Location: New York City, Amsterdam, Singapore
Employees: 50 across the 3 locations
Using Rodeo: since March 2020
Clients: Coca-Cola, Netflix, Lenovo, Zalando, Sixt, Vans, Nike, MTV, Timberland, Rituals, LG, Heineken, Maxi-Cosi, Essent, Converse
Campaign created by SuperHeroes for Lenovo
SuperHeroes is described as a “post-advertising ad agency” because they take a modern approach to advertising. Born and raised in the digital age, the team is fully aware of current concepts such as subscription models, ad blockers, and the swiftness with which people tend to swipe nowadays.
They tackle this strategic challenge while brewing their creative secret sauce to make campaigns unique, valuable, and entertaining. A challenge they handle well, as they have some huge brands in their client portfolio. We spoke to Susan Vugts, Client Director at SuperHeroes’ office in New York City, about how Rodeo has helped them optimize their workflows so they have more time left for the creative process.
Why SuperHeroes needs a project management tool
Just like many other companies that work on creative projects, SuperHeroes had been working without a project management tool for a long time. Since their early beginnings in 2009, the team used a plethora of different sheets and programs to work in, such as Google Drive.
As the company kept growing, they realized they were starting to lose control and overview of everything. They didn’t have a lot of insight into how many hours were actually spent on projects, and if these projects were profitable enough.
For these reasons, the team started using a time-tracking tool so employees could record their hours worked. This already gave them a better understanding of the time that went into projects, although employees weren’t always diligently adding their hours. However, there was still no solution for how data was being spread out over different sheets.
They knew it was probably a good idea to start looking for an all-in-one project management tool very soon. If only somebody on the team would have the time to do all the investigating and testing they presumed it would take...
When SuperHeroes met Rodeo
The story about how SuperHeroes found out about Rodeo is very unconventional. The team often works on projects for huge, famous brands that are fighting to maintain their market share. Once in a while though, they also take up projects for smaller companies that need help putting their name on the map. One of which was Rodeo! SuperHeroes was hired for multiple campaigns, including a social media project. Through this collaboration, both parties were able to get to know each other - and each other’s services - really well.
Susan Vugts: “In order to create an effective campaign, we needed to pinpoint exactly what the unique strength of Rodeo was. This included a phase during which we defined their complete brand story. During our research, we started feeling more and more convinced that Rodeo offered exactly what we had been looking for ourselves. We mentioned this and were referred to the Sales VP of the US team, named Sam. After providing us with a demo, we were certain that Rodeo was what we needed.”
Event at the SuperHeroes office location in Amsterdam
No research or complicated onboarding process thanks to the personal service offered by Rodeo
As this story reflects, a lot of young companies already realize quite early on that they would benefit from using a project management tool. They just don’t have the time to research all the options that are out there, and which would be most suitable. After requesting some basic info, most project management tools require you to find out for yourself how all the features work and if they are compatible with your business processes. Moreover, a lot of companies charge extra for the onboarding process once you decide to move forward with them. In most circumstances, the whole thing will cost you quite some time and money. Therefore it’s only logical for companies to regard it as a non-urgent matter, putting it off until their administration finally turned into a big mess.
At Rodeo, we completely understand you have little time. That’s why we make this process as efficient and effective as possible. You can plan a demo whenever works best for you, during which you can tell us all about your specific business processes. This allows our experts to provide a tailor-made demo, explaining exactly how your organization can benefit from our features and functionalities. You don’t have to figure it all out yourself. We provide a personal onboarding service at no extra cost, ensuring you fully master using the tool.
This was also confirmed during the interview with Susan Vugts: ”We were asked about our business processes and if we could give some examples for some projects, so we sent over some documents and data that illustrated this. To my pleasant surprise, our data was already added to the testing environment, so the sales representative could show us exactly what working in Rodeo would look like for us. We could easily proceed ourselves after that, continuing to add more data by referring to the examples. Shortly, we were already able to generate reports. So handy! This was so convenient, that I suspected we must be getting special treatment, haha. The whole onboarding process was really smooth.”
