google credentials to sign-on to other platforms is super convenient and time-saving.
For me, using Office was like working after a large Italian meal with a side order of pancakes, all while the laces of your shoes were tied together.
Asana to the rescue
If G Suite is our musculature, then Asana is our central nervous system. It’s incredibly important to us. It works beautifully with G Suite (although not so great with Apple Pages and Keynote; more on that later) and keeps everything on track. When I have trouble remembering a client’s preference or decision, all I have to do is select the Conversations tab and @ryan_kelley_’s meticulous notes are right there, answering my questions.
Apple of our Agency
You’ve no doubt guessed by now that we’re an Apple shop. My MacBook Air, now five years old and still running like a champ, is my best non-sentient friend. We also use Apple Pages and Keynote a lot. They’re powerful, simple to use, and provide far better results than Word and PowerPoint. (We do, of course, use those tools when our clients need us too, but that’s the only time we will.) Plus, now with the latest Apple operating system, you can add photos directly from your phone into your projects. Not a daily need, but cool nonetheless.
If G Suite is the musculature, then Asana is our central nervous system.
Creativity in the Adobe Creative Cloud
What review of tech for agencies does not include Adobe Creative Cloud? They’re the standard. Photoshop is open on our machines far more often than it’s not. Of course, Acrobat is a must as well. One of the tools within Creative Cloud I’ve grown to love is XD. It’s brill for cranking out wireframes that are consistent, professional, and fast.
Botkeeper, AI by the books
I am fascinated by AI. Faaaaaaaascinated, I tell you, which is why we have recently moved our bookkeeping to Botkeeper, a Boston-based startup that provides “24/7 bookkeeping, bank-grade security, and skilled accountants to ensure your books are always handled and always accurate.” Our engagement with them has just started, so check back in a few months to see if the move was warranted. I’m obviously convinced it was.
Through Setapp we get access to dozens of specialized apps that you would typically have to buy individually.
Setapp sets us up for efficiency
Another fascination I have is with Setapp. Through Setapp we get access to dozens of specialized apps that you would typically have to buy individually. I have no idea how many apps they have and I cannot imagine that anyone would or could use them all. However, the ten or so I use more than make the monthly fee a steal. Here are some of my favorites:
Paste. If I stopped showering in the morning, Paste would still save me more time each day. In a nutshell, it lets you save all the content you copy and paste (Paste, get it?). You can even save them in different categories, such as snippets for each client. For example, I keep the Hex values for each of our clients’ color palettes in Paste.
Another time saver is Rocket Typist. It lets you use shortcuts to quickly enter certain type. For example, when I type “.lmk” Rocket Typist does this:
Let me know if you have questions. Thanks!
Full disclosure, TextExpander is a far more robust tool for the same functionality, but it is not part of Setapp, so Rocket Typist is good enough for me.
- Bartender tames my menu bar icons.
- BetterTouchTool lets me geek out on my trackpad.
- CleanMyMac and PDFSqueezer do just what their names imply.
There you have it. Some of the ways tech for agencies helps this small agency and business deliver the magic we do, efficiently and—most importantly—enjoyably.
What do you use? Let me know. Oh, and if you like a challenge and want to try to dilute my disdain for Microsoft Office, feel free! I’m all ears.