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Test Days, Tips

Experimentation and why it’s crucial to growth within your business

By Sophie | May 22, 2020

I’ve always been one to challenge the word ‘creative’. It’s always irritated me when ‘creative’ people are pigeon-holed into typically ‘creative roles’, such as the arts, photography, video, design etc. If you’re a good problem solver, you’re creative. If you can look at a situation, step outside of it and come up with a new approach, you’re creative… the list goes on.

In October last year, I introduced a new monthly event for the whole team, a monthly ‘Test Day’. We’re a visual content agency creating photography, videography and graphics for brands, so definitely your stereotypical ‘creative’ company. However, the more of these test days we completed, the more I started to think how valuable this could be for other businesses across a range of industries. 

What is a ‘Test Day’?

For us, a test day involves us spending a whole day in the studio, shooting and creating work for the pure FUN of it. We gather inspiration in the weeks running up to each test day by pulling together work, brands and concepts that we love. We create simple storyboards and a basic shoot plan for the day, gather our props and necessary equipment and VOILA!

We tend to focus quite heavily on products and food and drink brands that we admire or would love to collaborate with. We try and create visuals that not only look good but challenge our existing skill set. We want to be actively learning in some form from each test day so it’s crucial that we push our limits and create opportunities to problem solve. We spend the whole day being 100% creative without an ounce of concern about the finished results or client expectations. The test day is for us but subsequently improves our abilities as a team, therefore is great for our clients too!

Now, I appreciate that this example ^ is very specific to us and our service-offering, but it doesn’t need to be! If you’re a Marketing Agency for example, what about spending a whole day coming up with a completely fictional campaign idea for a brand you love? If you’re a consultancy firm, how about finding a company you’d love to work with and creating a business growth plan particular to them? Even if these can’t actually be used for any sort of client purposes, they give you and your team the opportunity to be creative and problem solve without any client pressure. I promise you, you’ll come up with ideas that haven’t occurred to you before. 

The idea for a monthly test day came about for 2 key reasons:

1 – When running a company, a big part of the growth and development is trying to work with more and more clients that you really want to work with. Clients that are invested in your brand, value the work you create for them and are open to building long-lasting relationships. We know what we’re really good at and we know what sort of work we’d love to be creating on a daily basis so the test day idea enabled us to create work we’re desperate to show off and then means we can share that work with our audience, hopefully prompting more enquiries from clients wanting a similar thing. It’s also a really fantastic way for us to directly communicate with brands/businesses that might otherwise feel ‘out of reach’. By tagging them online within the test work we’ve made for them, it’s one of the best introductions into who we are and what we’re capable of.

2 – Here at Skip50 we believe that the happiness and talent of our team is the strength of our company. It’s pretty simple, test days are really fun! They’re engaging, enjoyable and inspiring. It’s a fantastic team-bonding exercise, working together to create brand new work and concepts, learning each time a little bit more about how each of us like to work, what makes us tick and where we each thrive. We thoroughly look forward to this day and it’s very quickly became incredibly important to us.

I really believe that allowing your team as much creativity and problem-solving opportunity is only ever going to be a huge benefit to your business, even if this doesn’t directly relate to a client project. Now, I don’t want anyone reading this thinking that we don’t enjoy creating work for our clients, of course we do, we love it, but by removing all client restrictions for just one day a month we’ve discovered new ideas, more ways of improving our client experience and how to turn an aubergine into a perfume bottle… you’ll have to check out our other blog items for more on that one ;).

Thanks for reading!