As part of my series about the “How Business Leaders Plan To Rebuild In The Post COVID Economy”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Andres Giraldo.
Andres Giraldo is the managing partner and CEO of The Skyline Agency, a forward-thinking, digitally-heavy branding and marketing agency with a specialization in lifestyle, food and beverage, fitness and emerging markets like Hemp and CBD.
Thank you for joining us! Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
I got my start in business through the financial services industry. It was with continued work in marketing and advertising that I began to build several brands. That was when I had a realization that there was a lack of quality boutique agencies who were able to produce great, technologically savvy work but without the ego that can often seem to be prevalent in advertising. That was how Skyline was born.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting?
Like many people who begin getting into advertising and marketing, I would intertwine the two as if they were synonymous. I learned from many others the subtle differences between these studied and practiced forms of communication. Early on, however, I know that I had moments where I was not the wisest in the room.
Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
While education and Information are absolutely key to growth, there has to be a willingness to be coachable and teachable. We are all learning along the way and I am grateful that so many great minds were willing to be open so that I could be here, now.
Sometimes we get in our own way by not being willing to admit we have to know more on a particular topic or idea. Communication is key to quality collaboration.
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to, that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves was very insightful.
The book helped me with growth in listening, analyzing and responding to whatever conversation may be in front of me at the time. Being able to communicate and respond, with authenticity and a strong EQ is key in establishing long-lasting business relationships.
Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven business” are more successful in many areas. When you started your company what was your vision, your purpose?
Being purposeful has always been at the heart of our work.
When I first began The Skyline Agency, I wanted us to have a purpose driven business — to be the space that encouraged collaborative communication. By being open and working together, with clients and each other, we encourage radical creativity. It’s not about ego or self — but about the mission, the story or the goals. Our vision is to be contributive and put things in the world that are helpful and that give back. We like to work with clients who believe in the same thing.
Do you have a “number one principle” that guides you through the ups and downs of running a business?
Faith. Having confidence and faith in each other, our capabilities, our unified desire to do good work.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. For the benefit of empowering our readers, can you share with our readers a few of the personal and family related challenges you faced during this crisis? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
This is a challenging time for any business so adaptation is key. We have to change direction and reevaluate what this new normal means for us all and how to support each other for a greater good. We have to be creative and innovative.
In my family, we have small children and so we’re balancing our business and keeping our employees working and paid to the everyday things like homeschooling and managing the emotional load this brings.
Being proactive in purpose is helpful. It helps to connect and list, daily, accomplishable action items. Now is not the time to wait in the wings. Go out there and show everyone how impactful you or your business can be. We all have a skill set — an ability — that can be helpful. Figure out what it is and how to use it for good.
Are there a lot of challenges? absolutely. But, with all that we are juggling, if we can still be mindful of others and how to work together and pay it forward, then we can help other people and businesses in need. In my opinion, this is more fulfilling than any monetary gain.
Can you share a few of the biggest work related challenges you are facing during this pandemic? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
A big challenge many are facing is how to redirect consumer behavior. Consumers, out of necessity, are directed to online businesses or sites to gather their essential information and products. The retail landscape is changing and we need to be able to navigate these new waters. There are big changes, not just in shopping online, but also in store. There will be a push to more boutique and appointment-only style shopping experiences. This is an advantage that small businesses may have over some larger ones, right now, in that they can facilitate this type of experience with more ease than a big-box retailer might.
Grocery trucks will be a thing. Drive in movies are having a resurgence. These are the things to watch.
I know that we are always in tune with the trends and we look at six to twelve months ahead in order to (hopefully) anticipate what is coming. This keeps us in tune and also inspires us to think of fresh, innovative ways to be able to cross those bridges when we come to them.
As a digitally-heavy and technologically driven agency, I know that this push into the web for everything has allowed us to take on new clients who may not be quite familiar with the science that comes with the online marketplace.
Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. What are a few ideas that you have used to offer support to your family and loved ones who were feeling anxious? Can you explain?
First thing’s first — do your best to take time to disconnect. Put the electronic devices down and Interact with your loved ones. The power of the personal connection and conversation is more important now than it has been in years. Be easy on each other, too. We’re all feeling the uncertainty and allowing each other to acknowledge can be beneficial in reducing stressful thought patterns.
Sometimes all it takes is just a simple “I love you” or “Hello”, or using appreciative language, to help change somebody’s mind state. Right now, we need to support all mental health initiatives and make sure we embrace each other during these trying times.
Obviously we can’t know for certain what the Post-Covid economy will look like, but we can try our best to be aware and prepared. We can reasonably assume that the Post-Covid economy will be a trying time for many people across the globe; yet, at the same time, this can be a time of growth and opportunity. Can you share a few of the opportunities that you anticipate in the Post-Covid economy?
Opportunities and possibilities are there provided we don’t try to make them come from what we’ve always done. We have to get out of our desire to want things to be “how they were” because that time is no more. We need to look at niche markets, specialty markets and small business needs. Pay attention to how Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) are performing to identify current product or service needs. Sanitation, wellness, and affordable goods will be the next wave of growth.
How do you think the COVID pandemic might permanently change the way we behave, act or live?
There will be less business interactions face-to-face and more management done virtually. As we have all adapted, we’ve realized what can be managed from a distance and that will be facilitated. I think that the opinion of telecommuting has been changed.
I think that people have realized that we need to have more work / life balance and there will be less importance on working 60–80 hours per week and, instead, focusing on a healthy whole-body lifestyle,
Considering the potential challenges and opportunities in the Post-Covid economy, what do you personally plan to do to rebuild and grow your business or organization in the Post-Covid Economy?
We just keep working but we’re doing so with efficiency and being mindful that we’re doing things with the idea that they’re “smarter not harder”. We’re sure to communicate and be open to adjustments that facilitate client’s needs today and in their future. Just keep working to evolve and don’t be afraid to innovate.
Similarly, what would you encourage others to do?
Remember that we’re all dealing with this so don’t be afraid to be honest about what you’re facing and ask for guidance.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Life is fleeting and none of us know when ours will individually end so, in that mindset, I like to be sure that the one life we have is a purposeful one.
“If your purpose is bigger than your life then there is a life in your purpose”
― Myra Yadav
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