Today we have selected Matt Glynn to take his interview. He is the Chief Operating Officer at Anthologic.
How are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?
We are actually — all things considered — doing great, and we credit that to the remarkable amount of support we’ve shown each other over the past two years as we navigate new territory. We are a close-knit group here, and we know it’s taken a collective effort from our leadership team and our employees to not only get through this together but come out strong on the other side.
Overall, we are running at a great pace, and all signs point to that continuing for the foreseeable future. We have the luxury of having a diversified service offering within our Anthologic: our full-service marketing agency, Performance Marketing; technology firm, Shift Interactive; search specialists, Blue Traffic; videography, photography, animation, and motion design studio, Vector Haus; and brand amplifier, Flatout.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined this company?
I’ve worked at advertising and marketing agencies my entire career. Before joining Anthologic, I was an Account Director at another mid-size agency in Des Moines. The opportunity to join a smaller, growing agency in town with more of a full-service offering presented itself, so I made a move.
This allowed me to round out my experience in disciplines not offered in my previous position and gain experience and learn directly from the company’s founder. During the first few years, I was able to launch and be a founding partner in Shift, our technology company, before transitioning into my current role as Partner and COO of Anthologic.
How does your company innovate?
For many years, we were a company that expected our employees generally in the office every day between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. And virtually all Anthologic employees were Des Moines-based. Before the pandemic, we slowly began experimenting with some flex time, such as Work from Home Wednesday and Summer Fridays. It was well-received, but we weren’t planning on adding any additional flexibility at the time.
When the pandemic hit, we understood the ability to adapt and be flexible was going to be incredibly important to our team. While we just recently started going back to the office, I think it’s safe to say everyone is doing their very best to re-enter this hybrid environment we’ve created in whatever way works best for them and their respective schedules. We are very open to trying new things and keeping our people at the center of them.
Ultimately, the health and well-being of our employees are at the forefront of everything we do here at Anthologic. That’s why we recently implemented an aflex-work policy. Our folks can choose to be fully remote or hybrid. However, they choose.
We also offer a new flexible work schedule, so our collective’s core hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Outside of the core times, employees can get their required time in. However, they see fit. This new sense of flexibility allows employees to choose where and when, and how they work best, ensuring all our clients continue to receive the top-tier work they have come to expect from our collective.
With the ability to be fully remote, we have also started recruiting and hiring talent around the country. Currently, we have employees living in Wisconsin, Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, Minnesota, New Jersey, and of course, our home base in Iowa.
In addition to innovating our company policies, we have also diversified our service offering, adding even more disciplines. This includes everything from closely working with influencers to automation, strategy, 3D videos, and more. We have those capabilities in-house now due to teams embracing the different activities that will impact our clients and diving in and implementing it.
How has the Coronavirus pandemic affected your business, and how are you coping?
Like anyone, we have had our share of ups and downs during the pandemic. However, having a large service offering has allowed us to weather any storm that came our way. By having amazing relationships with clients that span multiple industries and markets, we could easily pull back with clients who took an initial hit from the pandemic and accelerate efforts for clients that embraced the changes the pandemic would bring about for the marketing, advertising, tech, and storytelling spaces.
Although in 2020 we did not meet our forecasted financial goals, it remained a solid year for us. We saw a surge in business coming at the latter part of that year, and 2021 has proven to be one of our best years since our company was founded in 1999.
Did you have to make difficult choices and the lessons learned?
The most difficult decision we had to make was with our office space and the future of the office in an uncertain time. While we were closing the office and having our employees work 100 percent from home, we negotiated a lease on a new, larger space and moved from our home base of almost 15 years. We ran out of capacity to house our staff full time in our current location and needed at least 50 percent more space to account for our growth plan.
Thankfully, we were able to pause that negotiation and reassess. During this time, we nearly doubled our work staff, moved to a full-time hybrid work posture, and were able to lease less space than we previously occupied in our former office.
Staff communication and input were vital as we planned. They quickly embraced a remote work style and, based on survey results, wanted to have the option to continue.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
We began lightly using Slack and Zoom to communicate in some company areas pre-pandemic. The first week of being fully remote, we took the entire office to these platforms. It allowed us to quickly replace daily face-to-face conversations and collaboration with a virtual space without missing a beat.
In November, we reopened our office and began using Officely to manage office usage and the location of team members. The team uses it to reserve a desk and see who will be in the office should they join the team in person for the day.
We were also in the process of launching Lattice to aid in our employee engagement activities. We use it for 1:1 meetings and follow-ups, annual and period surveys, complete employee reviews, and help with career path conversations. It brought structure and purpose to meetings with team members and served as a more periodic emotional check-in during a difficult time.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
We compete with a handful of other local agencies for talent but not clients. The majority of our clients are based outside of Iowa. Many of our clients and much of our growth are relationship-based, and as client contacts move to different companies, they often bring us along.
Our deep understanding of our client’s businesses, paired with the strategy, creative and expansive solutions we can bring to the table across our collective, helps us grow outside the normal new business channels.
Your final thoughts:
For all the difficulties and losses that came with the pandemic, there are some great things to come from it for the way businesses will operate in the future. We’ve learned we can adapt and adjust to just about anything. Technology has led the way to allow us to conduct business anytime from anywhere.
And it’s giving our people a way to have some freedom throughout the day they traditionally haven’t had, creating an overall better work-life balance. The pandemic changed the way the business world will operate moving forward.
- Spokesperson: Matt Glynn
- Company: Anthologic
- Website link: http://anthologic.com/