Our Pandemic-Proof Agency Vision

Q1 2020 — Q2 2021 might have been a tragedy for many companies, but for us, it was a test of our resilience, strategy, teamwork, and values. One that we passed with flying colors.

Pattern of colorful face masks overtop a pink background.
photo credit: Maskclub.com

Here are some of the things we accomplished when the world shut down:

  • Launched a full agency rebrand that is on 🔥
  • Helped over 5,000 people vote-by-mail for the 2020 election with a campaign that generated nearly 600,000 impressions on social media
  • Provided ongoing support to two travel icons as they navigated through COVID19
  • Kicked off Brunch Talks and created a safe space for our team to discuss some pretty important issues
  • Led an affordable housing non-profit to get their first development project
  • Created a new e-comm brand and website for locally grown plants
  • Made a name for ourselves in the Hemp & Cannabis industry
  • Launched a new-parent social platform for a revolutionary new infant formula brand
  • Designed the unique app UX for a 114yr old American luxury department store
  • Became the UX partner to a company that is bettering the quality of life for our seniors
  • Began creating UX and design for an innovative company focused on the future of pregnancy care

During that tough year and a half, we gained 7 new accounts and helped make our partners millions. Since the first things that companies typically cut when sales are down are their 3rd party contracts and marketing budgets, we often get asked how we were able to grow as a digital experience agency during the pandemic.

We wanted to share the vision that guided us through it, in its rawest form: an unedited internal memo that our founder, Beto Gallardo, wrote in June 2020 to our leadership team.

Our founder, Beto Gallardo, writing on a whiteboard.

“Gallardo Labs is founded based on the principles that Nicole and I grew up believing; equality, fairness, hard work, quality, balance …

“One of the most important drivers of our company is the creation of new solutions that help our clients succeed. But this cookie-cutter statement is more important than the general public understands, or that the millions of marketing campaigns that use it let their clients believe. Here is what we do, broken down to its simplest elements:

“To create. The basis of what we do is to create — as in bringing into existence something that was not there before. We build, innovate, and inspire.

“Solutions. Using our creativity, knowledge, and experience, we craft solutions. We identify and understand what problem our client has and then design and communicate a new way to solve that problem.

“Help our clients succeed. Independently of our bias, preferences, tastes, or interests, we have to provide the tools that will help bring success — not to us, but to our clients.

That is the what — now the how

“As we built Gallardo Labs, that statement has been the most important topic in most of our discussions and planning. We have come to an agreement that to deliver upon it, we need a team of open-minded, expert-matter, senior, and experienced professionals. We are aligned on being geographically dispersed, working synchronically utilizing the 21st-century tools to achieve the highest quality product, productivity, and life/work balance.

“This internal framework is the base that informs our decisions and policies and will provide direction for the years to come. It is true that the world has changed, and it will continue to change. Several times in every generation we think that the events have shifted the ground under us and that nothing is going to be the same: The space race, fall of the Berlin wall, dot com crisis, mortgage crisis, 9/11, Iranian hostage crisis, Black Lives Matter movement, Occupy Wall Street, the countless school shootings, Stonewall Riots, Women’s Rights movement… Just to name a few. And it is true, all these events and movements + many more have brought change. However, the principles of humanity, society, and what is important (aka the basics) have not.

“plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” — Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr.

“Organizations that are based on those universal principles, respond to real human needs and provide unwavering values prevail…with a little caveat: they have to have the ability to adapt. Part of a company’s DNA is to embrace change and while staying true to its principles, be able to shift with the times. Their ability (or lack thereof) to do so, means the difference between long-lasting success and failure. It is also the reason why there are so many small and medium businesses (many of them boring) that last for decades and so many young, innovative, and hip ventures that go bankrupt before any significant sale.

“At the end of the day, the strategy will change, even adjust and shift daily, but if it is based on a solid set of principles it will last for ages.

Word of mouth, quality, and current client happiness

“These are all invaluable factors that have proven effective in helping us grow. Now we must complement them with a dynamic content marketing strategy. Current clients are most important and pursuing new clients in new markets will be more successful if we use the experience and feedback from our current ones.

“Reinvest the trust we’ve earned with existing partners; offer to support them as they navigate the new normal with our additional offerings. By growing our footprint within the industries we know well and first going after similar markets, we then have a great starting point to base our expansion into new territory.

Virtual, quarantine, and other maladies

“For almost two decades the technology sector has been trying to sell the virtues of remote working, telecommuting, virtual meetings, etc. But the pandemic has changed the minds and hearts of the entire world about the topic in just a couple of months. We built our original model based on these technologies and practices and we are very good at it. There is no shift or change needed for us. We have been embracing remote working for 8+ years so let’s use this to our advantage.

“When Apple came along, Airbnb emerged, and Google dominated, there were companies that had already been doing what those giants are now known for. Where are those other companies now? It is not enough to be the first, or to “have been doing it all along.” This is our chance to capitalize on one of our biggest strengths, and only we can miss it.

“I am not throwing away my shot” Lin-Manuel Miranda

“It is our job to promote and sell the advantages and benefits that working this way and working with us will bring to our clients. We have to educate our target market and use these unprecedented times to expand our reach and demonstrate why we stand behind this is as #thefutureofwork.

Beggars can’t be choosers

“We all believe in the idea behind Gallardo Labs. We understand the unique value that only we can provide to our clients. Now we have to be able to transmit that value to the right people, in the right organizations (those that we want to work with). Then we can create a steady stream of projects that allow us to continue working on the initiatives we love while delivering successful results to the kind of clients that we want to have.

“The better positioned and the more financially healthier we are: the more we will be able to select clients and projects based on how much good we can make and how much impact we can achieve.” — Beto

In business, as much as we can try to predict the future, it will always be full of unknowns. But by having a unified vision, a core set of values, and an all-star team, that dreaded feeling of uncertainty will turn into opportunity. We hope you learned some key tactics from Beto’s letter that help your company create new opportunities of its own.

Interested in sharing your company vision or story with us? Email hello@gallardolabs.com. We’d love to talk shop with you.



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