In the not-too-distant past, spreading your wings as an agency meant opening a new office and planting new geographic roots. It also meant partnering your way to additional office-listed letterhead, or a host of other bricks and mortar influenced “location, location, location” growth strategies. Candidly, it was more about the place than the people.
Then, life as we knew it changed. Pandemic…social disruption…social distancing…economic rollercoaster…and the list goes on. Ironically, it is quite possibly the virtual, Zoom-based “office” work life of COVID-19 that, at least in part, brought humanity back into focus. Everyone was suddenly dealing with each other from a common place…their homes. Life became very real and very human, through the lens of a monitor.
For Goodfuse, humanity-infused communications has always been our North Star. And, it was critical to our overcoming the challenges of a remote work existence. It will also drive our expansion strategy as we look to the future. How?
COVID Learnings… People Make the Difference
For more than a year, most of us have become accustomed to virtual work and social connections…no handshakes, hugs, or fist bumps, outside our limited family and socially distanced friend bubbles. It took time to adapt, but soon it became the norm. Something else occurred as well. We were in each other’s homes. We were seeing and commenting on each other’s screen backgrounds – artwork, books, family photos – not to mention kids, spouses, and pets whenever they would make unannounced visits midway through a meeting. And lest we not forget the joys of mute button mismanagement. We began to know more about each other by not being in the office down the hall or in a conference room only seats apart, but by connecting on a more personal level through common ground and relatable circumstances of work and life melding.
Work-Life balance, or lack thereof, was no longer the predominant topic of conversation, especially around the “virtual” water cooler. People were connecting in a different way, and it mattered, whether they were clients or co-workers, CEOs or interns.
Expansion in an Evolving Hybrid Work Environment
So, as agencies are cautiously looking at ways to expand their business during this anticipated hybrid transformation, what lessons can we learn since March 2020 that will help guide us toward steady growth?
- Relationships do not require geographic proximity to be meaningful.
- Office location is not a driver of successful business collaboration.
- Humans are adept at listening and learning, teaching and challenging, planning and problem-solving, without being in the same room.
- Like-minded communities thrive on humanity, engagement, passion, and purpose, none of which is predicated on physical location.
- Human interaction doesn’t rely on sharing the same space.
Affinity Groups… Gateway to Growth
As organizations try to balance client demands with continued economic uncertainty amid a new breed of workforce, one that has tasted the fruits of remote and/or hybrid work life and didn’t dislike the experience, the concept of business expansion has taken on an entirely new meaning. For us, it is not a question of where our real estate lies, or where our people happen to live. We are focused on leveraging our relationships, our expertise, our professional passions, and our commitment to building an affinity presence with like-minded communities.
So, what does that mean?
For starters, we will build on our existing relationships and expertise in the life science, health and wellness communities. Boston will serve as our affinity hub for these communities, and we will be engaging with local as well as regional and national academic institutions and thought leaders, industry influencers, civic organizations, and media. That said, members of the life sciences affinity group will be located across the US, but tethered to our affinity hub lead, Holly Hitchen. Our goal is to break down barriers and bring together community thinkers and doers that share our drive and commitment to advancing thought leadership and improving the public good, regardless of location.
This is how we will continue to grow our business and expand our horizons. We will listen, we will learn, we will absorb, and we will collaborate, all by becoming deeply embedded on a human-to-human level within communities that share a common interest, expertise, and intellectual curiosity.
Care to join our humanity-driven culture? Learn more: https://goodfuse.com/join-us/
Michael Myers is Executive Vice President at Goodfuse Communications