Speak with anyone whose built a website, and they’ll tell you that the process is one part creative exercise and one part labor of love – with a dash of self-reflection thrown into the mix.
When we started our own firm’s website redesign, we approached the process with a blank canvas, much the same way we work with clients. We realized early on that, just like our clients, we also had a story to tell and that our new website would be a platform for doing just that.
But most of all, our site is a window into how we work – how we communicate our clients’ stories; how we build integrated public relations, marketing and digital media campaigns that engage target audiences; and how we create, strengthen and protect brands.
Our site also provides a glimpse into our company culture, so we took a step back and used the redesign process as an opportunity to do some soul searching.
After twelve years in business, we got our team of 17 together in a room and set out to define our brand. It was a free-flowing process, and before long we had arrived at a set of seven core values – guiding principles that define who we are and what we stand for as a firm:
Go Beyond the Obvious: Everyone has a soft spot a good story, but the holy grail of branding is cutting through the clutter and making a meaningful connection with an audience. It’s an art form that we practice every day. Like a good journalist chasing a story and uncovering the unexpected, we take ideas and enrich them with depth, timeliness and context. The result is newfound relevance and excitement surrounding our clients and their brands.
Relationships Matter: Loyalty and longevity are pillars of our firm. We’re proud that our clients and our managers have been with us for an average of more than 7 years. We also enjoy strong relationships with the media and other companies in our field. By staying connected and ‘in the know’ with what’s happening in the community, in the news, and across our core sectors, we’re able to shape the narrative surrounding our clients and their industries in a timely and compelling way.
Brutal Honesty: Setting realistic expectations and preserving open, honest lines of communication is critical to everything we do. We are counselors who provide guidance; we aren’t order takers. In other words, we tell clients what they need to hear – not what they want to hear – even when the truth stings a bit. Closer to home, we are always candid with one another, constantly pushing each other and holding our colleagues to a high standard.
Connect with Communities: Our firm is embedded in the fabric of communities across Florida. We encourage each other to become involved with non-profits, professional groups, and causes we believe in. Over the years, we’ve had the privilege of working with organizations that are changing our community for the better. Among them are Lotus House, Friends of WLRN, Developing Minds Foundation, City Year Miami, The Children’s Movement of Florida, and many more. We’re proud of these relationships, and we know this list will grow with time.
Stay Open Minded: JFK put it best when he said, “change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” Our industry is evolving at warp speed, and it’s our job to keep our clients (and ourselves) ahead of the curve. We’re always embracing new ways of doing things, new technologies, and new methods for storytelling. And we’ve seen first-hand how keeping an open mind can transform good ideas into great ones.
Listen Carefully, Counsel Thoughtfully: We make a habit of becoming personally invested in our clients’ businesses and industries, but we don’t have all the answers. The best relationships are the ones where we mine our clients for information, and then create a campaign that supports a well-defined set of business goals. Whether we’re launching a brand, tapping into a new audience, or managing through a crisis, we always begin in listening mode before devising our plan of attack.
Take Action and Stay Hungry: The Most Interesting Man in the World has charged us with staying thirsty (and he’s got a helluva story), but success in our line of business means staying hungry. We’ve enjoyed steady growth over the years thanks to longtime relationships with our clients, but we don’t settle for the status quo. We’re always in the hunt for new ideas and pushing ourselves to excel. Enjoying the work we do and believing in our clients is all the motivation we need.
Defining our core values opened our eyes to the fact that our culture and our brand are actually one in the same.
Our shared work ethic, the traits we look for in our people, and the expectations that we’ve set for each other are all part of our company’s DNA and form the foundation of our brand.
Now we begin the work of telling our story.