How OPIN Digital Created a Pandemic-Proof Business Plan


Months before COVID-19 became a generalized pandemic, the OPIN Digital team made the decision to switch to a new business model – a move that would help the company weather the ups and downs of the economy pandemic.

Their new approach was called “Business Planning During Tough Times”.

Full of strategies, tactics, approaches and key principles to follow in the event of a pandemic, this was something that had not been done since OPIN started ten years ago.

OPIN is a growing global digital communications agency based in the Ottawa area. The team helps its clients – comprised primarily of government, healthcare and higher education institutions – to communicate or reach their audiences through digital channels.

OPIN uses open technology, which they believe to be the “special sauce” for the business and a draw for their customers.

Once the pandemic became a certainty, as a business, OPIN wanted to continue operating in a manner aligned with its top priorities, even in the midst of an economic city center.

“We have pivoted and changed as a company and our culture has changed,” says Chris Smith, CEO of OPIN Digital.

At the heart of the company’s approach are three fundamental values:

1. Preserving the health of our employees, their families and those close to them

2. Improve financial stability in the hope of avoiding unnecessary layoffs of employees

3. Provide assistance to our partners, governments and communities

OPIN continued to use these priorities to guide them through the pandemic and used them as the basis for their new corporate structure.

To date, OPIN has undergone three major business transformations as part of its new business plan:

First transformation – Stabilizing operations towards a “new normal”

Until recently, OPIN had physical offices in New York and Ottawa. The company on the site has permanently installed teleworking as part of its transformation.

“It was our new normal,” says Smith.

Home technologies were adopted and new team structures were put in place – including the need to reinvent the social and “water cooler” aspects of the workplace, which they previously took for granted. OPIN has seen a 30 percent increase in production since these changes were made, Smith says.

Transformation 2 – An Expanded Talent Pool and a Distributed Global Workforce

By becoming a completely off-site company, OPIN is able to operate without borders, which has opened up access to greater talent for them and enabled them to expand 25 percent of their workforce to l outside of Canada.

Instead of being confined to areas close to their offices, they have now spread across the United States, Mexico and India to find the right people for the job. They also created new policies promoting diversity, equity and the inclusion of cultural differences such as flexible vacations.

Third transformation – Differentiate the company through innovation

What set OPIN apart from other similar brands during the pandemic was that they quickly understood the truth they needed to play offensively, not just defense.

From the start, they planned to “iron out” their competitive advantage by investing in R&D with accelerator technologies and successfully implemented two software as a service (SaaS) products named Activate and Freeflow.

Thanks to their innovative planning, OPIN recovered in June 2021, rebounding to levels it saw in February 2020 – exceeding sales targets for the year.

To learn more about OPIN Digital or the range of services it offers, visit

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