In twenty-plus years on the agency side, I’ve been involved in helping identify and promote a point of difference for likely a hundred companies. And, while their offerings have differed vastly, there’s one thing most of those that have been successful have shared – a belief that their culture sets them apart.
Culture is a word tossed around more casually than a Frisbee at a beach. In the nineties it was patterned in the form of a pool or ping-pong table. The early 2000s re-imagined it with work-from-home privileges (coinciding with technical mobility). In the past five years, millennials have helped altruistically paint it the color of idealism, delivered through CSR initiatives and volunteerism.
Scientifically defined, culture is a method of multiplying organisms by letting them reproduce in a predetermined media and in a controlled condition. A company, therefore, analogous to a petri dish, is as likely to breed toxic bacteria as it is the beneficial variety. That’s because culture develops under corporate conditions, often misleadingly characterized by perks and benefits, instead of a cadence of creativity.
Above all then, organizations should culture creativity. Creativity in turn will propagate culture. When members of a team are afforded the opportunity to succeed as well as make mistakes by taking calculated risks and chances, they, along with the business, flourish favorably. That’s the model Hollywood PR is built on and, at the end of the day, what I feel not only enables us to churn out great work, but also retain both clients and employees. And in this business, those are the only true assets.
Building a culture of creativity is an art, not a science. Don’t try to grow it like one by setting up a game room. You’ll lose in the end.