Jump Director of Client Solutions Joins FOCUS St. Louis Women in Leadership

Jump is proud to congratulations to Alexandria Reed, Director of Client Solutions, on being selected to join FOCUS St. Louis for the spring 2023 cohort of Women in Leadership. This program connects women of diverse backgrounds so they can refine their leadership competencies and deepen their understanding of the region.

“It is an honor to be accepted into a premier leadership organization committed to cultivating stronger leaders that in turn create a stronger St. Louis region,” said Alex. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to learn from diverse perspectives, connect with incredible women leaders, grow my own leadership skills and find ways to better help serve my teams, clients and community.”

Your Office Holiday Party Should Be Visited by 3 Ghosts

Perhaps the greatest sign of the business world emerging from the long shadow of Covid-19 is the return of the office holiday party. No longer a logistical nightmare of trying to send a happy hour basket to every employee for a virtual toast, the office can once again gather in person to celebrate the season. Whether your office trends more toward cookies and coffee in the conference room at 11 a.m. or rents out a local watering hole for karaoke and beer pong on Saturday night, it’s very important to honor the Dickens tradition of welcoming the Past, Present and Future into proceedings.

Reflect On the Past Year

Whether your company had a year of challenges or a year of rapid growth and success, it’s important to remember that it isn’t a mystery to the team so there’s no reason to avoid it. Acknowledge what kind of year it was and celebrate that you all lived to tell the tale. Whatever kind of year it was, it is the foundation for the year to come.

Celebrate the Present Moment

It’s a party. It doesn’t have to turn into an epic night that no one can remember, but it should include some food or treats and some laughter and smiles and merriment.  (Announcing an annual bonus never hurts either.)

Look To the Future

While there’s great debate over whether the holiday party should include a PowerPoint for next year’s goals and objectives, it’s absolutely an opportunity to inspire and excite the team for what is to come. The New Year – and the next fiscal year – are around the corner, and there’s no better time to get everyone excited about what you can accomplish together. 

Jump Company recently celebrated our office holiday party and while we honored the lessons of this post, we also included ample amounts of pinball, dance floor antics and an original murder mystery game…because…it’s a holiday party.

A Partner or a Vendor – What Is Your Relationship Status?

It’s important at the start to acknowledge neither of these is right or wrong and both can be valuable business relationships, but it’s vital both the client and the agency know which relationship status they are in and that they treat each other accordingly. Here’s some questions agencies and clients can ask themselves and how to come together to form a lasting partnership.

Agencies ask yourself – Is your success the client’s success or is your success efficient and timely deliverables

Don’t get me wrong, you should always deliver quality work on time, but the nuance here is whether you are evaluating yourself, and being evaluated, solely on the fulfillment of what is asked (that means you are a vendor) or whether you aren’t happy unless the client’s business has grown (you are a partner.) If you are vendor, then your goal is managing your scope of work and building a relationship that leads to more work and the next project.  If you are a partner, you may take occasional losses and provide unpaid added value because you are evaluating your decisions in consideration of growing the client’s business to build a partnership over many years and many connected pieces of work.

Clients ask yourself – do I trust this agency as an extension of my team and a partner in the process or are they filling a gap in my team and providing a service?

If your agency is a partner then you expect them to challenge your status quo, bring you differing perspectives and have a seat at your table for larger strategic discussions. In other words, you trust them and seek out their input and opinion. On the other hand, if you only turn to your agency to offload the volume of tasks from your internal creative team or manage a specific aspect of your department, like video production or digital marketing, then you may just have a reliable vendor. If you have a partner, don’t just throw assignments over the fence and spend status calls only going down the list of weekly to dos. They want to engage at a deeper level. Alternatively, if you are only asking a vendor to support you, then respect their time and always give them the assets and information they need to do quality work in an efficient way.

All relationships come back to the same place – communication.

Be honest with yourself and the mindset and needs of your organization or agency, and then address your relationship status in a simple and straightforward way.  If you are an agency that wants to invest in a client’s business and play a larger role in their strategic direction, tell them. Don’t assume a client knows that is a depth of partnership available to them. If as a client, you already have strategic partnerships in place and you just need someone to help carry the load of the day-to-day, make sure your agency knows your expectations. Once you are aligned on what type of relationship you both want and need, then the business of contracts and scopes becomes surprisingly easy and straight-forward.

Jump Company prides itself on being a partnership-focused agency and we’re grateful for our clients who continue to trust us and give us a seat at their table.

Jump Strengthens Technology Capabilities Through Partnership

Over the course of Jump’s first twenty years, the agency has constantly evolved to meet the needs of their clients and to remain current with the ever-changing marketing landscape. Nowhere is that more evident than the advent of digital marketing.  From digital development to analytic dashboards to the marcom technology stack, Jump has grown alongside their clients and developed capabilities and expertise to match.

Jump was committed to continuing that exponential trajectory of digital marketing expansion, but then 2022 presented an opportunity for the agency to shift from solely growing through hiring and employee development to partnering with a native digital company, Integrity. The question quickly boiled down to whether it was better to build it yourself or partner.  There were three main considerations that led to the Jump / Integrity partnership.

We Already Had a Plan

The commitment to expanding our digital and technology capabilities was already in place, so the opportunity to partner didn’t create an objective, it offered a solution to the objective. When it comes to business growth, sometimes an opportunity to expand to something new presents itself and feels so timely that decisions are made before there is time to question whether it’s truly the correct decision.  Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

For Jump, the Integrity partnership was simply another option – and the most compelling option – to advancing an existing strategic growth objective. Instead of continuing to build our technology capabilities internally, we married capabilities of Integrity into our branding, content and performance marketing expertise.

