By Ferdinand L. Bondoy
They say when a business hits its 7th year, it has graduated from being a start-up and it would now be unstoppable. Now, we celebrate our 7th anniversary dubbed as #COMCOepic7years and we have beaten the odds that 8 out of 10 start-ups fail! (And imagine if you’re in an industry like ours where cutthroat competition is a norm, this is a sorcery!) We are now part of the successful and magical 2 in the ratio!
Some colleagues in and out of the industry expressed amazement in what we’ve accomplished and what we’ve been doing in COMCO, and I was asked, “How did you do it”? How did a start-up seven years ago defied the odds, has transformed into a group of companies, and even opened up its branch in the Middle East and Africa headquartered in cosmopolitan Dubai, right at the middle of the pandemic?
How did I crack the code?
As some may not appreciate a spiritual (but definitely true) response that it’s leap of faith and God’s grace and direction in the path I took in my craft or career, I looked back at my journey to trace the part I actually did (because I am really just an instrument) that brought us to where we are right now.
It all started in the desire to build and take care of a team.
At a young age, I’ve always been like that, I find joy and fulfillment in creating and nurturing teams, in grooming underdogs with so much potential, and in proving people wrong – in the neighborhood, church, school, anywhere, and lead them to the surprise wins of their lives! (That’s why my favorite movies are Dead Poets Society, Mighty Ducks, haha).
In my 1st jobs, in the corporate environment, I’ve always been in situations where I was a one man team and with that, as part of my DNA, I guess, I’ve always aspired to having or building my own. I’ve always longed for having my own team when I entered the professional scene back then. So, when I finally moved to the agency world, which I think has been my calling all along (as I like handling dynamic, multi-industry, multi-brand and multi-touchpoint projects), in what I consider as my work alma mater, I somehow was able to build one (Hello to my former padawan turned Jedi master / business partner / lifelong friend like family, Tricia “Tunek” Cusi-Jimenea!) but sadly, it’s short lived. And in the other agency which I was also a part of, I experienced an unlikely environment at the local office and it became a big challenge for me to take care of my people. As I barely got any support back then, I did things (and spent on my own!) to be able to train, lead and cultivate the team. I did my best but it was really a challenge.
The desire to be able to work again with my former and work alma mater team, to not waste talents to bad organizations, to give the amazing young people I meet along the way the best work environment they deserve and could ever ask for, and of course to finally build and nurture my real and lifelong best team ever, brought me to the idea of co-founding and building COMCO. Now, with COMCO, I can lead, care for, and grow my team the best way I can, the best way possible.
And that’s the secret – it’s all about the team. My desire to creating a great team turned to a relentless goal to building a unique company that any amazing talent would dream to be part of – a creativity playground, a safe zone with a team that got your back, a craftsmanship vessel that will push forward our dreams and bring us to places, figuratively and literally. For you to have a great team, you need to have the right company, like a second home, for these talents. So all our efforts are anchored on this love for the team. All the rewards, tangible and not, are fruits of this endeavor.
In 7 years, we are now 50 strong in COMCO Mundo League of Enterprises which is composed of COMCO Southeast Asia – New PR and Smart Social, COMCO Middle East and Africa Marketing Services, TARO AOX Digital + Integrated Communications, SEA Wave Pop Culture Studio, Camp COMCO Alumni Society, and Citizen COMCO Advocacy Movement. In addition, now, we have handled a total of 100 brands, have garnered 150 awards in the Philippines and across the globe, and have produced 110 amazing graduates from our long-running and award-winning Camp COMCO Mentorship Program.
And with the exponential growth of COMCO, the individuals behind the team are also moving up, and the company makes sure that no one is left behind. As we celebrate our epic 7 years, our compensation and benefits package for our people underwent an upgrading which includes health card benefits extended to dependents, leave conversion, accumulated leaves for critical illness and long-term hospitalization, group insurance, wellness allowance, hybrid and semi-flexible work reporting, retirement fund, overseas team travel, stock options, and partnership and leadership opportunities, among others, and this can be considered as among the most comprehensive in the industry.
Our 7th Anniversary celebration is dubbed as #COMCOepic7years because it has been truly an epic journey for #ourCOMCOsquadron, as we call our team. When we reached our 5th year in 2021, we thought we’ve done it all but as they say, we were just entering the most exciting part. We are rolling out this year the second phase of our 10-year masterplan and there’s still a lot in the pipeline, to be unveiled very soon.
We push the boundaries, we don’t rest on our laurels and we always think what’s next, and we never stop exploring and growing, because we are committed to taking care of the team, realizing, pursuing and furthering our dreams, writing our stories together, and of course, having fun doing the impossible!
And the rest as they say is history but it’s history that created a different timeline and a new universe for these geniuses, the COMCOys, behind #ourCOMCOsquadron.
That, in a nutshell, is my part, that is how I cracked the code.
Mr. Ferdinand L. Bondoy is the Group Chief Executive Director and Lead Strategic Communications Counsel / Partner and Co-Founder of COMCO Southeast Asia and COMCO Mundo League of Enterprises.