The Pandemic Has Validated Our Culture: John Trahar, Greatest Common Factory

da Dasha Ovsyannikova


Greatest Common Factory
Advertising/Full Service/Integrata
Austin, Stati Uniti
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John Trahar
Co-Founder / CEO Greatest Common Factory

How and when was your agency founded?

Back in 2011, we were working in a big agency with big clients like AT&T, BMW, Southwest Airlines, and Goodyear. We kept running up against the agency's model –internal systems that added a layer of complexity and confusion to a process that required simplicity, clarity, common sense, and alignment. We tried a different approach with some of those clients and proved we could produce more powerful advertising by putting all our energy into the work rather than the process around it. After we failed to get that agency to work this way forever, we took the model on the road.


What is your agency's superpower?

We are obstacle-proof.


Why would a client choose your agency over a large network? 

A total lack of bullshit combined with a "delta-force" team that is right-sized for any job. We get to creative answers much faster, and we produce more compelling, usable content with far less stress on clients. We have no unnecessary personnel, and we do not bill by the hour, so the job's not finished until the deliverable is delivered. One entire team works with the client from positioning through content production with zero buck-passing. So, everyone knows why we are creating what we are creating, and everyone knows the story deeply enough to make any needed adjustments in the moment. There's nothing for clients to triage or stress over.


What is your view of the current climate in terms of new business opportunities? 

We see wide-open opportunities. None of the client frustrations of the past decade have been meaningfully addressed at scale, and the challenges of 2020 have added a deciding pressure – the "safe" choice is now more readily understood to be the "definition of insanity" choice. If you can't get people to notice you, get you, and remember you, why even bother advertising?


Tell us about the latest work you've released. 

We just helped Tecovas Boots to sell out an entire line of boots in 3 hours. 

We helped Plymouth Rock Insurance launch their first organized branding effort in NY and PA.

We helped Blue Delta jeans take their fantastic custom-tailored jeans online.

We are in the process of launching a new DTC Mattress brand. 


How have you been able to nurture your culture during the pandemic?

If anything, the pandemic has validated our culture. We've worked with autonomy, transparency, collaboration, and mutual respect for so long that the only thing we've noticed is we aren't in the office every day. When a client needs to launch a product or create a new campaign with hundreds of iterations in a week or two without overly elaborate shoots or too extended resources, we're right at home (sometimes literally).