We Were on the Same Page

A key to successful partnership is being aligned with your partner and having similar goals, expectations and approach. It was evident from the start that Jump and Integrity shared a cultural approach to business – a commitment to putting the client first and to fully supporting employees.

That alignment and shared commitment to the success of the partnership was most manifest in the decision to cowork together. While both companies continue to operate independently, to further solidify the partnership and support ongoing collaboration, the decision was made to office together in the Delmar Loop, a burgeoning innovation district.

It was a Win-Win-Win

A key to the partnership was the recognition both companies offered complementary strengths with Jump’s history of branding, content and performance marketing and Integrity’s foundation in technology, digital development and user experience. A partnership naturally expanded the offering of both companies and enhanced their services and scale.

The third win was the benefit they jointly bring to existing and future clients. Marketing in today’s world has seen the convergence of brand and experience. Marketing and product are not separate activities, but one integrated offering. They need to be considered and developed in tandem, and the Jump/Integrity partnership directly answers that need for clients.

Together Jump and Integrity represent over a hundred full-time employees. While the partnership has been a success professionally, it has also been a success in the office having discovered a shared affinity for office potlucks, impromptu happy hours and Pop-Tarts always stocked in the kitchen.

6 Keys to a Successful Office Move

One clear impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been a reassessment of office space and whether what you have meets your current business needs. There are many reasons to move. You need more or less space. You want to decrease overhead costs. You want to be closer to a center of business activity or a more dynamic neighborhood filled with dining and entertainment options. The reason you are moving doesn’t matter, but when you do move your office…you must do these six things to make the move a success.

Share the responsibility

Remember the office is moving and everyone who works in the office plays a role. Whether it’s some light manual labor in moving boxes and furniture or the administrative tasks of organization, make sure the office move is overseen by a team and not on the shoulders of an individual. This is especially important because when you have an important challenge – like an office move – you turn to your best and most reliable employees. And then you put them in an often thankless, high stress situation which makes them a target for a company-worth of questions and concerns. You can’t afford to burnout your best employees at a time when you need them most, so make sure you all contribute and don’t isolate the responsibility.

Plan the move, communicate the plan

With your team in place, create a plan for the move and it needs to have more detail than have everything in a box by the end month. Creating – and communicating – a clear timeline of milestones for the move is vital for success. The timeline not only holds everyone accountable, but it communicates your expectations of all employees during the move. Providing regular updates on where you are in your timeline – what you have achieved and what comes next – keeps everyone informed, engaged and reinforces the reality that “this move is happening.”

Donate things away

Whether it’s a violent purge or a Marie Kondo-inspired appreciation for each unused office supply, you must get rid of stuff. It lowers your moving costs, and it makes unpacking and setting up the new office easier. And the reality is that the speed of technology outpaces the utility of many traditional office supplies. That said, what doesn’t have a place in the modern office may still play a role in your local school or non-profit. The wired mouse gives way to the wireless. The paper cutter, spiral binding machine and laminator give way to the digital storage in the cloud. You don’t need it; someone else does. And if no one does, then the trash bin wants it.

You are moving more than boxes

An office move also means updating email signatures, client contracts, subscriptions, business cards and so much more. It also affects your IT department not only in the move of physical equipment but the saved logins and passwords on all employee machines that need to be updated in the new location. This is why the plan for your move and a timeline is so important, because it should also incorporate all these things. A successful move aligns all these changes to take place as simultaneously as possible. And it’s also a necessity for what comes next…

Announce and celebrate the new location

Your move won’t feel complete until everyone knows about it, and that includes your employees. Don’t focus so intensely on sending corporate communications to clients and press releases to the local business journals that you neglect to throw an office happy hour or order in lunch. Make sure everyone knows the move has taken place and, more importantly, that the move process is complete and you are launching into the next phase for your company.

Seize the opportunity to institute change

You have completed one of the biggest changes a company can make, so why not add a few more at the same time. Channel the energy that comes from the trepidation and excitement of a move to institute organizational changes in a way that makes them part of the new normal going forward. New seating locations can set a new tone of the relationship between management and the broader team. Standing meetings can go away or new ones can be created. You can send a message around priorities by recommitting to adherence in time tracking, instituting a lunch and learn program or building a new approach to finding the next great partnership. Promotions or team restructuring can recognize employees’ past contributions or new expectations in the new space.

Jump Company recently completed our own office move in June 2022 and are happy to report everyone survived and six boxes of CDs and twenty years’ worth of advertising printer proofs did not.

When Everyone Is Working from Home, Where Do You Put the Water Cooler?

I may be showing my age with this reference, but there was a time before bottled water and filtered drinking fountains, when people in the office came to common area and grabbed a glass of water from a 5-gallon tank called the water cooler.

The point of the water cooler wasn’t hydration as much as an occasion to strike up casual conversations to build personal relationships or spitball ideas (another dated reference) about current projects. And it’s this spontaneous, unfiltered, unjudged aspect of agency life that is most at risk with the rise of remote work.

So what is the solution? How can you keep the spontaneous benefit of the water cooler in a work environment where no one is in the office? Consider scheduling some standing meetings with no pre-determined agenda.

I know this goes against the grain for those that scream about a workday consistently filled with unproductive meetings, but the key here is to change your perspective on what is success. Is developing culture, building trust and creating a short-hand with coworkers something that is unproductive? I’m not suggesting you arrange times to chat with every employee, weekly for an hour, but standing meetings with some key coworkers every other week for 15 or 20 minutes may be the way to get back to “how are you?”, “what are you doing this summer?” and “while I have you, I wanted to get your two cents on the way we ran that last client call.”