Our Year in Review

New Years Day 2020

It’s going to become increasingly difficult to avoid clichés when we try to summarise 2020 in the future.

This has, after all, been a year when the unprecedented became full of precedents. A year during which we were all thrust out of our comfort zone with no notice; one minute Boris was advising us to avoid cruises, the next we were heading into imminent lockdown with no clear idea of when – and how – it would end. 

Perhaps, then, it’s best to  embrace the clichés and accept that 2020 has been a strange, strange year. There’s no doubt we’ll be happy to see the back of 2020, but looking at things from a business perspective, it’s important to note the positives that this year has brought as we head into what will hopefully be a much brighter year in 2021.

Launching a new translations brand in the height of a global pandemic

2020 has seen the events industry forced to adapt in a manner unthinkable this time last year. The run on hand sanitiser in the Leeds train station Boots ahead of ICE in London in February still somehow didn’t seem to adequately hint at the situation we were about to find ourselves in the following month.   

However, the industry is nothing but adaptable, and so we found our plans to launch ICS-translate, our standalone brand for translations, in person at CasinoBeats Malta, switch to the virtual stage of CasinoBeats Malta Digital.

Looking back, the disappointment of not being able to launch the brand to the sort of fanfare you associate with in-person events was hugely outweighed by the pride in launching a new brand in the midst of the pandemic.

As we explained in our interview with CasinoBeats at the time (https://www.casinobeats.com/2020/07/10/ics-translate-trust-is-such-a-huge-factor-for-players/), now more than ever brands are scrambling to make their digital offering as appealing as possible, and that’s unlikely to change in 2021 as the world adapts to the “new normal”.

Our expertise in the  translation sector, for iGaming and beyond, speaks perfectly to the needs of this new landscape, and certainly in terms of revenue and team growth, the trajectory this year of ICS-translate is something to seriously shout about. 

Becoming award winners in content for the first time

ICS-translate wasn’t alone in terms of reasons to be cheerful in 2020. Amid all the chaos of the year, it was a pretty incredible feeling to win our first major industry award within a content category.

The ICS-digital team’s incredible work with our client IG was rewarded with the Global Finance Content  Campaign of the Year award at the Global Content Awards.

We fought off some stiff competition in the process, and it was the perfect way to recognise the commitment of the team across the board here, and also the expertise of the in-house team at IG.

Traditionally, we haven’t been ones to shout about ourselves (although we’ve done much better on that front since our Marketing Director, Martin, joined us last year), and although it still doesn’t always sit comfortably shouting our achievements from the virtual rooftops, it’s a fair point that the hard work of our exceptional team and the trust our clients place in us deserves public recognition. Here’s to more of that in 2021!

Looking ahead to a brighter future  

Next year holds plenty of uncertainties, but we can take an element of comfort from the way we’ve weathered the storm this year.

For us, there are distinct ambitions for 2021. We want to return to our office in some capacity as quickly as it is safe to do so. A number of agencies have opted never to return to in-person working, opting instead to operate in a fully remote manner for the indefinite future.

When it comes to our vision for the immediate future, we believe that too much can be gained from office working that it doesn’t make sense to sacrifice it.

The spontaneity, the creativity, the efficiencies of interaction, and the feeling of belonging to a team can be replicated to an extent by clever remote managing and intuitive tools, but there really is nothing like the real thing. We’ll be offering our staff a hybrid model of remote and office working next year, in the hope it brings the best of both worlds moving forward. 

2020 saw us successfully build out our Digital PR department. We can now objectively say that we specialise in a service that, this time last year, we didn’t actively sell.

We’ve had coverage on hundreds of international publications, including CNN, Daily Mail, the Guardian, BBC, Lonely Planet, Fox News and many more.

We’ve been excited to help clients hit new milestones in traffic, rankings and revenue – with one client reaching a milestone of 1.2 million monthly visitors in 2020. When it comes to service offering, we don’t plan to stand still next year.

We’ve spent time this autumn  and winter exploring the viability of slotting native advertising and paid search capabilities into our offering, and we’re confident we can build out those services in a similarly successful way in 2021 as we did with PR in 2020.