50,000feet is an independent global creative consultancy with offices in Chicago and New York. Jim Misener is the Principal and President, setting the strategic direction as well as business development and client services.

Econsultancy caught up with Jim to ask how current circumstances are affecting his and 50,000feet’s ways of working.

Please describe your job: What do you do?

50,000feet is an independent creative agency that combines strategy, design and technology to develop brand experiences that help our clients connect more deeply with their customers. As a Principal and President, I partner with our team to set the strategic direction of our company, which involves working closely with each of our clients and every member of our staff. Put simply, my job is to listen and then lead by making certain that everyone has what they need to do great work.

How has your typical day been impacted in the short term by the pandemic?

Everyday is Monday, bringing with it its own unprecedented news and set of challenges. For me, the crisis has led to working closely with our clients to make certain that we are meeting their needs while helping to keep them and our team happy, productive and safe.

What are your favourite tools and techniques to help you get your work done at the moment?

We are all staying connected, collaborating and conducting business through every digital means available: from Slack and Zoom to IM and chat. Speaking by phone has also been making a comeback. I have come to rely on daily walks to give me the time to reflect and to make decisions as well as be mindful of what we’re all learning from the pandemic. Three critical topics—or tools—which I think don’t get their due: patience, optimism and trust. They’re indispensable for any business and brand, and they have been critical in our response to the crisis.

Which companies have impressed you since the outbreak?

Our clients. One of the bright spots has been to see how they have responded to the crisis in incredibly powerful and impactful ways–whether through life-saving product innovation, a renewed commitment to their values and purpose or through philanthropic initiatives. We have begun sharing some of their stories because they have really inspired us and help provide a view into what comes next.

What changes are you making to help your brand connect with how people are feeling and experiencing the pandemic?

We’re trying to be as attentive as possible to the needs of our staff and clients and to adapt at a faster pace than ever. Communication and collaboration across your entire supply chain and ecosystem are critical. Brands have an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment and provide the confidence that we all need as we look to restart and rebuild.

What trends have you seen in the last few weeks in your sector?

Everyone has become comfortable with conducting business remotely while we work from home, and it’s offering clients an opportunity to see how their agency team reacts amid crisis and adapts to a changing world. We are seeing client demand that ranges from developing communications and virtual collaboration platforms to perspectives on how to adapt brand messaging to reach customers who have changed their priorities, habits and behaviors at record pace.

What advice would you give a marketer right now?

Move fast. The most successful have adapted at record speed, recognizing their need to mobilize and move from reassuring their employees and partners to providing a perspective on recovery. Marketers need to be able to balance the demands of leading long-term, strategic initiatives with the nimbleness to deliver on requirements that are mission-critical and deadline-driven. You need to be able to listen well, learn quickly and lead confidently in the face of uncertainty.

What does long term planning and strategy look like now at your brand?

Because we are all experiencing and learning from the pandemic in real-time, the best laid plans need to reflect and move with it. Although we’re taking one day at a time, we’re staying true to our values and purpose and are looking for ways to learn from the crisis. We know that we all will need to adapt to meet new challenges and realize new opportunities in the months and years ahead.