Your attitude is a major driver of your thought patterns, and your thoughts greatly influence your actions, which in turn form your behavior and eventually determines the outcomes in your life. In business we refer to the attitude as culture and we all know that a positive culture does not spontaneously manifest itself.
A negative corporate culture, however, does not need any nurturing and like grotesque weeds they spring up out of nowhere sucking the very life out of the seedlings of the wonderful initiatives that you’ve planted. As they say, culture eats strategy for breakfast every morning.
If it all begins with inspired culture, where does one start? Our role models tell us that it begins with getting everyone to read off the same script in order to create a healthy environment for personal and collective alignment. That script, they say, is the preferred way of thinking, also known as the corporate philosophy.
I like to look at it from two important vantage points, one external and the other internal. Externally we describe the business world that we see evolving around us and use our observations to define our position within it, now and in the future. The direction that we choose is animated by the overused business cliché with an ice hockey metaphor that says that you should ‘skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been’.
Internally we outline the behavior that constantly moves us to that glorious state of being from a deep understanding of the dynamic world that we live in. Our values are distinct from other corporate values because they are not only industry specific, but also engender our unique point of view brought about by our personal experiences.
If the primary value for a hospital’s emergency unit is Speed, and that for a bank is Trust, then what should the core value of an interactive advertising agency be?
We see a world where advertising has evolved from word-of-mouth, to outdoor, to radio, to TV, to the internet and back word-of-mouth, only that the new word-of-mouth is infused with cutting edge communication technology. The way that we experience brands on social media is worlds apart from how we experience them on TV and our creative approach should ultimately reflect this incredible opportunity.
Not only do brands have an opportunity to be present at every moment of people’s lives in an appealing and relevant way, but they also have an opportunity to gather constant feedback that informs their communications and operational strategies. At the end of the day all this activity must empirically strengthen the bottom line, be it quantitatively or qualitatively.
We also know that we have to be genuinely interested in our clients’ brands if we are going to learn about their business with lightning speed and begin to deliver outcomes that will put a smile on the shareholder’s face. The primary value for an interactive agency must be ‘smart’ because we spend a tremendous amount of time combing through the research in order to find insights that unlock growth, and then use that insight to conjure an inspired creative strategy that moves mountains.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither can a holistic corporate culture and we approach our task with thoughtfulness, determination and an atmosphere where we support one another realizing that when we look back at what we have created, it is mostly the relationships that we’ve built that remain with us.