New Year, New Us: 2020 Reflections and 2021 Projections From the NMG Team

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that 2020 will go down in history books. For many of us, this will be one of the most memorable years of our lives, one that defines a generation. Despite the tumult of these last 12 months and the challenges that came with it, there was always room for growth, learning, and opportunity. 

With 2021 on the horizon, members of the Newbridge Marketing Group team took some time to reflect on lessons from 2020 to take into what will *hopefully* be a year with more pluses than minuses. Read through to hear the NMG team’s thoughts on 2020 and 2021, from personal growth to lessons learned on the job, and even a few attempts to predict the future.

Lessons Learned in Marketing and a World of Zooms

Not saying everything is going to be back to normal by June or September, we’re going to be living in a changed world. Instead of waiting for things to return to normal, we must continue acting on what we can sell and promote now – always being ready for today, and not necessarily waiting for tomorrow, is key. – Mark, Managing Director – Experiential 

Staying home is a privilege…one that I feel lucky to have had for so many years working remotely at NMG. This crazy year has helped me put into perspective what matters most and that insight can be translated into the ways brands should be speaking to students: as real people trying to figure out how to have a positive college experience during a pandemic. Also…no matter how well you think you’ve hidden from your children for your Zoom, they WILL find you! – Kristin, VP of Newbridge Campus

Relating to your clients is so vital…showing them that you care and offering an ear (even if it’s not about work) is so important. That genuine moment with a client is what helps them see you as human rather than some rando on the other side of the phone or computer. Take those first few minutes to genuinely ask that person how they’re doing and what’s going on… open the door for honesty and connection. We’re all humans on this earth trying to figure this thing out! – Savannah, Senior Marketing Manager

I’ve learned to be confident in myself as a marketing professional. Whenever I start something new (job or a task within a job) I am often anxious that I will not do it right. I know now that the first time you do something, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Experience/practice is what is going to improve your abilities – so I’ve learned to be confident in myself that I will get there and that nobody is judging me in the process! –  Emily, Creative Marketing Manager

The important one for me was learning to use the off-switch. This year had its fair share of negative news and stories on social media. I learned that it’s okay (and important) to take breaks from both and limit my consumption when feeling overwhelmed. – Sarah, Director of Experiential Marketing

When a good part of your work environment changes quickly, calmly keep your mental wheels turning and stay connected to thought leaders across industries…it helps to be honest about vulnerability Also, GenZ is a force for good and the 2019 marketing buzzword of “authenticity” is more authentic than ever. – Steve, Co-Founder & Partner

Self Growth in 2020: New Year, New Us! 

It is SO important to spend time with and cherish all the people you love in your life because life is short. No matter what obstacles may come, there are always those people that you can count on and should lean into for support. When the world seems dark, the good things shine a bit brighter. Most of all, 2020 was a wake-up call to embrace the things that really matter, and I hope to carry those things into 2021, along with the high hopes for a better world/country/year! – Sofia, Senior Marketing Manager

This year was a first-hand lesson in that one lesson that everyone tries to warn you about, but you never quite understand until it’s happening: our paths aren’t linear. Just because we have certain expectations of how our lives will turn out (*cough cough* in-person college graduation) doesn’t mean that reality was ever truly ours. Despite the profound sense of loss so many of us have felt this year at events and moments that feel “stolen” from us in a sense, I’ve learned to realize that just because they were planned, or hoped for they were never guaranteed and that’s okay…because life is full of surprises good and bad, and the more we can all learn to surf those waves instead of hinging on what we hope or expect, the better off we’ll be. – Ruthie, Marketing Manager 

There is always light at the end of the tunnel, but sometimes you will need to squint to see that light. I learned to be more thankful than I have ever been. You cannot give up, you have to sit up, get out of bed, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. At the same time, it’s OK to draw your guard down so the people you are closest with can support you. Positivity will always overcome negativity. Staying realistic and keeping perspective is paramount. The honest high road is the only road. Even when things seem impossible, possibilities do exist. You need to work hard to deeply appreciate every moment you have with those that you love. – Gabe, VP of Brand Partnerships

Expect the unexpected moving forward.  You never know what tomorrow will bring, so just go with it and expect something different tomorrow. I’ve also learned that there are way too many opinions out there, it’s much easier to run on facts and keep your mind more at ease instead of joining the whole debate. – Mark, Managing Director – Experiential 

I’ve learned the importance of laughter… not that fake laugh or the smug laugh that takes half of an effort… I mean the real, hideous belly laughs that get all the good feels going. Without laughter this year, I don’t know where I’d be. Those little moments of laughter are everything. They make all the stress and trials of 2020 seem like in-between moments rather than the “meat and potatoes” of the year. I’ve also learned that as much as laughter is everything, it’s also the people you choose to laugh with. – Savannah, Senior Marketing Manager

I cannot always be in control, and that’s okay! Sometimes you just have to let go of the reins and see where life takes you. I also have always been a “experience person”, I spend my money on trips and concerts rather than things – but now in a world where it’s hard to fill my time with “big” experiences such as those, I have learned to appreciate the little experiences too. Eating pizza in the back of the car on the Oregon coast with my boyfriend and pup could not be more sentimental this year. – Emily, Creative Marketing Manager

I have learned that healthy relationships help us build resilience in difficult times and that kids can do amazing things when faced with challenges! – Steve, Co-Founder & Partner

Future Predictions: Where We’re Headed (or so we think!)

2020 has really shown the power of STUDENTS for me. I was a student not too long ago, but I can’t even imagine going through the pressure and stress of this year on top of the normal stress and pressure of being a full-time student. Time and time again, the students I had the pleasure of working with this year have shown me that they are a force unlike any other. They continued to be engaged (in most cases, even MORE engaged), they successfully pivoted their lives to meet a whole new world of challenges, and they tackled the year with humor, poise, and passion. In 2021, I see this trend continuing, and I think we’re moving into a generation of students that are adaptable, passionate, and TOUGH, which is just a win-win-win-win for us, for brands, for students, and for the world. – Natalie, Manager of Student Relationships

I’m curious to see the continued trajectory of Gen Z. Going into this pandemic, Gen Z was already thought to be one of the most anxious and depressed generations yet. Coming of age in lock-downs with an uncertain economy, and a poor job market is not an ideal environment for an already anxious bunch. However, this pandemic has also shown Gen Z to be creative, and resilient. I predict that if we can take the lessons we’ve learned in this pandemic about collective well-being, cooperation, and personal reflection, and apply them in our work, government policy, and day to day life we’re headed for great things. If we attempt to revert back to where we were pre-pandemic after so much about our society and its traits have come to light…we’re in trouble. Ruthie, Marketing Manager 

Some of our new digital habits won’t disappear once we’re all back together. Marketing agencies involved in upstream strategy work will exit the pandemic in the best shape. Campus recruiting in Fall 2021 will look more like 2020 than 2019 and continue to quickly evolve, and more data scientists will go from marketing to the medical industry to make a positive impact on the world. Lastly, while still being careful, people will cherish personal live experiences more than ever once we’re able to gather again. –  Steve, Co-Founder & Partner

There you have it! It’s been a crazy year, but we have managed to discover that, in many cases, good can come from bad. We hope you take from this blog what you need, and that our thoughts as a team can provide some insights or just a moment of relatability as we all enter this new year together. 

From all of us at NMG to you, Happy Holidays and most importantly HAPPY NEW YEAR!