Strengthening strategic partnerships to help our clients thrive


Times have certainly been challenging since March. No matter what your situation is, your world has changed and what once was normal is now different. As a mom of a 5-year-old (or “almost 6!” as he would correct me) and an almost 2-year-old, who’s working full time, I am constantly striving to find the right work/life balance.

I often hear, and know the reality is, “you can’t do it all.” But, for me, it’s not so much you can’t, but rather you shouldn’t. Something will suffer as a result. The same can be said for agencies and how we serve our clients. We shouldn’t expect to be experts in everything, but rather focus on our areas of strength and utilize strategic partnerships to pull in the right support when needed to deliver the best results.

Finding the Right Support is Critical

The pandemic has forced us to get creative with how we get that support and collaborate with one another. In ways, I have personally seen how the right support has improved life for my family at home. My son’s interaction with relatives out of town has grown through FaceTime calls, which help occupy him while I work or attempt to tidy up the house.

At FARM, beyond supporting each other as a team internally, we have looked to other agencies for support. In Western New York, a few agencies have come together through AAF Buffalo, a local advertising organization, to openly discuss learnings and challenges around the new normal of working from home and office re-openings.

Outside of our region, we have continued to grow our strategic partnerships with our fellow members of ICOM. ICOM is a global network of more than 80 independent like-minded advertising and marketing communications agencies spanning across more than 60 countries.

We come together twice a year, once for a regional meeting and once a year for a worldwide meeting to share best practices, discuss challenges, and work together to strengthen our agencies and the brands we represent.

With those meetings on hold, we’ve shifted to virtual meetings, shared progress report videos from each market across the world and have even sent personal videos of our kids’ dance/disco parties (in my case). ICOM is about working together, empowering collaboration, and seeing positive results through connected thinking. Not even a pandemic will stop this group from supporting one another.

For some time now, we have been seeking opportunities to collaborate with one of our ICOM partners, Olomana Loomis, to support their efforts in providing research services to their clients or prospects in the Hawaiian market. In June, an opportunity arose to partner on a market research study for two of their clients.

Our market research team executed a regional study aiming to assess the current state of the market regarding the impact of recent world events on attitudes toward private versus public education among families of school-age children (K-12). The long-distance relationship from New York to Hawaii has gone smoothly—finding meeting and interview times that work for everyone, providing for an extended workday, as well as taking the time to understand cultural differences at the start of the project.

As marketers, it’s our job to find innovative solutions for our clients, especially during challenging times. Through our ICOM membership, we’re able to partner with agencies from across the globe to share resources and meet our clients’ challenges head on. As our world continues to evolve in ways we can’t predict, we’re confident we have the right resources—both internally and through our strategic partnerships—to help our clients thrive. To learn how we can help your organization, contact us.

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Ashley focuses on taking care of our people, ensuring they can thrive in a positive and empathetic culture within a productive and supportive environment. She also loves to travel, taking on New Zealand’s Nevis bungee jump—the highest in the southern hemisphere! Now, Ashley’s thrill seeking is consumed by keeping up with her husband, two children, and dog Bernie.

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