Bret Jacobson sees an opportunity in the continued tension that employers have getting their teams back into the office. He calls it an “interesting challenge,” and has made it one of the offerings of his new creative agency, Protagonist Media, which launched in June.
“We’re working with employers [on] explaining why it’s important that people are actually together in [the office],” said Jacobson, who’s also a partner in digital advocacy shop Red Edge, LLC. “Certainly we’ve seen that in creative fields, in particular, and in tech fields that people need to be able to collaborate. And that at least some in-person time is really helpful. So communicating the sort of hard business element with the soft, approachable, professional messaging” is something that the new shop will offer clients.
He noted that some employers have tried to “brute force” the returns.
“And they might end up with less than happy employees,” Jacobson said. “So what we’re trying to do is make sure that we can help employers and at the same time make sure that employees end up with the same or higher job satisfaction.”
Jacobson also sees a broader market for his new shop’s research capabilities, which will tap PhD-level researchers that he’s worked with in the past.
“One of the really exciting, interesting elements, I think, is that we’re trying to take really advanced political and public affairs research and help companies avoid the Bud Light, Target type problems,” he said. “So helping to figure out when they should be involved around social, culture war issues. And if so, how to plan for blow back, how to know what’s an acceptable level of pain, but really to do very important risk mitigation.”
He continued: “This is public affairs leaning into culture.”