Promoting Brand Connection and Authenticity in the Face of a 365-day Disruptor
Alexei Orlov knew the year was 2020. It was supposed to be ‘the year of perfect vision.’ With hindsight (which is always 20/20) noted, this was the year that the future would become clear to us now and allow us the ability to peer confidently into 2020 to help chart our pathway through the incoming year. On January 1st, we, the people, marched, clear-eyed, into 2020 only to find that March would play out more like a nightmare, flushing our hope of this year’s more transparent future vision turn, in an instant, into this blurry new reality. No one was immune from this global astigmatism, and no one would be able to escape it.
Alexei Orlov and MTM Prepare to Pandemic
COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, swept across the eastern seaboard and thrashed New York City first. The pandemic initially left us all blind to our new reality today and without hope of seeing the possibilities of tomorrow or the next. For many, COVID stripped employment from their daily routine. For all, the inside of whichever shoebox you call home in NYC became the monotonous backdrop to a promising year turned 365-day disruption that most of us wished would simply vanish into thin air immediately.
While many disappeared during lockdown time waiting for tomorrow to come and rescue us, Alexei Orlov, founder and CEO of MTM and a seasoned global marketer and brand strategy pioneer, looked at 2020 and the collective isolation experienced by so many and, with a sense of immediate reflection as if just returning from the future, asked those he loved, his colleagues at MTM and every brand that his company represented to make a different choice.
Alexei Orlov’s MTM
Alexei Orlov founded MTM in 2017. MTM is a network of four unique agencies with offices in five major cities worldwide, each offering their expertise to a collective of more than 160 clients all over the world. Each agency on the MTM roster, Alexei Orlov, specifically acquired, not only for the exceptional work each was displaying, but precisely due to the value add Orlov and MTM bring to the partnership specifically through strategic, operational, and financial guidance.
The four agencies that work independently but benefit from living under the MTM umbrella as a single unit assisting each other in their efforts to progress are:
- Sub Rosa, the brand strategy agency
- Local Project, the globally recognized and rewarded experience and media design firm
- Camron, the premier PR agency catering to world-famous architects and design firms
- Nom, a video advertising platform
As you can see, these four non-competing creative agencies that make-up MTM’s portfolio are complementary in their support for one another. The agencies work in concert to ensure success for one another, giving their brands the tools needed to maintain relevance in the moments that matter (MTM). For Alexei Orlov and his leadership team, there had never been a moment so unique, so unprecedented, so terrifying, and so adventurous as what loomed in front of them in the beginning months of 2020. Orlov has had a varied and successful career highlighted by his leadership successes at Omnicom, Volkswagen Group China, and Wunderman, among others; saw a unique opportunity to focus and grow MTM through the uncertain pandemic times by ensuring that his teams were equipped and prepared to battle the rugged emotional and professional terrain that he believed lay ahead of them for the unforeseeable future.
Choosing to Connect and Reconnect
Alexei Orlov called on those around him to ask themselves the question, ‘Where were you when the world was lonely?’ With one foot planted firmly in the center of the challenges of today, Alexei summoned those lucky enough to remain employed to examine the possibility of giving a little more and taking a little less. With the other foot and to model behavior he hoped to see from those who worked with him and from the brands he represented, Alexei Orlov took one massive symbolic step forward. He was urging everyone to continue to find ways to progress in this motionless moment for so many others less fortunate scattered across the world.
Alexei Orlov did what a decorated creative strategist and expert operational business leaders do best from his quiet home in Connecticut: he strategized and led. Orlov knew that everyone had a very real choice in the thick of this battered year to give in and fade into loneliness or to use this year as a moment of welcomed introspection and retrospection. He petitioned MTM colleagues to take inventory of their daily working actions and take stock of all they do that they simply do not have to do. With so much time for self-reflection and focused awareness on oneself, many extraneous habits that before went unnoticed might register with a person and if not needed, could be eliminated from their repertoire of activity to save time for that which is truly important. He wanted to show everyone at MTM that this was a time to do less and, in turn, do so much more.
Alexei Orlov knew that while most were crawling into their shells, MTM and the brands they represented had the opportunity to act out in the face of this pandemic and choose to do the opposite. MTM and those in league with the still only 2.5-year-old business were urged by their leader to reach out and connect and reconnect. Person to person, brands to their people, MTM people with their brands, and so on; all choosing authentic connections in this unprecedented time where we have nothing but time.
Alexei Orlov Inspires Authenticity and Leadership
With our collective pace having slowed, Alexei Orlov urged his colleagues and clients to use this time to act more deliberately. Orlov challenged them to allow space for thoughtful connections to generate new layers of human and brand authenticity. Whether it be his company, the brands that they represent, or every person that works in association with both, what was an unprecedented time of loss and loneliness, instead has become a year to connect and grow, learning more while doing less. 2020 was now a year to reshape and refocus in order to redesign and redefine brand and business authentically and in an effort to reflect the new world we all now live in. MTM and its brands continued to stay relevant and move in step with the even more formidable and shifting pandemic landscape.
Alexei believes that his company and the brands represented are more authentic and thoughtful today than ever before, focused more on foundational data to ensure that MTM is appropriate in what they say and do and with the recommendations given to every brand on their roster. The numbers support Orlov’s beliefs. MTM is on track to have its best year in 2020, projecting to earn roughly $3 million with expectations of easily doubling those earnings in 2021. Brand authenticity and consistent connection are wonderful ways to strengthen partner and client relationships and show to be very friendly to the business’ bottom line at the same time.
Alexei Orlov and MTM Will Lead the Way
When the day comes that this world is past the worst of the pandemic and people resume more normal daily routines, Alexei Orlov knows that everyone who hid and waited out the pandemic alone will emerge and want to know ‘where everyone else was while the world was lonely.’ For Alexei Orlov and the extended MTM community of brands, words won’t answer that question. The answers will show through the authentic and progressive changes made due to consistent connecting and reconnecting in this time where most have chosen to withdraw into inactivity. MTM and its brands will shine like beacons announcing to the rest of the world that it is time to follow in their footsteps and begin living, connecting, and finding their new authentic selves once again.
MTM is a global marketing and communications holding group underpinned by its own proprietary technologies. Our portfolio of individual creative companies specialize in relevant cultural, social, and audience intelligence, creative strategies, experience design, content creation, production, and media deployment. Our clients across the globe recognize us as best-in-class for the work we do; in just the past few years, we have won collectively over 150+ accolades and awards.
MTM currently has four agencies, including Local Projects, Camron PR, Sub Rosa, and NOM, servicing over 120 clients across the globe. Currently, we have offices in New York City, London, Los Angeles, Milan, and Shanghai. We have developed and launched two proprietary, AI-driven technologies – NOMads and Empath.io – to further augment our agencies’ service capabilities.
About Alexei Orlov
With experience spanning 30 years, 40 countries, and 50 brands, Alexei Orlov has made life his business and business his life as a seasoned leader in Global Marketing. A proven specialist in global brand strategy, marketing deployment, and operational change management, Alexei’s passionate and dynamic leadership has been a driving force throughout his career.
Alexei Orlov is the Founder and Global CEO of MTM choice, a boutique network of skilled practitioners specializing in high-precision brand activation and media optimization. Bolstered by market-enabling technologies, mtm agencies seek to help brands excel at the “moments that matter” for their customers and consumers.