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A Time It Was and What a Time It Was, It Was...2020.

We all know what an incredibly sobering and somber time 2020 was for the entire world. It’s a year we would all love to forget and wish it had never even happened.

But it did…

So, how do we carry on? We can’t go back in time. We cannot change what has collectively and individually happened to us. But we can look forward with the knowledge and insights gained from getting through a terrible time in history.

To do that, it’s worth evaluating the year through filters of honesty and objectivity. Below are a few of the new lessons we learned and old lessons that were reinforced in dear ol’ 2020.

In no particular order…

// You can’t get there by yourself. If someone tells you otherwise you know they are full of crap. One of the favorite sayings at //NKST is “it’s team sport.” This year, that has never been more evident, and more needed.

// No one wins unless everyone wins. It’s true, a rising tide floats all boats. Our team and our clients are in it together as collaborative partners to ensure the best outcomes of our work, our passions and our obsessions.

// You never know the events that will transpire to get you home. We’ve found the some of our highest highs are found in the unknowns, in the in-betweens and the unexpected. As it should be.

// Business is always personal and brands are always human. Now more than ever, right? If your organization is not working towards these goals, you company is leaving a lot on the table. Being nice, fair and empathetic are the first steps to giving back to communities that have helped you get to where you are today.

// If it doesn’t sell, is it creative? Ah, one of our continuous internal conversations. A debate as old as the advertising industry. Right up there with John Wanamaker’s dilemma of knowing 50% of his advertising worked, but he didn’t know which 50%.

// Say yes (to opportunities). In a year when opportunities may not have been as plentiful as before, it is critical to say “yes” and to see where being open to forgetting about doing business as usual can take you.

// Embrace the unthinkable, the unheard of and the impossible to imagine. This is something we typically gravitate towards, but not all companies do. When things get turned upside down and everything goes back to zero, it’s definitely time to change things up.

// Invite opposing viewpoints, entertain the ridiculous and at times give credence to heresy. This is another one we at //NKST embrace whole-heartedly. Insular thinking leads to a downward spiral where creative and critical thought can get lost in the swirl of panic. Being open to things that are new and different help to keep things from going down the tubes.

// Acknowledge and learn from the past, but don’t revere it. On a macro and micro level, businesses and brands need to take-on a test-and-learn approach to a customer-in-control mindset. One that is pervasive across the entire organization is one that leads to progress and success for all.

The //NKST team has proved over and over this year our willingness and ability to adapt to adverse conditions. From working from home, to learning new technologies, finding creative ways to connect with clients and prospects, to rethinking how we do our jobs to the best of our abilities.

In the process we’ve have become a tighter group, a smarter team, and not to mention, a more dynamic force of strategic and creative resource for our clients.

As crazy as this year has been, we’ve discovered a lot about our inner being and our individual grit that makes up our collective heart and soul. In the midst of adversity, we have risen to the challenges we faced together.

And from my perspective, I couldn’t imagine it any other way and with any other team of spirited, confident and fearless marketing and communication professionals than Jeff Kurek, Ed Farris, Judy Arnold, Don Christensen, Elizabeth Bagot, Jonathon Tuason, Jane Okkinga, Kathi Stark and Meg McMaster.

In 2021, I’m excited to be working with people and companies who share in the belief that “safe” ideas are risky business – especially in the world of transparency and immediacy we live and work in today.

So, here’s to creating an atmosphere of wide-open possibilities and discovering what challenges we're ready for next (um, //NKST)…



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