Look to the Future: Louise Panayides, EDGE Creative

image collage of Louise Panayides
23 March, 2021
EDGE Clients, Industry
8 min read.

With today marking 1 year since the start of lockdown, we’re looking to the future with a series of interviews with a range of businesses and leaders discussing changes in their industry and life over the last year.  

Today also marks National Day of Reflection. Today, we remember those we’ve lost and reflect on the difficulties we’ve all faced. 

Our first interview is with Louise Panayides, our Creative Director at EDGE Creative.  

Louise Panayides, EDGE Creative

One year on from the start of the first lockdown, and we continue to adapt our daily lives and challenge our society in ways we could never have imagined.

For me, as a business owner and employer, my outlook has been turned upside down and now I can start to see this is for the better.

Who are you and what do you do?

“That’s a tough question – where do I start? In a nutshell, I’m highly creative, a visual person and an over-thinker. I certainly view the world sideways! By nature, I solve problems, and I’m determined to achieve any task before me. On the personal side, I am caring, thoughtful and quirky. I have a protective layer around my family and friends, with a playful and carefree attitude to life.

“If I am honest with myself, I see the world through a unique lens. This flexible thinking was ignited from growing up as a left-hander in a right-handed family. On reflection I struggled.

“My childhood learnings came in images, rather than words and numbers. The ‘normal’ world was a challenge to me, except for in sport, where I could play my left / right-handed abilities to my advantage. This ability to switch between both sides of the brain is why I think left-handers are naturally more strategic.

“In the working day, I’m a business owner and the Creative Director of EDGE Creative, which has been established since 2004. Today I focus on relationships, collaborations and building a team.

“In the early years, I was focused purely on the creative aspects, delivering fresh ideas and campaigns to my ever-growing database of customers. I took on every client, project and challenge before me. I’m gratified to say this is not my sole objective today.

“Today we work alongside clients and partners who align with our company principles and culture. Our client relations are built on solid relationships and trust. We have grown into a fully integrated agile agency and we always listen to the needs of our clients. We completely understand that no solution to the brief before us is ever the same – and that is our unique difference, our ‘magic’ is in our method. We are always there to reach, react, respond and review your business activities, ensuring that they are appropriate and suitable.

“We provide a tailored offering and, without being cliche, we want our clients to ‘wear it well’ – each client has a distinct brand and business objective, mix that with their personality, varying outlook on life and skillset and it becomes apparent that no two solutions should ever be the same!”

What are your long-term goals, did you achieve them and what’s left to come?  

“I always want to add more layers to the business, to reach out to a wider audience. In recent years we have worked with many clients overseas, such as Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia and the USA. This has certainly broadened our knowledge in new sectors and business cultures. I also want to continue to offer new services and be at the forefront of emerging technologies.

“As a business we are always reviewing our processes and growing the talent within the team. Following the disastrous events throughout 2020, we are instinctively improving our customer experience (CX). The boundaries between our clients’ business and personal relationships have become blended, and I believe that this is undoubtedly for the better.

“As brand will always be my passion, my long-term goals will involve this arena for sure. It’s at the heart of everything I do and it’s everywhere! I believe an aspiring brand should aim to hit all of your senses. Brand success goes much deeper than a great logo and visually pleasing marketing assets. I feel lucky that over the years, our broad range of clients and industry sectors has allowed me to work alongside and create some wonderful brands, from the emerging smaller companies to the larger multi-national accounts.”

What are your values as a business leader?

“My values are clear – you can trust me.

“I care about delivering a project and ensuring every client is happy. I take pride in referring clients within my network and connecting like-minded individuals so they can achieve great things together. We are proud to get ‘under the skin’ of so many businesses and their teams, so we often foresee how clients can support and collaborate with each other. This is how the networking arm of our business was formed.”

How do you stay motivated?

“This is an easy question for me – I’m motivated because I love what I do, even after 16 years. Every day is different and brings a new challenge – it’s fulfilling!

“I love to learn, which is beneficial, as the digital marketing and tech world is forever changing. The delivery of new projects to new people is engaging. It brings a sense of achievement and pride, not just to me, but to the talented team around me.

