It would be an understatement to say that it has been quite the year for all of us. No one could have predicted that our working lives would look like they currently do. As we move closer to the New Year, we wanted to look back and reflect on a year that, in many ways, despite the lockdowns, seems to have flown by.
January began, as usual, with preparations for the Toy Fair in London. With banners prepped, bags packed, and meetings scheduled, Mary and Michelle were ready to take on the much heralded British Toy and Hobby Association’s Toy Fair for the third time. Always a highlight in the SnapDragon calendar, the fair is an opportunity for us to catch up with familiar faces, meet new brands and continue spreading the word about the importance of online brand protection. January also saw the launch of our second e-book, Beyond Corporate Social Responsibility, an in-depth and eye-opening look at the consequences of counterfeiting. The highlight of the month, however, was undoubtedly our Head Dragon, Rachel, being crowned Entrepreneur of the Year by the China-British Business Council which was very humbling.
After a jam-packed January, February was a little quieter, in-line with the global economy. We celebrated Valentine’s day with the cutest Head of Wellbeing there is (we know we’re biased!) and bashed on with exciting plans for a big year ahead. The focus was on the cycling sector as the team carried out some very interesting and insightful research on how the industry has been affected by counterfeits, you can read about it here.
March started like any other with my attempt at corralling the team into a photo to mark International Women’s Day. However, with rumours of a lockdown on the horizon the leadership team decided a trial day working from home was in order, little did we know we wouldn’t be back! No longer in the office, our Monday morning meetings were now hosted on Microsoft Teams and featured an exciting opportunity to nosey at the homes of colleagues. We started a series of weekly competitions, the first of which saw us battle to find our top lockdown tracks. Judged by AO, the winner was a strong entry from Alicia in the form of the classic, ‘Don’t Stand So Close to Me’. If you want to hear the full playlist you can do so here. Our WFH adventures were also documented in cartoons, which ranged from just down right embarrassing to totally hilarious!
April was the month of the webinar and you bet we jumped on that bandwagon. Despite minor technical difficulties, we hosted not one, but three webinars in April. Some may say we are now experts. New skills in hand, we were delighted to find out that we were selected as one of the 22 new scale-ups to take part in the Tech Nation Cyber 2.20 Growth Programme. However, the stand-out moment of the month was when we found out we had been awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise within the Innovation category. As one of Britain’s most prestigious accolades, this truly was a delightful high after an unsettling few months. We celebrated this award virtually with cocktails and balloons by post!
After the high of April, May had a tough act to follow but the gorgeous Scottish weather definitely helped! Working from home had become oddly normal and the webinars were in full flow. Our May morning meetings also had two extra additions in the form of Kieron’s new kittens, Dante and Virgil.
June saw us discover we were finalists in the Digital Leaders awards within the SME of the Year category, albeit with some very tough competition! We also started to see an increase of counterfeit PPE on the market which landed us a contract with the Scottish Government helping out with the identification of fake PPE certificates (and suppliers).
In July we graduated from the CMS EquIP Programme and attended a session on human trafficking with SBRC seconded Police officers Angela Brand and David MacCrimmon. This was a very informative and insightful presentation about which Lewis recently wrote a blog.
With everyone feeling creative over lockdown, in August we began to see an influx of inquiries from brands about to launch products on crowdfunding sites. As such, AO wrote a blog looking at the precautions brands need to take before and during crowdfunding. We also began to work on a top-secret consumer focused project!
By September the entire team was once again back at work and we welcomed two new members, including SnapDragon’s very first apprentice! This was the month that we launched BogusBuster (that big project we had been working on!), a one-stop shop to help consumers to shop safely online. During lockdown, as more people were forced online, we felt there was a need for a site which helped those inexperienced online to be able to spot and avoid scams – enter BogusBuster! This project was funded by Innovate UK and will become part of SnapDragon’s CSR activities moving forward.
In October we launched our new imagery. Our website and social media profiles needed a wee overhaul, and we think this has done the trick. The results of the Digital Leaders awards were announced in October, and we were delighted to discover that we had won Digital SME of the Year 2020! Additionally, a project we worked on was announced as a finalist in the GO Awards which showcase excellence in Public Procurement. SnapDragon also welcomed three new members of the team!
November saw the launch of our podcast, Listenings From the Lair. This first episode featured Lewis and Rachel talking about the beginnings of SnapDragon. Fittingly, we also celebrated SnapDragon’s birthday in November with fridge cake and virtual party games. Rachel made an appearance on BBC’s You and Yours as well as BBC Radio Scotland.
We had a great start to December as Rachel was featured on Channel 4’s ‘The Truth About Amazon’. Who knew seeing our faces on the TV would be so exciting! Since then, we have been working hard to get final reports out for our clients. The team is all eagerly looking forward to Christmas and are raring to take on what 2021 brings!
We send our warmest wishes for the festivities and good things in 2021.