Applied Storytelling: Streamlining Client Project Management with Podio

You probably communicate with your team and clients in four or five different ways, every day. For Matthew Kruchko, principal and managing director at brand-management firm Applied Storytelling, this included “one app for internal project management, one app for external, client-facing project management, one app for chat and one app for online meetings,” not to mention all the emails and phone calls.

To give his team more time to focus on their creative work and to build closer client relationships, Matthew’s solution was simple: unite all the conversations and content in one place. “Our goal was to find a single collaboration platform we could run our business with, enabling people to have a single username and password.”

With clients across the U.S. and around the world, team members in three offices and a hectic travel schedule, Matthew spends more time out of the office than in it – but we managed to catch up with him at Applied Storytelling’s Oakland, California base to learn more about how he’s improved the way his company works:

After signing up for Podio, Applied Storytelling took bold but highly effective steps to increase efficiency in how they communicate: “Once we introduced Podio, we made some fundamental behavior changes in the organization here at Applied Storytelling; one being no more internal emails. Our communication, 100 percent, moved into Podio.

“When I say communications, we’re talking about comments to projects, comments to files, chat functionality between individuals, as well as group chat, video chat – having the ability to actually see and talk to each other in the various locations that we’re at,” explained Matthew.

He also outlined how this new way of working has been extended to interfacing with clients. “Our most used workspace is named Projects for Clients. The most popular apps in the workspace are Projects, Deliverables and Meetings. We have on average 15 projects being run at the same time, and we use the item share feature to give clients access to meetings and certain project deliverables.

“Giving clients the ability to communicate with us on this single platform provides complete visibility for the team. Before, feedback lived in email, where a team member might not have been cc’d or it was missed in the daily flood of email.”

“We develop our customers’ brand strategy, customer mapping and marketing execution on web, mobile, video, apps and more. Therefore, close relationships with our clients are essential. Podio chat is a great way to stay up to date on a day-to-day basis, and for scheduled meetings we use GoToMeeting, which integrates with our Meetings app on Podio.”

THF Mustang Sweep Project
Applied Storytelling’s project for client The Henry Ford – creating a strong, distinct brand across multiple platforms for one of America’s great historic destinations.

With so much time spent on the road, Matthew also explained how he relies on the Podio mobile apps to keep things moving: “Without Podio mobile, I couldn’t run our business nor could we manage our workflow. I tend to use Podio on my Android phone and iPad for more than half the time I’m on Podio – while I’m traveling and also while I’m in the office – to communicate, comments and review strategy or creative.

“It has provided a real-time channel that contextually is connected to the topic or project so there is zero confusion. Podio’s allowed us to actually tighten our communications, more so than ever.”

With Podio, Applied Storytelling has unwound the diverse, confused strands of communication into clear, direct channels. Everyone is included in essential messages, and no comments or meetings are missed – all without a flood of emails.

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