So this month it's our 16th birthday! Yes 16 years of delivering graphics, marketing solutions, branding, print and of course websites.
So the general election came and went, everyone got to vote, everyone had an opinion and we all saw the various parties manifestos. So on the back of the election I thought it would be good to finally publish our own agency’s manifesto, the VIA manifesto. A result of team collaboration, throwing in (and out) the values that make and shape our agency, its foundation and its culture.
So why hasn’t this been done before? After all we help develop branding and values for our clients regularly. The answer is easy, you have to have the right team around you, you have to believe in what they can do and you have to believe that together you can shift change and do better stuff.
Creating a company’s core values can’t be done overnight, sometimes it can take years. Although I’ve been involved with the agency since its inception over 12 years ago, in seeing how our agency has changed over the past few years and the quality of work we produce has fundamentally helped define our values as we continue to flourish as a group and as a company.
The development of our core values is the culmination of an internal shift in the psyche of our organisation. This meant us clearly defining roles and mapping out the brand ethos of VIA systematically to convey more effectively all the good work we do here from the ground up, our values had to engage new starters, placements, existing staff and customers.
Our manifesto is the projection of our core values and brand promise; the true essence of what makes us tick, why we all come to work in the creative industry in the first place, to encapsulate the skill set of our team, to reflect the services we can offer and the value of what this can ultimately deliver for our clients.
Developing our core values and brand promise was no easy task, try sitting down with your colleagues and getting everyone’s thoughts and opinions on how, why and what the company they work for should be delivering for every single task no matter how small. Pulling that together and having it all sit perfectly on the same page is a true test of a working relationship.
Our core values needed to be reflective of the persona of our organisation and as such these need to be set in stone, no not like Ed Milibands monolithic election tombstone, rather more like part of a contract of employment, you stipulate working hours, a salary and your place of business in a contract, it’s an official document and now our employee contracts include our agency’s core values.
So here are our core values and brand promise and why we do what we do everyday:
Without clients we are nothing
I suppose this is a bit obvious but clients are the lifeblood of what we do, finding them, working with them and developing and improving consistently the work we do for them is paramount.
To continue to adapt, learn and develop as a person
Something we should all be doing everyday to help develop personally and professionally.
Quality is foremost
It goes without saying that every job we undertake no matter how small or whatever the value should be given the same consideration, applying quality on every task and job is something that every one of us is tasked with.
Always asking, always questioning, is this the best possible way I can do this? Is this the best solution for this client? Is this the best way we can deliver this project effectively? Questioning everything literally means are we being the best we can be?
We take pride in our work
This represents something all members of our team should deliver, early in my career I was once told by a manager, ‘you’re only as good as your last job’ well I took this another way, that every job I produced had to be good enough that I was proud to show it off, to put my name to it and not just enough to solve the clients problem but good enough to talk about and share.
Build a fun, positive place of work
Culture is an important part of any creative business, having a place of work that the team want to come to everyday to work in, to enjoy and to get a buzz out of. Building this environment takes time, developing the right mix of working environment, client meeting area, chill out area and quiet zone in an open plan studio is no mean feat. However, the pool table is next on the list…
Make life easier for our clients
Clients come to us for solutions to problems, there’s no need to make what we do complicated for a client, this core value effectively means the processes we employ to deliver solutions for clients should be easy to adopt, painless and simple to roll out.
Teamwork makes the dream work
The work we do comes from the brains of the creative team tasked with doing it. However it is vital that the team work well together, sharing issues, concerns and processes to get the best from the collective whole rather than having a bunch of great individuals working independently that deliver inferior results. Keeping the dream alive means the team working together will achieve it quicker.
Listen, digest, wow
A studio process that in turn became a core value. The ability to hear, decipher and ultimately deliver something amazing is a value that we all work to.
Contribute something positive everyday
We come to work to get job satisfaction, to work hard and enjoy what we do and to show colleagues and clients that we are the best at what we do. However sometimes this process can become stale and repetitive, even in a creative environment. So this value was created to engage our team in delivering something of value to the business every single day. Not just in terms of completing our normal, billable jobs and tasks but maybe passing on a positive comment about a colleagues work or idea, a client getting a piece of advice that didnt cost a penny, a suggestion to make the studio processes easier for each other. The definition is infinite and can always evolve but adds to our belief that we should take pride in contributing something positive and of value everyday.
We didn’t stop at our Core Values either, we proceeded to develop a brand promise or mission statement too, resulting in this…
Our Brand Promise
This is what we will deliver, everytime on every project:
We are all about quality. We push boundaries.
In fact, we wrestle boundaries to the ground, rough them up, and then push them again.
We are passionate about creating / building / making.
Our passion is what drives us.
We approach every new challenge head-on, and we are not afraid of good, old fashioned, sleeves-rolled-up hard work in pursuit of excellence.
We are completely invested in each and every project.
We are here to help.
We can be trusted to deliver.
We are VIA.
So, why have we done this? Effectively by setting up strong core values it provides both internal and external advantages to our company, having these core values will help us in our decision-making processes. Our core values will help clarify the identity of our agency and educate our clients, potential customers and suppliers on what VIA is about. In a very competitive market, having a solid set of company values that speak to our audience provides us with an undeniable competitive advantage.