Grateful, but different
A short five years ago, we recounted our history of client successes and key milestones, and said “thank you” to everyone that was an integral part of our 20 years in business. We threw a party in Chicago with our family, clients, staff and partners. We told stories, laughed, high-fived and hugged. You can’t beat spending time with people you care about, especially in Chicago in the summer.
Celebrating our 25th anniversary doesn’t feel quite right.
Right now, we have much needed, history-making societal change taking place. We are in the process of learning, understanding and, most importantly, acting against the systemic racism facing black and brown people in our country and around the world. To make this change happen, this must be a priority for all of us. I will share in a moment the start of what we are doing to begin to make a lasting difference.
This year also brought us a global pandemic. We face a reality that many lives have been lost, families have been shattered by the effects of the virus, jobs are being eliminated and businesses are shuttering. I remain hopeful that the world members working on effective treatments and a vaccine will achieve their goal in short order. This is probably not the traditional celebratory opening dialogue or a preview to Outlook’s future, but everything in business and our lives are different this year.
Be better – make change happen
The Outlook team is working to be an active participant to address the challenges that exist in eliminating systemic racism. This small start includes messaging, official statements and social platform engagement on the issues of racism – all part of our ongoing effort to educate ourselves. But all have limited impact unless there are actions to help make change.
My promise is that we will be doing things that make both an immediate impact and also contribute toward sustainable change. The first action we are taking is focused on black-owned businesses located in the heart of black communities. We will be funding the Articles of Incorporation of 33 new black-owned businesses through Kareem Wells and his K.W.O.E Foundation programs (e.g. H.O.P.E. – Helping Other People Excel). We will also be donating our services to help launch new initiatives and offer ongoing support of the Foundation’s overall programs, too. It’s a small start. We have a lot more work to do.
We will continue our commitment of giving back to those in need and have donated both monetarily and with our services to some incredible groups—including Children’s Advocacy Center, GiGi’s Playhouse, Little City, Anixter, Forward Steps, Watts of Love and many, many more amazing community non-profit organizations. (I encourage you to check them out.) This is a core value for us. The people at Outlook have huge hearts and emphatically get involved with causes that are important to them, and we will be even better in making positive change happen together in the future.
Next up at Outlook
We are forever grateful to our clients and so proud of our collaborative success thus far. However, we learned long ago that we can never stop innovating. Moving forward, we are building upon and modifying our integrated marketing portfolio to formally include services proven to generate results for our clients. Our buyer journey strategy, combined with comprehensive digital tactics and predictable and agile campaign execution will continue to evolve as the centerpiece of Outlook’s work.
We are exploring and making additional investments in infrastructure, including channels/platforms, analytics, marketing technology and the use of AI in defining and executing robust marketing programs. We are also continuously investing in our content strategy and earned media/PR practices that are a critical, foundational piece of our client’s digital initiatives.
Starting in 2021, you will also see an expansion of our leadership team and roles, and realize benefits from changes in our operational management and daily processes. These changes will enable a deeper focus on serving as well as anticipating the evolving needs of our clients, while also expanding our capabilities and giving the people at Outlook the opportunity to learn, lead and grow.
The power of relationships and appreciation
It certainly is a notable achievement to reach 25 years in business, and it is important to me to express gratitude. I am so very grateful for my wife Terri and my family that have contributed to our success and have been unconditionally supportive through this journey: I love you.
We are so very grateful to the clients that believe in us to be an extension of their team and give us the opportunity to think and be creative together day in and day out. And we are so very grateful to our partners—you are a critical part of our ability to deliver incredible work to those clients.
To the people at Outlook that possess the wonderful, unique blend of caring about their clients and peers, dedication to always adding value regardless of size of tasks or programs and continuously working to expand their minds and talents: thank you. We couldn’t do any of this without you.
With great humility, I appreciate and cherish our relationships both personally and professionally. These relationships mean the world to me, and are the primary reason behind our first 25 years of success. Thank you again for all that we have done together and will do in the future. Last, with love and a full heart, may we continue to learn, grow and be better together.
Thank you to all of you that have helped us reach this milestone and a virtual toast to you.
Author: Jeff Rappaport, CEO, Outlook Marketing Services