Xfinity Creative reimagines the agency model and exceeds saving targets by 3x

Creating a new model rooted in innovation

Xfinity Creative is a phenom — they’re an award-winning, very young, and very successful creative agency. But what adds real heft to their accolades is the context in which the agency was born. Tasked with helping to pull together a creative team capable of fulfilling market giant Comcast’s creative asset demands, Ephraim Gerard Cruz, director of operations and software initiatives lead for Xfinity Creative, knew he and his fellow leaders had their work cut out for them when they were told the agency would need to be completely remote.

March 2020 COVID-19 pandemic lockdown mandates meant the launch team had to think on their feet — not only about how to build robust digital workflows in the cloud, but also how to create a collaborative, creative team environment that top talent would want to be a part of. They leaned into cultivating a cohesive agency culture that would help creatives do their best work and then keep the team connected as pressure to perform grew.

“We knew we needed to focus on the culture from the start — culture has the single greatest impact on an agency’s bottom line,” says Cruz.

There was an immediate need to reimagine agency life and develop new ways of working. “The majority of our team members came from strong agency traditions where meeting up, going out to events, collaborating in meeting rooms, and going over ideas in person was the only way to do good work,” Cruz says, “so finding ways to fill that void was a huge challenge.”

At first, the leadership team thought they could create online iterations of that traditional agency culture — just take what had worked for past teams and give it a digital spin. “We were trying to replace remote culture with what worked traditionally, but we saw pretty quickly that working remotely was not the same as working in-office,” says Cruz.

They had to start thinking differently and began experimenting with an updated remote meeting etiquette, hosting different types of virtual events, and emphasizing the importance of mental health. “As we scaled and added more team members, there was a need for different culture-driven initiatives, which resulted in a ton of learning and educating,” Cruz says.

A different work environment wasn’t the largest hurdle, however. Encouraging a mindset shift proved to be a greater challenge, says Cruz. “We needed to get the team to look at remote and hybrid not only as the future of work but the future of living.”

The leaders got clear about their vision for team culture. “To me, a great team culture is really enjoying the people you spend your time with and having respect for each other’s work, which ultimately drives success for any business,” Cruz says. “A great work-life balance needs to exist first to support a positive mindset as that directly impacts our work and our customer experience.”

Those first few months were spent feverishly assembling a centralized, seamless toolkit in Adobe Workfront for the creative distributed team. This effort met two vital goals — to facilitate the successful remote production and delivery of high-quality creative work, and to make that workflow as effortless and automated for the team as possible. This savvy consideration for both workflow efficiency and employee happiness has paid huge dividends in terms of team investment and loyalty. “Since our inception, we’ve had an 89% retention rate of full-time employees within Xfinity Creative.” This rate of retention is all the more striking when set against a backdrop of unprecedented Great Resignation turnover.

A graph shows that the retention rate of full-time employees since their inception is 89%.

Assembling a workflow powerhouse

Though Xfinity Creative has exceeded expectations in almost every way, the startup didn’t necessarily hit the ground running in terms of process. “The biggest pain point we needed to address initially was reworking ineffective existing systems and processes — there were all kinds of issues to sort out, from data gaps to the need to scale,” says Cruz. “Before Workfront, we were double and even triple booked for one-off training and onboarding meetings, which was exhausting. Our project intake conversations only lived in emails and chats, which meant dealing with silos and things getting lost in translation.”

To avoid decentralized and inefficient workflows, the new agency needed something more integrated, unified, and accessible to distributed team members. “Where Comcast was end-deliverable-focused, we needed the ability to track and report in real time. Xfinity Creative’s workflows needed to be not only compliant with Comcast’s existing enterprise suite of tools — we needed to prioritize support of virtual and hybrid creative collaboration,” says Cruz.

Workfront played a crucial role in all aspects of successfully standing up the agency. Onboarding and training became smooth, consistent, and more than twice as fast — slimming down the process from five days to two with the new approach.

Up-to-the-minute data collection and reporting were also a high priority for the growing team. Cruz built dashboards at key points within the leadership of the organization that communicated real-time data. “Big data is great, but fast data is actually way more impactful when we can get real-time accuracy,” Cruz says.

Xfinity Director of Operations Ephraim Gerard Cruz said that before Workfront, his team was overbooked for training and meetings.

Delivering a lasting impact

By relying on powerful integrations to do much of the heavy administrative lifting, the small creative startup saw first-year growth beyond their wildest expectations.

Xfinity Creative has built a talented, cohesive, highly collaborative remote agency whose team members are happy to report they won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. And if evidence is needed to prove that investing in culture really can impact the bottom line, the numbers speak for themselves. Xfinity Creative exceeded their external agency fee savings goals by 300% in their first year without compromising creative excellence — and per internal employee surveys, workplace satisfaction has doubled since 2021.

External agency fee savings goals exceed by 300% in their first year.

“My hope is that everyone on the team continues to bring the positivity we’ve cultivated here into other parts of their life to encourage healthy living all around,” says Cruz. “We strive to create a supportive culture where it’s not solely about the work, but everything in between too.”