Notes from the Digital Dispatch

The expansion of a single organism is simple. A cell grows, then it divides, and then the two new cells have room to grow. Nimble as we may be, Haystack Needle’s mitosis is a bit more complex. We have seven highly specialized, integrated, yet independently operating teams. From the social media strategists at Sugar Bowl to our documentary filmmakers at Fearless Company and website masterminds at Haystack Digital, or from the branding wizards at Nomeni to the reputation resuscitation squad known as Haystack Reputation, each team has its own footprint and trajectory.

Amid the strife and uncertainty of the past couple years, we’re extremely fortunate to have survived, let alone expanded. Nowadays, with clients’ demands constantly adapting to adhere to mercurial restrictions and permissions (e.g. hybrid events instead of strictly live or remote), an increasing majority of our projects require multi-team support. Without a rock-solid workflow and communications strategy, some of these larger-scope jobs might’ve short-circuited the system. Fortunately, we’ve had a solution in place for years: the Cross-Team Coordinator.

Prerequisites for this position (also known as “CTC”) include: extreme organizational skills, top-shelf phone demeanor, and a Masters Degree in Plate Spinning. CTCs are the air traffic controllers of B2B marketing and production. It’s a far cry from switchboard operators and will continue to evolve with the times. Haystack’s current occupant of the catbird seat, Dunovan Belisle, refers to his position as a “digital dispatch.” Has a nice ring to it, no?

Speaking of rings, sound the alarm: last year, we provided comprehensive support for Engine No.1 (an activist and impact investment group) in their quest to seek change in the leadership and direction of ExxonMobil — the wealthiest, most powerful oil corporation in North America. Engine was on a mission “to promote a lower-carbon strategy of the sort espoused by European supermajors such as BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Total.

With only a sliver of Exxon’s 200 million dollar budget at their disposal, Engine No.1 had to make the most of every dollar. Efficiency was paramount.

For the massive proxy fight, Haystack’s dance card included creating social media channels, designing and building the campaign website and landing pages, buying digital ads, search engine optimization, producing, shooting and editing nominee interview videos, and designing and producing investor decks. Communications between a cadre of strategists, designers, producers, copywriters, creative directors, PR leaders, legal and compliance reps, and our hedge fund clients had to be streamlined and seamless; more than 50 people were involved on a week-to-week basis. Aside from being a resounding success and a “landmark victory”, the Engine process affirmed the value of creating a Cross-Team Coordinator.

Entering 2022, we’re filled with confidence and pride as we watch the expanding landscape of corporate mitosis. As always, we’re interested to learn about how other similarly structured organizations manage complex integrations. Feel free to reach out and say [email protected].

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