I’ve been reflecting on the word “essential” since listening to the “Protests and the Pandemic” episode of Michelle Obama’s podcast.
Prior to COVID-19, the Internet was loaded with “essentials” lists that covered home, car, personal, and professional aspects of life -- a collection of “wants” and “stuff” that was often hardly essential.
The word essential has a different meaning now. It is frequently associated with health care workers, groceries, and a decent WiFi connection. But I find myself using it more and more, even subconsciously as I make decisions. And what is so interesting is that most of the things on my list of essentials are not things.
From an agency perspective, what remains essential and what can be trimmed? If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we can work, communicate, be creative, and succeed with what would be considered shoestring elements, pre-COVID-19.
So, what is essential now?
Office Space: Does each office really need tens of thousands of square footage to operate? We already know the answer. For agencies of the future, what will be the ideal amount of space?
Production: How many people do we really need at a shoot? We can successfully work at 50% or even 25% capacity. IPhones get better and better with each upgrade. If necessary, one person can shoot a campaign and livestream it. “American Idol” ran an entire episode shot on iPhones in 40 different locations.
Meetings: Will we ever take a long flight for a short meeting again? How will future in-office meetings look?
Business Attire: Remote working revealed our homes, and spontaneous outbursts from our kids and pets, to colleagues and clients alike. Is the business apparel façade necessary anymore?
Media Plans: What elements of a plan are absolutely essential to drive business?
Creativity: Is the idea simple enough? Remember, we aren’t developing a Christopher Nolan film. Keep it simple.
Staffing: Does your agency view diversity and inclusion as an initiative, or a responsibility? Is experience, or an understanding of culture, more essential? Should we add a permanent, full-time position, or hire someone per project?
Clients: Having a large number of clients doesn’t mean you are fulfilled or more successful than smaller agencies. Many agencies with a handful of clients are not only satisfied, but are able to meet client needs without the fear of letting them down. What is your ideal number of clients?
This new normal time in our lives has been dubbed by many the Great Reset.
Some believe it’s a way to reset the environment, while others believe it’s a return to a normalcy that involves visiting brick-and-mortar stores, eating inside restaurants, or returning to an office outside your home. Many see this great reset as a personal one, coming from within.
I really connected with that, as I feel it is a time to reset our lives, our business goals, our priorities, our trust in certainties, our expectations, and our list of essentials.
What aspects of your life are you resetting?