“I’m always unearthing new ideas from exploring the great outdoors. I love photography and music, and whilst it’s an idyllic switch off for me, it allows me to clear my mind so I can fill it with fresh thoughts new ideas for not only my own business, but for my clients too.”

How has the last year affected the marketing industry?  

“There has been a massive shift to digital marketing and improved customer experiences (CX). As a business, we needed to be more flexible in our processes and not so rigid. I don’t believe the way we used to work will ever return. In reflection, I feel we are better for it.”

What has been your biggest challenge for the last year and how did you overcome it?  

“For me it was the speed we needed to react to lockdown – upscaling technology, managing a team remotely and feeling responsible for their care and wellbeing. I wanted to be on-hand and offer support both professionally and personally, a difficult task whilst working remotely.

“As a whole, the pandemic created numerous issues, concerns and challenges, all of which needed to be managed at the same time. Having to be constantly adapting for a year has been a battle. It has really illustrated the fear of the unknown.

“Personally, I similarly found it a challenge to take care of my own family and loved ones too – especially from a distance, as this brings another layer of worry. “

Have you had to adapt your business model due to the coronavirus? Have you altered your goods, services or offering in any way?  

“We’ve been talking more, opening up more, listening. We’ve offered flexible working hours, payment plans, free support, digital audits, and the desire to give to others. We have really focused on supporting local people and businesses.

“We moved our networking events online to ensure we continued to reach out to clients and prospects. Whilst the audience is much smaller than our venue-based events, we reformed them at Leadership Discussions and have run them more frequently. We have also joined events hosted by the Chamber of Commerce.”

What has been your favourite project over the last year?

ARMCo. has been a highlight for me over the past 12 months. I’ve relished in aiding the growth of new companies within the group and developing the brand for the group itself. It has been a multi-faceted challenge and fast paced too – from building relationships with new teams of people, to realigning the strategy towards the core values and integrating additional service offerings.

“It has been rewarding to watch an idea come to life. I am proud of EDGE being at the heart of the project and driving it forward. It has been fantastic to spend time in the company of a visionary client with ambitious plans; and share ideas – and it continues still, with further companies coming into fruition in the coming months.

“As a project, ARMCo, and its group of companies has touched every part of the EDGE team – from research and naming the new companies, brand development and trademarking, strategy planning, content writing, website creation, social media, PR and photography.

“The client has allowed us to become an extension of their business, we are in-effect, their marketing department, and we are proud that our clients trust us to integrate ourselves within the group from the top down.

“When not working on client projects, I have loved having additional time (mainly from not commuting) in the working day to grow my network further and gaining new clients from our virtual leadership discussions.

“As mentioned previously, we moved our physical events to online events straight away. Over time this has brought many benefits such as getting to know clients immediately on a personal level, as our conversations are honest and open. Clients and prospects have been forthcoming in sharing their feelings about personal and business challenges and good news. This deeper insight into people has been a poignant turning-point as it has allowed us to build trust from the very beginning.”

How do you see your industry changing? 

“Many companies have had no choice but to change the way they work, from diversifying into new markets, reviewing budgets for best spend and moving rapidly into an expanding digital world.

“I think that businesses will engage in more collaborations and seek partnerships. We have learned to reach out and be more human in our approach to commerce. As a result of WFH, people are seeing the benefits of improved digital and personal experiences. People are more comfortable with technology and have overcome their fears of the online face-to-face platforms. The boundaries are forever blurred between home lives and corporate lives. As a nation and globally, we are more sympathetic to family life challenges and interruptions that children, pets and technology can bring.”

What are your plans for the future?

 “I wish to reach further into CX and brand purpose through a thorough and consistent evaluation of the customer journey, both for our clients and within EDGE Creative. With the forthcoming bounce back about to hit us and the world on the brink of change, there is no better time to put this into practice, with empathy at the forefront.”

image collage of Louise Panayides

EDGE Creative

If you want to find out more about EDGE Creative and how we have developed over the last year, email Louise at louise@edge-creative.com.
     

EDGE team member

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