Life In Lockdown: How The Trade Desk’s Melbourne Office Has Become One Of The Most Successful In The Business

Life In Lockdown: How The Trade Desk’s Melbourne Office Has Become One Of The Most Successful In The Business
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For Melbourne, the past 18 months have been largely dictated by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns. Despite this, The Trade Desk has managed to establish one of its most successful offices. Here, The Trade Desk lead director, client strategy, Kali Guillas [pictured], explains how the Melbourne office has managed to thrive.

We are in a once in a generation upheaval to our way of life and the way we do business. The effects are felt in every part of our daily life. We have had to reimagine the way we work – swiftly – while ensuring we still meet the needs of our clients and keep pace with our industry’s rapid growth.

Back in late 2019, I got the call to relocate to Australia. Our clients were asking for an expansion of our team on the ground and vibrant, creative Melbourne was the location of choice. Bags were packed, I was leaving on that jet plane to move back home and start to build a team.

Then COVID-19 hit. Flights were grounded, borders were closed, and the world as we knew it had changed.

The AdTech industry by its very nature has always been predominantly technology-focused. In fact, we know that our clients are now, more than ever before, under pressure to do more with less, so have turned to data-driven marketing to meet the rising pace of our industry. This increased need meant that despite the restrictions of the pandemic, we still needed to build a team and it had to happen immediately.

There have been three crucial lessons for me over the past 18 months.

Blending Technology and Culture

One of the most crucial elements in building a team is the blending of technology and culture. Technology has been our enabler and creating a strong culture our driver – collectively they have become key business partners in our success in a Covid world.

In those early days of hotel quarantine, I knew we could build a standout team and make a real imprint on the market, despite the restrictions. The greatest opportunity within the sector is that we can serve our clients from home just as easily as we can from an office. There’s no reason we can’t serve our staff in the same way, even when they are new.

Overlaying this approach to building culture allows us the flexibility to understand that by focusing on what we can do well, we can deliver well and support each other from anywhere.

With that in mind, we’ve onboarded five new staff and integrated ourselves into the broader team. Like many Australians, we have been forced to undertake life and its daily tasks differently. For the team and I, this has drawn us closer. It has given us a shared experience and we have developed a level of resilience and tenacity that I don’t believe we could have had life not changed so significantly.

Take a human-centered Approach

Flipping the perspective, there is gratitude for the changes we have had to undertake. There has been, by virtue of our Zoom calls, a window into someone’s life, an opportunity to gain more insight into colleagues and client teams than any office-based discussion could ever allow. We’ve met tiny humans, fur babies and local posties.

This has been the true key to our success. Nothing requires a human-centred approach more than work life during a pandemic.

Celebrate Success

18 months down the track, hiring and onboarding new staff remotely seems to be the rule rather than the exception. So, while it might not have been our choice to do it all virtually and yes, we all forgot to unmute at least once in the process, what has not been muted is our resilience.

Our Melbourne office has become one of the most successful in our business, outpacing the growth of other key markets in just nine months, and we’ve achieved accreditation from Great Place to Work® Australia New Zealand.

The great news is, we are continuing to grow. This means more jobs and opportunity for our sector, and we’ve now established a blueprint for continuing growth across our whole ANZ organisation.

Bringing It All Together

There are green shoots of hope, with rising vaccination rates, record breaking industry growth and a roadmap to recovery. So, as we look forward to 2022, with cautious optimism, the lessons we have learned should set us up well. With the world increasingly embracing data-driven marketing, our blending of technology and culture sets us up to deliver now and for whatever future challenge life throws at us.

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Melbourne the trade desk

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