BY Anamaria Suescun-Fast, CEO and Managing Partner
Personally, I am not one to make new year’s resolutions. Truth be told, if someone were to ask me what my new year’s resolutions are I might say to binge more Netflix shows, read more non-fiction books, spend more time with my fur-babies, help rescue more stray dogs…oh, and of course, spend more quality time with my husband. In my role as CEO of talkStrategy, it’s no longer about me. It’s about my team and our clients. So this year, I have been thinking quite a bit about new year’s resolutions for the agency.
During the holidays, I spent a lot of time thinking about 2022, immersing myself in articles about business, people, and where the two intersect. There was so much about “the great resignation,” work burnout, the continued pandemic challenges of returning or not returning to the office, redesigning the work environment to retain employees. The more I sought inspiration, the more anxious and not-so-inspired I got.
Despite the continued pandemic and rise in Omicron, we can’t stop innovating, ideating, and preparing to be a place people want to work and a place doing great strategic work. As CEO, it’s incumbent on me to rise above the uncertainty and create an environment for my team to be the best they could be for themselves, for the agency, and for our clients. To do just that, here are my talkStrategy resolutions for 2022:
#1 Continue ensuring our best and brightest shine
In 2022 talkStrategy will continue mentoring and encouraging the next generation of marketers and communications professionals. It makes my heart happy to see the “youngsters” who started with us either as interns or right out of college, flourish. It’s so gratifying to see them lead client strategy sessions, and brainstorming meetings, and watch them grow professionally. We will ensure all our team members continue to hone their craft, which ultimately benefits our clients with the most strategic ideas to meet their goals.
#2 Defy #agencylife burnout
Agency life is exhilarating – yet grueling. It’s a roller coaster 24/7/365. We work on our clients’ schedules, ensuring we are highly responsive and always five steps ahead. Burnout is eminent in this industry if we don’t work proactively to mitigate it. This year we will implement new PTO policies that will mandate time-off each quarter for the entire team, and move to an unlimited PTO policy. We will also continue to review our internal communication channels, to better utilize them while facilitating the ability to either schedule focus time for client deadlines or to step away from the computer throughout the day.
#3 Continue to reimagine the traditional “full-service” agency model
We have successfully evolved into a full-service integrated marketing and communications agency, which is a must to meet today—and tomorrow’s—client needs. How we define “full-service” is what we will continue to reimagine—whether we are drawing on foundational skills that are in our DNA like public relations, crisis communications, public affairs, and creative thinking, we are honing ever-evolving knowledge in social and digital, or we are embracing once-experimental spaces like AI or AR. Modern #agencylife is no longer about being generalists or specialists, it’s understanding the symbiotic nature of a dynamic, integrated marketing ecosystem. Internally, we are also looking for ways to challenge the status quo. So whether we are streamlining how we work, or constantly challenging the kind of work we do, in 2022, we will continue to question traditional agency models that no longer serve us or our clients. It’s a new day for marketing agencies and we must adapt for the sake of our clients and the integrated work.
#4 Push curiosity and “what-ifs” for clients
The world has changed dramatically in the last two years, which directly impacts how we think about our work and innovative solutions for our clients. In 2022 we will continue to stay curious, flexible, and courageous when it comes to new thinking. We will continue to ask the tough questions, look at challenges from all angles, and ideate fresh solutions.
#5 Have fun, seriously.
Life’s too short not to. We take our work seriously. We also want to ensure that we infuse laughter and joy in everything we do. In the final quarter of 2021, in addition to our traditional agency closure between Christmas and New Year’s, we gave every employee the week of Thanksgiving off. Whether we are doubled over in laughter, or simply taking the time to cherish family and friends, in 2022 we will be serious in our endeavor for levity.
As I have written before, as leaders of an organization, it is incumbent on us to ignite the spark in team members to drive an organization forward, especially now. It is up to us to ensure a work environment – whether remote or in-office – where team members are not only inspired, challenged, respected and supported but also a workplace that prioritizes downtime, personal time and positive mental health. The team is better for it. The agency is better for it. And, the clients ultimately get the best of us as their integrated marketing partner. It’s a win-win-win.
(As of this blog writing, the news about Omicron spreading throughout San Antonio and Bexar County continues. Please stay safe and diligent as you maneuver each day, and be respectful of the people around you.)