We’re living in the gray right now.
That’s not a good thing if you’re a business which has always relied on the black and white.
We Are Rosie, a remote network of 4,000 marketing pros swooping in to power agencies and brands, thrives in the gray, and specializes in rainbow -- enhancing a company's spectrum for success with greater diversity of talent.
Traditionalists scoffed at this fantastical freelance model when it was launched two years ago by Stephanie Nadi Olson. But now, as COVID-19's inferno tears through adland, it's become very apparent that We Are Rosie's unfaltering formula stands like a fortress amid the flames. And there's a line of wounded marketers knocking at the door to get in.
"We work with some of the biggest tech companies in the world who are fueling this work-from-home environment, and there’s irony to this because they didn’t have an emergency WFH strategy. A lot of people were pretty unprepared," said Olson, speaking of the pandemic chaos.
The flexible model she’s created directly contributes to greater creativity, operational efficiency and overall brand growth acceleration. We Are Rosie has no office, though I guess you could call HQ Olson’s home in Atlanta. But this lack of brick is the very thing that makes it so successful.
A need for the company’s formula was growing at a fast rate among the industry’s smart leaders who saw its obvious benefits before this pandemic. But now, in a world which has forced brands and agencies to truly transform or die, this need is exploding.
SpoonfulOne, a children’s nutritional line aimed at reducing food allergy development, can attest to the model's success. The Silicon Valley startup was created by some seriously clever people (PHD-clever people) in 2015 and is backed by Nestlé Health Sciences. It began selling online in 2017 and, at the start of this year, took on Zoe Glade as a VP to oversee marketing efforts.
"What we needed was movement very quickly to prove to a board of directors and Nestle Health Sciences that we can create a demand for this product -- the Rosies were imperative in that," said Glade, who explained that a hole in digital media and sub-par experiences with the company’s cyber destinations were letting the direct-to-consumer brand down.
She worked with Olson to parachute in three Rosies to amp up digital media.
"The beauty of having this type of push-pull culture from a staffing perspective is that it's not like you have to sit there and onboard them -- you drop them in and they get to work and it’s amazing," she continued.
Glade explained that, over the course of two-to-three weeks, the freelancers helped launch social paid media, SEO, display and GDN. SpoonfulOne immediately saw website traffic and revenue increase as well as a bump in Amazon sales. The brand now sits on data that shows a positive growth trajectory.
Now Glade is better positioned to take advantage of the one business upside among CPG brands right now -- an unprecedented spike in online shopping.
"There’s a little bit more trust from what we’re seeing," she said, speaking to the change in consumer behavior as more of us roll the dice when it comes to purchases in an isolated world, much like trying something on in a physical store (remember that time?).
"Prior to this, most consumers were a little skeptical of brands, especially new brands. You have to put this massive marketing plan together with influencers and media and partnerships to create credibility -- I think that you’ll start to see that shift just a little bit because consumers want to be inspired. That ‘try’ model is going to evolve into the digital space much more aggressively than we’ve previously seen."
When it comes to the growth of SpoonfulOne, Glade stressed that "less is more." The business will be heavy on the remote-working culture We Are Rosie sparked in a post-pandemic world, constantly searching for the right talent to make the most of what the company already has, instead of hemorrhaging unnecessary costs.
This radical approach to start-ups (a far cry from the merry bands of dot com boom Silicon bros throwing investor money at lavish office space and all things gourmet) does not succeed without something else Glade holds high: Transparency.
"It’s about transparent communication," she said. "What that does for relationships internally is create that connection with people. Being able to be your most transparent, authentic self is something that’s grown from this pandemic and that’s been really special to see."
Legacy organizations too are learning to cut through the bullshit. You can thank Olson for her part in that. We Are Rosie is helping stifled, juggernaut agencies and brands tear down red tape to reach more inclusivity quicker to ultimately transform faster.
The founder added: "Even though they’re operating within a lot of legacy infrastructure and it may be a bit more difficult to get things done and break things, everyone is starting to recognize that in order to be competitive you are going to have to think differently. In order to access more diverse talent and get the best brains in the world on your business, you’re going to have to think in different ways.
"When we start to open up the way in which work happens, inclusion is a beautiful byproduct, it’s not something that you need to focus on or talk about on panels or something you’re measuring everyday -- it just happens. We have an incredible opportunity to build a much more inclusive marketing ecosystem at this moment.
"People are embracing a more human work-side to everything and I really hope that sticks with us -- and I think it will, because the cat’s out of my bag. We’re going to see happier people in the long term because it will give people the life and career that they want."