As we move from fall to winter and outdoor opportunities dwindle, it is not surprising that mental health and Covid fatigue are becoming bigger and bigger issues. Filament’s independent agency executive forum is tackling the issue head on and spent the entirety of the last two forum meetings discussing ways to help employees stay positive and navigate what will likely be a very difficult winter.
While the news of vaccines is certainly very positive, it would be surprising if the distribution would be wide enough to make a significant impact on our agency staff this winter. As a result, finding ways to boost morale and give people tools to handle mental health issues are crucial.
The last two forum sessions have given us all a number of new techniques to address the growing issues. Nobody on the forum feels like they have the answer when it comes to improving mental health and morale but everyone came out of the meeting with a few new tools and techniques that can help.
It is important for us to all work together as we navigate unprecedented times.
So many challenges faced agency executives in the first few months of Covid-19
When will we reopen?
How will we reopen?
How will we get work done with no one in the office?
Fast forward 6 months and those issues seem like they don’t matter anymore and have been replaced with larger, industry-changing issues?
How do we maintain staff mental health, particularly in big cities, when everyone is cooped up in their small apartments?
How do we develop skills in more junior staff when they are no longer learning by being around other, more senior staff members?
How do we develop and maintain an agency culture when we are all remote?
How do we handle people that move out of state and assume they can work remotely forever?
And most of those issues have nothing to do with winning business, creating great work and turning a profit. While our industry has changed significantly over the last two decades, it seems as though Covid is forcing us to wrestle with tremendous, urgent, far-reaching issues while at the same time creating great work that keeps our clients’ businesses moving forward.
While none of the answers are simple, Filament has created a collection of independent agency executives to address the issues that are keeping our agency clients up at night. It is amazing to see how a group of bright minds can handle multiple difficult issues at the same time, creating both short-term and long-term fixes to the significant challenges we are all facing.
The first six months of Covid have been a rollercoaster but I think we are in a better place to face the challenges that the next six months will bring us.
At the first independent agency forum meeting, much of the discussion centered on reopening the office. How do we keep people safe? What percentage of staff should be in the office? What would cause us to shut the office again? Just two weeks later, at the second meeting, and reopening the office seems like a pipe dream. Now the priority is how do we make work from home as effective as possible? How do we keep employees engaged? How do we keep clients engaged? How do creative teams (and all teams) better collaborate from a distance?
It is amazing how things are changing so quickly. Reopening the office seems like an almost silly proposition. Working from home appears as if it will be with us for a long time. Now the focus is how do we make WFH as good as we can make it.
The issues change drastically from over the course of just a few weeks. It certainly is a trying time.
As we all work our way through Covid-19 issues, it occurred
to me that our independent agency clients might benefit from Filament organizing
a group of agency executive to discuss all of the issues that we are wrestling
with as a result of the pandemic. A few phone calls later, and we have 8 clients
scheduled to meet every other week to discuss issues like re-opening plans, pitching
new business remotely, maintaining culture and morale and a variety of other
The forum is a collection of regionally diverse agencies ranging from 50 staff members to over 400. The agencies are also diverse in their offerings including full-service agencies, public relations, public affairs, pharma agencies, digital and media shops. The diversity of the group should give us a varied perspective on how to deal with different issues during unprecedented times.
Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year. Filament has wrapped up 2019 with a very strong fourth quarter which put a bow on a very strong year, significantly ahead of 2018. Webinar participation continues to grow with participants joining us from Europe, Asia and South America. Thanks for joining use everyone!
Our webinar leaders have also expanded to include experts from both the client and search consultant side of the business which has given our participants a unique perspective of the industry.
We look forward to a great 2020. Happy New Year everyone!
In October 1998, I took the leap and left my corporate job. At the time, it seemed like a big risk and a scary proposition. While starting a business is not for everyone, I can honestly say that outside of marrying my wife, starting Filament was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Through the years we have worked with so many incredible, inspiring individuals and learned from them at every step. Many are still clients and friends. Some have gone on to other careers, some have retired and unfortunately, some have passed. There are too many to call out everyone but Mike Hughes, former creative leader and President at the Martin Agency, left a tremendous impression. His love of making the work better while insuring that the focus is always on the creative work and not the creative person was incredible. Sadly, Mike passed away from lung cancer 2013. He was an industry icon that will be missed.
Others have gone on to start their own agencies or rise to the very top of the industry as executives at holding companies. It is always rewarding when you see the genius in a person, then watch others see the same genius and watch the promotions that quickly follow.
It has been a wonderful 21 years and we all look forward to many more years.
Thank you all for showing your support over the many years.
After three years of offering agency specific webinars to our agency clients, Filament is now in the process of creating a library of on demand webinars for our clients. We currently have over 50 webinars on various topics in a sortable database of content. We still have some quality control to go through with the developers but Webinars on Demand in on the horizon. We will keep you posted when it goes live. In the meantime, here is sneak peek…
It is always great to have an opportunity to connect with some longtime friends and celebrate the the great work in our industry. While pharma advertising only represents about half of Filament’s client base, it was still wonderful to catch up friends. Congratulations to all of the winners!
2019 has proven to be a very exciting and busy year. Training, pitch consulting and webinars are doing very well and a number of new clients have joined the Filament family of clients. Beyond client/revenue growth, website traffic is through the roof with over 1,000,000 hits to our site already this year. Admittedly, a great deal of this is search engine traffic but a great deal of it is client and prospect traffic. Very exciting!
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