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Marketing Agency Exposed Podcast

Dec 2, 2020


In today’s episode Brad shares his experience being sick with Covid-19, giving some first-hand experience. He shares the complexities of recovering and isolating while also running an agency. We talk about areas of vulnerability in your business, the value of having trust in your team, and what he learned about rest while he was sick. We ask Brad a LOT of questions, from details about day to day business operations to his biggest takeaways coming out the other side.


Top 3  Curtain Pulls in this episode: 

  1. Preparing your business for disruption means building a team and systems that will have your back.
  2. You must affordably invest in creating redundancies in your business. This will allow you to experience less anxiety when life throws unexpected turns your way.
  3. As businesses and as people, we have to find ways to stop living in fear. If we take anything from 2020, let it be an awareness of how powerful fear can be and how worthwhile it is to create awareness of it and not live in it. 


For more tips, discussion, and behind the scenes:


About The Guys: 

Bob Hutchins: Founder of BuzzPlant, a digital agency that he ran from from 2000 -2017. He is also the author of 3 books. More on Bob: 

Brad Ayres: Founder of Anthem Republic, an award-winning ad agency. Brad’s knowledge has led some of the biggest brands in the world. Originally from Detroit, Brad is an OG in the ad agency world and has the wisdom and scars to prove it. Currently that knowledge is being applied to his boutique agency. More on Brad:

Ken Ott: Co-Founder and Chief Growth Rebel of Metacake, an Ecommerce Growth Team for some of the world’s most influential brands with a mission to Grow Brands That Matter. Ken is also an author, speaker, and was nominated for an Emmy for his acting on the Metacake Youtube Channel (not really). More on Ken: 


Show Notes:

[1:05] Bob asks Brad about his experience with Covid so far, and Brad says that he must have caught in on a flight with little social distancing. He’s had 12 days of feeling really bad and it’s been very challenging to keep working while he’s sick. 

[3:00] Brad says that because the immune system doesn’t know how to fight this virus, he’s experience a lot of symptoms over and over again. “The virus just goes around and just pokes at you, tries to find a vulnerability.” 

  • He says that on day 5 he thought he was feeling better but woke up the next morning and yet another set of symptoms had presented. He did lost his taste and sense of smell. 

[5:31] Bob asks how his family has been doing- Brad’s wife and daughter had no exposure to him and his son didn’t show any symptoms. 

[6:58] Brad talks about how lucky he has been through this process, he realized he’s got a really good team because there were people that jumped in and took the ball from him as soon as he got sick. He said they made a point to talk every day and then by early afternoon he would be exhausted and had no way of predicting when he would need to rest. He experienced more exhaustion than he’s ever experienced!

[8:06] Brad “I think we just have to be prepared that you have to really prepare your business so that you as a business owner don’t need to be there every hour to run it… When you find yourself in this situation where… you actually can’t participate, then you really realize what you have and what you don’t have, who can actually support you.” 

[9:15] Ken talks about how emergencies like this truly reveal truths about the state of your business. “What happens when some of your key people or some of your key systems go down?”

[10:35] Ken asks if Brad found it a significant challenge to his company.

[10:41] Brad says that he had a handful of clients who experienced being sick with Covid earlier this year and they had a lot of sympathy and understanding for what he was going through. He says the experience has taught him to focus on working to “affordably create redundancies” in the rest of his business in the future.

[13:11] Ken asks Brad what some of those redundancies might be. 

[13:22] Brad says his thought have included extra hires along with team building and working to manage specific clients more as a team versus a single person being a key point of contact. He shares that creating communication redundancies and having transparency in the area of communication is key as well. 

[14:50] Ken talks about the different areas of redundancy; communication systems internally and externally, roles and responsibilities inside and outside the team. 

[16:01] Bob asks Brad if there were things that run a lot smoother in his business than he expected. 

[16:38] Brad says that overall he was happy with the way his team dealt with things in his absence. There were 2 weeks that were particularly hard because he slept 18 hours per day; but his team always kept him in the loop about possible problems where he would be needed early on. They kept him informed and that helped him rest easier. 

  • Creating more redundancy for his team is the focus now, so that if one of them does get sick he can step in or others can step in and help carry the weight. 

[20:35] Ken asks if there is a weight that has lifted now that he knows he’s had it and survived. 

[20:50] Brad says no, unfortunately. The difficulty of recovering and knowing how severe it could become for others has almost become heavier. 

[23:28] Bob asks Brad if the fear got to him while he was sick, having known someone who passed away from Covid and knowing how bad it could get. 

[25:00] Brad says that he monitored it very well and worked to build his immune system this year, so as long as he didn’t feel like it was in his lungs, he didn’t get too scared. The worst part for him was having a sinus infection on top of the exhaustion. 

[26:45] Bob asks if having Covid-19 has changed his perspective. 

[26:50] Brad says that it was weird that no one with him got it as well- he’s worn a mask everywhere and been very diligent, and somehow he still got it. “I think you gotta go about your life, trying not to worry about it because it’s really a statistic at this point, and you have to just do what you think is right for you and what you feel is right. If the most defense you have  is social distancing and wearing a mask then do it.” 

  • “If I can wear a mask, even though I don’t need to now, if I can bring some peace to somebody that they feel more secure because I have my mask on, then why wouldn’t I do that?” 

[29:49] Bob shares that when a vaccine is available, he won’t be one fo the first to rush in and get it. But eventually once it’s been proven effective on a larger scale he’ll feel more comfortable. 

[31:00] Brad has a lot of hope that with 4 possible vaccines, things could become normal again. The most desperate will get it first, and will give us a good idea of what sort of side effects and symptoms it will create. 

[32:00] The Guys discuss 2021 and what they expect, hope for, look forward to, etc. 

[33:07] Ken shares that one of his hopes is that we become more aware of how powerful fear is in our society and that we become more aware of it. He talks about the opportunities that have been created during this time and how he’s worked towards plugging Metacake into those needs. For those businesses that have transitioned to working from home, how has that impacted your business financially? How have onboarding and integration worked for new hires during this time? Keeping people connected has become a huge focus and has required a lot of intentionality. 

[38:31] Brad talks about how after a war, typically our country has done well and thrived. There is unity, there is a readiness to work and get things back on track. He predicts an explosion of business growth and general growth overall in 2021, and says it’s possible that we may see more of a recession 3 or 4 years from now. By summer 2021, a lot of our questions will be answered. 

[40:53] Ken says that figuring out how to diversify to create redundancies to mitigate potential disruption is a great place to be right now. This year has been a great year to reveal those truths and help you pinpoint how to intentionally move forward. 

[42:15] Bob is already thinking about 2021, about being ready to take the year on with plans of jumping into a “new normal” and readying your business for that process. Ecommerce is the future, and so aligning your business with that is the way to go!