Rogier Vijverberg is one of the founders of SuperHeroes
Just one central system with Rodeo
Rodeo’s features were designed and aligned to ensure project phases can be walked through smoothly. All while keeping in mind that each company will have its own way of this, maybe using the features differently than intended. Some features might be used often, others not that much. In any case, you won’t need any other programs or integrations with other tools at all once you have Rodeo. The only exception being the accounting app Quickbooks, which SuperHeroes also uses. Since implementing Rodeo, they have had one central system for everything, instead of multiple tools and sheets creating a scattered workflow.
Susan Vugts: “We use almost all of the features, especially budgets, time-tracking, and reporting. The reports are super valuable to us! We don’t use the planner that much, because we all have our own way of working which always moves along fine. The invoicing feature also isn’t used much, because a separate team deals with that. Accounting receives all our invoices through Rodeo’s integration with Quickbooks.”
New projects are set up super fast with Rodeo, leaving SuperHeroes with more time left for other things
Who likes dealing with administration work? Probably not too many people. Yet, it’s so important to set up your administration in a way that makes your business processes faster and more efficient. With Rodeo, all your admin and data can be found in one place, where it remains organized and up-to-date. This leaves you with more time left for fun stuff, like the creative process.
Susan Vugts: ”We used to copy old projects at times when we had a lot of regular campaigns for clients, but since the pandemic, we mostly work on incidental projects. However, these projects are all very similar as we walk through the same steps with the same team members and activities. Regardless, it still used to feel like we were always starting from scratch. We would create a bunch of sheets to calculate what a project would cost us, how many hours we needed, and which resources. This took way too much time until we started using Rodeo. The data from past projects provides the insights we need to estimate how much time and effort a project requires. Now we can set up a new project within two minutes, and get to work right away.”
Campaign created by SuperHeroes for Zalando
Improved time management with time-tracking and productivity reports
The feature that played a huge role in optimizing SuperHeroes’ overall process, was the time-tracker. They have a lot of creative people working for them that wholeheartedly dislike writing hours, but the time-tracker makes it easy.
Susan Vugts: “The timer works really well, everybody can use it the way they want. Some set the timer, while others add their hours later. This works great. Ever since, we have a very accurate idea of how many hours go into a project, and why certain projects took longer for example. We also have a clear overview of our team’s productivity, enabling us to indicate how much time employees need for certain projects. The second we accept a new project, I already know which of our team members I will assign it to. I know right away that a certain team member will need approximately four days to complete a particular type of project, for example.”
Susan also explains how time-tracking supports the creative process in other ways. Susan Vugts: “Having brainstorm sessions to come up with creative ideas also costs time. Sometimes the team is thinking about a concept, and well, the idea simply comes when it comes right? When this is being timed, you immediately see how much time is left of the billable hours. Does this make creatives feel restricted? Actually, I notice that some people need that pressure, to help them come up with the idea on time. And then sometimes, they don’t. But then we know beforehand that we need to allocate more time for this, or choose to do it on our own watch.”
Projects stay within budget thanks to the time-saving (real-time) reporting feature
Besides improving time management, the team at SuperHeroes is able to track if projects are staying under budget. Now the team can switch gears in a timely manner when real-time reports show it’s necessary, instead of just evaluating how everything went afterward.
Susan Vugts: “The reporting feature is definitely invaluable to us. In the past, it took so much time and effort to collect data from all over the place so we could assess things. Rodeo really sped up our reporting process. Thanks to this, we have more time left to spend on other things, which is very much appreciated by creative people.”
Since implementing Rodeo, SuperHeroes has experienced that:
They have a clear overview of how many hours go into projects, and if they are profitable enough.
They don’t need to work with a bunch of different tools, sheets, and systems as Rodeo serves as one single system where everything happens.
The team didn’t need to figure out how they could benefit from Rodeo’s features. During the demo and onboarding, this was all explained clearly while using examples with real data provided by SuperHeroes.
The team uses almost all of Rodeo’s features, except for the planner and invoicing feature. Thanks to the integration with Quickbooks, all invoices are directly forwarded to their accountant.
New projects are set up within two minutes with Rodeo, based on data from similar, past projects.
Thanks to the time-tracker, they can find out why some projects take longer than others.
The productivity reports offer insight into how many hours/days certain team members need for a particular project, which helps them plan efficiently.
Improved time management as the brainstorming sessions are now also timed.
Projects tend to stay within budget thanks to real-time reports, allowing the team to switch gears in a timely manner.
The reporting and administrative process is much faster now, leaving them with more time to spend on other things.