A global coronavirus pandemic provides a poor setting for an ad agency to celebrate its 31st anniversary. But that’s where we find ourselves, and we’re committed to extracting the silver lining from this black cloud.

German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche famously said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Less well known is his supporting argument that those who survive – and grow stronger – were already strong. Adversity doesn’t strengthen the weak; it crushes them.

Perhaps that is our silver lining, to realize that we enter this trial with more than three times the experience we once had. To understand that we have built something designed to weather the storm. For one, we moved beyond ads. We did that years ago, choosing to focus on brand building, lead generation and moving prospects through the sales funnel.

Also, we’ve resisted the temptation to overspend and overextend. We’ve always operated with a lean team of proactive, self-motivated, client-focused pros. And we saved for the proverbial rainy day.

Our Umbrella Is Open

People expect me to be right-brained in my role as creative director, but I’m left-brain, too. I pay attention to numbers. That’s benefited me as a business owner, and it’s helped our clients. Our agency has never just been about developing head-turning creative. It’s always worked to accomplish something, too. Sell an aircraft. Roll out a new service. Generate positive word of mouth.

I’m struck by the well-positioned, but poorly capitalized businesses that may go under in the coming months. It’s heartbreaking. I spoke to a trusted business analyst recently and he said small marketing firms like ours typically collapse at an annual rate of 10 to 15%. He predicts COVID-19 will at least double that.

ad agency in wichita kansas turns 31

Where Did the Time Grow?

Every anniversary makes you shake your head about time’s swift passing. This go-round, I’m hoping the virus burns itself out with hyper speed so the world can begin rebuilding and returning to normalcy. With face-to-face meetings. Events attended by thousands. Travelers exploring every corner of the globe.

We cannot control events, but we can prepare for downtimes and the return of better times. It’s up to us how we come out of this. Crawling on our knees or rocketing past our former station. Fueled with new ideas and strategies developed while we were down. Volatility creates opportunities. Seize them.