Over two years ago, we wrote a blog post discussing the topic of genuineness in our industry. In a nutshell, the blog summarized our team’s belief that there needs to be a shift in the creative industry. A shift that moved away from a facade of authenticity and focused on creating real connections with open and honest conversations. A shift that develops deeper, more sincere relationships between clients and agencies, coworkers, and directors and their employees, while simultaneously opening the door for more innovation and creativity.
Not to toot our own horns, but we were right. Working and communicating from a more humanistic, genuine approach has proven to strengthen our relationships with our clients, help our team to bond and connect more (even while working 100% remotely), and allowed for more voices to be heard so better ideas can unfold.
How it improved our relationship with clients:
When working with any of our clients (whether they’re new, recurring or returning), we approach each interaction from a place of open, honest, and real communication while still maintaining professionalism and credibility. We don’t know everything about everything – and we don’t claim to. However, we do have expertise in our fields and can see what works (and what doesn’t) from another level. This is where honest conversations come in. We’ve found that discussing projects from a human-to-human perspective creates a real dialogue, as opposed to a one-way information dump. It allows us to genuinely hear our clients while still explaining our thoughts, hearing their ideas, and creating a collaborative and interactive environment. It’s led to developing real friendships and has opened the door for better work to shine through. If we see something isn’t working quite right –even if it wasn’t within the original scope of the project– there is enough trust established that we can make recommendations for improvement without coming across as condescending. In the same breath, we can be honest with our clients if an area is out of our wheelhouse, allowing us to direct them to someone who is better suited instead of letting pride get in the way of quality work.
How it strengthened our team:
We’re really big on creating a safe and genuinely positive work environment. Whether you’re a director or a newbie, your input matters and you deserve to be heard. We made a conscious effort to remove the idea of a traditional workplace hierarchy and celebrate that we all have unique skills that allow us to create great work. Everyone is entitled to ask questions, voice their ideas, and provide input/feedback. Honesty has always been our number one policy, and it’s proven to create more trust, flexibility, and freedom within our workspace. We understand that feedback always comes from a place of constructive improvement and never from a patronizing view. Our safe environment allows everyone to voice their opinions and contribute to our growth and progress. It also allows team members to have genuine conversations with directors without feeling afraid or intimidated. As you may have guessed, this results in more room for creative thinking to be shared, which leads to some pretty cool ideas. It has broken down walls of pride within our work and allowed us to see feedback as a way to enhance our projects, creating even more well-thought-out, well-designed, well-developed, and well-written content.
How it supports our industry:
As we said, we’re big fans of creating genuine connections and relationships with those around us – that includes other agencies and creatives. We steer away from the harsh competitive mindset and focus on genuinely engaging with other industry members. We are always proud of the work we produce, but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate when others produce great work, too. We love acknowledging and celebrating when someone creates a really well-done design or when a company’s personality shines through because an agency aced their brand. By supporting fellow creatives, we hope to contribute to a culture of community rather than competition. We enjoy having authentic conversations about our areas of expertise (we love to nerd out), and we aspire to be as approachable as possible so others feel the same. From our perspective, we all share the common ground of being creatives and that is something to celebrate. If authentic conversations always flowed in a room full of creatives, imagine the ideas that would flourish.
We know we aren’t the heroes of change in our industry – and we don’t pretend to be. However, we do think all progress starts from somewhere and our tiny team can help make a small but meaningful step in the right direction. If creating genuine spaces within our own company sparks ingenuity, imagine what could happen if an entire industry did, too.