Office Hours: How to build trust with clients in a pandemic
Welcome to Ad Age’s Office Hours newsletter. If you're reading this online or in a forwarded email, here's the link to sign up for the newsletter.
The way we work is rapidly evolving. In a matter of months, the pandemic has forever changed how we communicate, where we conduct business, the technology we use and how we juggle home and work life. There’s also been a much-needed spotlight thrown on the makeup of the workforce and the efforts being done to make the ad world a more-inclusive place. Every Thursday, Ad Age tackles a different issue regarding the way these changes are impacting our professional lives.
Building trust remotely
“You can’t really do a remote trust fall,” and if you do, says Scott Hagedorn, CEO of Omnicom Media Group, “it is going to be a gym fail.” Hagedorn discussed the process of onboarding new clients with Lindsay Rittenhouse during Ad Age Remotely this week.
Hagedorn said it has been hard to build relationships from a two-dimensional basis and earning trust when clients have never met the team. Because of this, many of the pitches have ended up with the agency of record retaining the business because the client fears transitioning to a new team in this environment. (Only yesterday, Ad Age reported AB InBev had called off a global media review, deciding instead to retain all of its incumbent agencies.)
Currently, Hagedorn and his team are trying to figure out what parts of their jobs they can continue to do remotely and which require being in the office.
“I’m a huge believer that teams are going to have to get together functionally in a room and work,” he said, adding that the reason clients pay for agencies is because they are buying the team.
Most of Omnicom’s offices are open with a limited number of employees allowed into the buildings. The agency is not mandating anyone has to return to the office at this time and is working to ensure that for those people that are going in it is a productive use of their time and they and their clients get the most out of it.
Watch the full episode here.
Out of state
While marketing and agency employees might start slowly returning to the office, for many companies working remotely will likely be the norm for the foreseeable future. As a result, agencies are fielding requests from employees to move to different states, Digiday reports. The request might seem simple enough for those companies where remote working has thus far proven successful, but there are complications as it relates to taxes, healthcare and other benefits.
JPMorgan is the latest company to provide details on its plans for returning to the office. The corporate and investment bank will cycle between days spent at the office and at home, according to CNBC. Some employees might work one week a month from home, two days a week from home or two weeks a month from home.
Brands need to start thinking about the people who are creating their own social bubbles as they look to emerge from lockdowns while still trying to limit exposure. The phenomenon of podding will require brands to think about “family plans,” Jason Schlossberg, managing director, strategic communications, Huge, wrote in The Drum. Schlossberg provides some predictions on what these re-imagined products and services might look like, including family and pod banking accounts, retailers making it easier to shop for multiple families simultaneously, and technology platforms with multi-generational and multi-location interfaces. We might all be living in communes soon.
American Airlines and Salesforce are the latest companies with plans to eliminate jobs. American Airlines will cut 19,000 employees as demand for airline travel has fallen precipitously amid the pandemic, Bloomberg reports. Of those, 17,500 will be furloughed and eligible to be brought back in when conditions improve.
That does it for this week's Office Hours. Thanks for reading and we hope you are all staying safe and well. For more industry news and insight, follow us on Twitter: @adage.
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