Tag: values

11Mar

Purpose and Values: 2014 Edition (Part Two)

The power of purpose

And now, after a couple months’ worth of crazy work deadlines and 18-hour days, here is our Part Two. Finally! I can’t complain, we love doing what we do, and the realities are that sometimes clients have immutable deadlines. It’s been a nice week so far, enjoying a bit of downtime at SXSW while we spin up for new projects.

Our Purpose and Values:

Our corporate side of things exists to do great work for good clients that fulfills and exceeds their expectations and baselines, while making a fair profit.

Great Work
We’re not interested in doing crappy work. We get calls all the time from clients who want us to cut corners. We will not. Everything we do reflects upon us, and short-term gain for putting out garbage work never ends up well (for the client, or for us). What we love is making films that tell stories which educate, entertain, and inspire your audience to action. Every project we do has to be done well.

Good Clients
We choose our clients carefully, as the kind of work we do tends to reflect upon us. We don’t need to always agree with everything our clients say, but we certainly will not work with a client who comes across as ‘evil’. What this means is, we will do work for clients who may not be perfectly aligned with our values, but who believe in what they do, and want to make this world a better place. We’ve worked with clients from a multitude of religious, political, and social differences. But if all a company is about is greed, or screwing people over as part of their business plan, or hurting others, then no thank you.

Fulfilling and Exceeding Expectations
Not every project we do has to win an ADDY. But everything we do needs to meet our clients’ needs and beyond. We exist to wow our clients and to give them the tools to help them further their causes.

A Fair Profit
We charge a fair price. We don’t gouge our clients, but we demand and deserve a profit from every project we do that isn’t pro-bono. Our prices are quite a good value compared to other video agencies of similar stature, but we don’t respond well to potential clients who try to lowball us or compare apples to oranges: we are a world-class video agency, not a couple of kids with DSLRs right out of film school. We take on projects that help our clients grow their businesses in a major way. That requires mutual respect, and part of that is charging a fair price for the work.

 

 

 

 

22Jan

Purpose and Values: 2014 Edition (Part One)

The power of purpose

Cool image by net_efekt

I’ve always been about purpose and values. I act in an ethical way, and I expect the same from our team and our clients. When I started my first company, it was with an almost intuitive sense of purpose and values. It was never just about the money, it was about creating cool stuff that delighted people, and that made a difference, too. This ad-hoc approach mostly worked throughout my 20s, but time goes on, and things change. For instance, my shop has grown in size and geographically, and continues to grow as we add strong teammates. And we are constantly approached by potential clients of all kinds, asking us to be involved in their businesses. The old ad-hoc approach from my 20s wasn’t cutting it, anymore. It became time to codify what we do, and why we do it. I wrote a post about that, and it really helped my team focus on what’s important to us, and it helped drive our decisions for the company.

It was fantastic, and quite helpful.

Well, it’s been a few years since my original post about purpose and values. It’s time for a redo, it’s time for an update. Founding father Thomas Jefferson suggested the need for a revolution every 20 years. I tend to agree, although this isn’t quite a revolution, but more of an evolution.

I’ve been thinking about this post since our work with PepsiCo, as their ‘Performance With Purpose’ is such a driving force for their business. It feels like companies who have strong, codified values tend to do better at the things that matter. As we’ve grown, it’s become incredibly important to me that everyone here knows what we’re about. It’s important that potential clients do, too.

I’ve recently been involved in another company’s efforts to create their own purpose and values program, as the director of their company video. Unfortunately, as the project progressed it became clear that this company didn’t ‘walk the walk’ with their values (and they really weren’t 100% sure what those values were, either). It was all just words to them, calculated to extract incredible loyalty and instill fear among employees. The company practices management by intimidation.

It made me really think. ‘We can’t be blamed for what happened’, I thought ‘How could we have known?’. Well, in fact, there were a few red flags in preproduction that I ignored: 1) they tried to lowball us, and only grudgingly accepted a fair project price, 2) they insisted on splitting the project into two videos instead of one great one, and 3) my initial dealings with the CEO and his minion made me feel a little icky inside, from his sportscar parked across 3 parking spaces, to the minion being insanely late to our kickoff meeting, at a purposefully-snooty locale.

At the time, we were just opening one of our studios, and we didn’t have much local work, yet. I ignored the red flags, and we went in full speed ahead- even when they started making adjustments to our working relationship, ignoring their part of the contract while insisting that we follow every word on our end.

Thus began my re-education about the importance of a strong, well-thought-out purpose and values manifesto. We needed- I needed- a roadmap, updated to our current business realities, that could guide us in our day-to-day dealings with clients, as well as in our more long-term decision making. We needed to revisit the core of our business, and figure out what we’re really all about. And we needed to refocus ourselves so that we can identify both good and bad opportunities, before it was too late. It’s easy to get caught up in the craziness of day-to-day life in a creative agency, and miss out on the chance to not just do cool stuff, but to do the right cool stuff. To create work that delights, and work that makes a difference. And furthermore, to build a company that radiates these values so brightly that it attracts the good, and discourages the bad.

Every company, nay, every individual should take the time to occasionally think about- and write down- their own purpose and values statement.  Next time, I’ll share our company’s shiny new purpose and values manifesto with you.

 

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