March 6, 2020 — Our team attended the 2020 American Advertising Awards in Buffalo. We spent time with friends, competition, and colleagues to celebrate our creative achievements from the previous 12 months.
March 16, 2020 — Freeways were empty, offices were dark, and our team, much like many others, began the work-from-home transitional marathon.
2020 brought unexpected circumstances to everyone on the planet. The idea of not having control over a situation was terrifying. All we could do was sit, educate ourselves as best as possible, wait and work. While the first few days brought nearly every emotion to the forefront, the post-shock outcome was simple: Adapt, advance, repeat. This simple mantra forever changed how we oversee and execute projects.
Gantt-charts and timelines filled up most of the space on our computers prior to 2020. Everything was delivered in accordance with those documents, with successes and failures primarily dependent on the days items were delivered. After March, however, nimbleness and agility became the most important weapon in our arsenal. With in-person meetings on the backburner, and pitches (especially for our clients) going digital, the three-month-long workback schedule was thrown out the window. The success of our efforts now relied on whiteboard brainstorming sessions and conceptual ideas that could be presented, approved and executed rapidly. While there will always be a place for extended timelines, embracing uncomfortability and the unknown allowed us to develop ideas and solutions that otherwise may not have been possible. One such way we empowered collaborations with our clients was via instant messaging. With conversations becoming more informal, we were more-quickly able to determine what was (and was not) worth pursuing or developing. The result was inclusion allowing for ample creative and strategic runway.
While the nature of marketing and advertising relies on balancing proactive and reactive approaches, the former became much more important as the pandemic progressed. Seedling ideas that were long-shots became ripe for the picking—meaning that advancing timelines was necessary. One such example is e-commerce website development. With stores and restaurants closed, new sources of revenue were pivotal in maintaining a “normal” course of business; look no farther than Shopify’s stock price. In March of last year it hovered around $500/share, compared to the $1,200/share floor it’s recently achieved. Agile processes that allowed teams to launch and then fine-tune was imperative to success. Our team followed such a process when it came to launching a selling platform for Sahlen Packing Company. Initially a Q4 2020 deliverable, our team expedited the process and launched a beta version in Q3 2020. The results? $40k of revenue via only three products, which is allowing us to fine-tune and launch a more-robust platform with greater opportunities.
The “easy” part of the process is doing it all over again. However, without a proper plan and boundaries in place, burn-out occurs. Ensuring that you provide team members with the permission and flexibility to break when they need to is imperative. Without doing so, the ability to adapt and advance will fall flat. Empowerment enables your success, especially in remote environments. Your business can only be as good as your team members make it. One such way our team has been able to successfully repeat our successes is by meeting only when it’s necessary. Each person has the autonomy to execute their tasks, and raise concerns when needed. This allows our “status meetings” to be beneficial and worthwhile, as opposed to mandated and tiring.
March 8, 2021 — Mirror Matter, still remote, works toward the simple goal of adapting and advancing on behalf of our clients, as well as the agency—with deliverables providing more value than one would’ve thought possible one year ago.