We can’t ignore the obvious—on many levels 2020 was an absolute train wreck. From the ongoing battle against coronavirus and the many lives it unfairly took to historical unemployment numbers and the passing of beloved design icons Milton Glaser and Ed Benguiat, we’ve had too many reasons to mourn.
Yet, we can’t help but see light through the darkness. We know we were fortunate at Feisty Brown. And as we look back on 2020, we feel it’s important to reflect on the positive. In many ways, this year has us excited for what lies ahead.
Feisty Brown has always respected client/studio decorum; we’re proud of our commitment to building strong client relationships. But something changed this year, something unimaginable. We became an “us.”
A year ago, if you had asked us to imagine a world where meetings were relaxed, makeup-free, tie-less, sweatpants-wearing Zoom calls, we would have laughed and said, “We wish.” Yet, here we are. What was once taboo is now the norm. Today we think nothing of sharing news of our children, commiserating over work-life struggles, or cutting meetings short for personal reasons. We’ve shown vulnerability and have admitted to being human.
This shift is powerful. It is a testament to what we can weather—and accomplish—when we come together. There’s no denying that we have been through something “really big” together, and in many ways this has felt like one big, crazy team-building experience. We have survived the trust fall.
More than likely, things will lean more formal in 2021. As our nation becomes healthier, we'll seek greater normalcy; we’ll trade our home offices for conference rooms and our sweats for suits. But that doesn’t mean we’ll have to let go of the camaraderie or kindnesses—some changes are worth holding on to.
While Feisty Brown has always been comfortable running a home-based business, we have occasionally wondered if our team’s lack of a formal office makes us less desirable as partners. Does a separate bricks-and-mortar business address matter?
We’d like to thank 2020 for answering that question with a resounding “no.” If anything, we’ve become the norm, and in our opinion, that has been a huge positive for everyone. First advantage—better creative. Let’s be honest, agency life can be neat and all, but offices are filled with numerous distractions. And while home offices have revealed their own diversions, they’ve also provided a haven from the rut that wears creatives thin. Farewell, commute!
Another positive? It’s leveled the playing field between creative agencies of all sizes; bigger shops don’t have the same cachet when it’s home office against home office. We say, let the best creative strategy win.
This brings us to our final reflection—this year, we collectively learned that it’s okay to be flexible. Flexibility is a show of trust. We can all work from home and be productive. Zoom doesn’t replace face-to-face, but it is effective. Kids aren’t the ideal co-workers, but they can coexist with office life. We’ve proven to ourselves that we can work within our own personal parameters and get stuff done. We have embraced the accountability.
Through increased flexibility, we have relieved the pressures of doing things the same old way. You need only look around you to see how this has fostered creativity and strengthened communications. From technology platforms to employee programs, we have embraced flexibility and built a better world.
Without question, 2020 had many lows, but we would be remiss to ignore its highs. This year has reminded Feisty Brown that we can be better—that we should be better—because complacency is good for no one. And while there is no substitute for a genuine human connection, we’ve all done a darn good job of being there for each other.
There’s a lot of pressure on 2021 to be a better year. We’ll be happy if it brings good health and a few more silver linings.
Julie & Theo