February 6, 2023

Digital Marketing Education

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How Elephant’s unified team is leading the agency’s next evolution of growth


As a creative agency, Elephant prides itself on the strength of its work and the people behind it. But like many agencies, Elephant faced a number of major challenges during the pandemic years—both client-facing challenges like large-scale campaigns suddenly having to be put together remotely and internal woes like Zoom fatigue setting in.

In April 2022, during a thoughtfully planned out unifying of the company, Cara DiNorcia took the helm at Elephant as its new president. After five years at the agency in various managerial roles, DiNorcia had an enormous new task at hand: To revamp the organization to be fully remote and borderless while optimizing the employee experience and the options available to clients.

Her solution? An enterprise internally referred to as “One Elephant.”

Ad Age Studio 30 spoke with DiNorcia about how the transition to a One Elephant mindset reframed the company’s narrative, how approaching hiring with a borderless model helped achieve DE&I goals, and why Elephant feels nimbler than ever.

Ad Age Studio 30: You have said the idea behind your One Elephant restructuring was to unite the company’s East and West Coast offices so that they could collaborate more as a single entity rather than as separate outposts. What prompted that transition?

Cara DiNorcia: One Elephant came out of taking a long, hard look at how our work, both internally and externally, was impacted by the pandemic.

While we weren’t gathering in offices, we were still producing some of our strongest work for our clients. There was no longer a need to tie employees to a particular physical location.

Combining operations across all our offices to work together as one cohesive company made more and more sense. And becoming completely virtual gave us the ability to hire across the globe and continue to diversify our talent. We now have more flexibility to design the right team for our clients and our work.

Was the staff enthused by the prospect?

When you drive an organizational change like this, you have to truly believe in it and get your leadership to believe in it as well. I’m so proud of how everyone has been rallying around One Elephant and getting excited about the work and the team we have in place.

In some ways, there was almost that feeling of starting a new job, where you’re learning a new team and a new collaboration style. And once we were able to address logistical kinks like time-change differences and transitioning folks onto new clients and teams with people they hadn’t worked with before—it all started to come together.



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