I Wish I Worked There!

Do creative environments really help foster more creativity?

I think so. And so do the authors of I Wish I Worked There.

The author Kursty Groves (with Will Knight and photos by Edward Denison) bills the book as “the first book to go behind the scenes of some of the world’s most famous companies, revealing how they maintain their creative edge.”

Lots of books have been written on the “creative secret sauce” of innovative companies…what intrigues me about this one is the apparent emphasis on physical environment as a big part of their success. (The book comes out in the UK in March, and the States in the Spring).

In the spirit of full disclosure, one of the buildings featured is the Virgin Management offices in the UK. It is quite an extraordinary building. A converted schoolhouse that now boasts a 10 foot high candy tube in the lobby, themed conference rooms around topics like love and space, colorful artwork highlighting the brand’s history on the walls, and candid photos of all the employees when you first walk in.

What Your Holiday Card Says About Your Brand

‘Ti’s the season to send tidings of comfort and joy.

Many companies engage in the practice of sending holiday greetings (print or increasingly emails) to colleagues, clients, partners and prospects.

But what does your holiday card really say about your brand?

After all, it’s not just a card – it’s a communication vehicle.

And whether you intend it to or not, chances are the greeting you send and even how you send it are communicating more about your brand than you originally intended.

One year, while I was working at Virgin management, we decided to do electronic cards (in line with our desire to do right by the planet when we can) and to re-direct the saved postage as a donation to the Branson School of Economics in South Africa.

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We included a bit of a cheeky message on the front of the card (again on brand) but overall we felt the best way to celebrate the real spirit of the holidays during what was a particularly difficult year for many, was to help others.

I am not saying this is the right solution for everyone.  I’m just illustrating that we spent some time thinking about our messaging and treated the card as a piece of branded communication – which ultimately it is.

Here are two other examples of cards that made a brand impression:

The first was from a friend of mine who runs a PR and Communications company called Fraiche.

Her brand is all about fresh ideas and approaches. Her primary color on her website and marketing materials is a bright and vibrant green – a color which supports her can-do personality and that of her company.

Her holiday card really supported her brand point of view.

Zappos and Amazon Sitting in a Tree

Congratulations to the folks at Zappos who have just been acquired by Amazon.

This is a great validation on Zappos’ unwavering focus on customer care – which they passionately describe as “spreading happiness.”

Here is a letter from Zappo’s CEO Tony Hsieh to his employees.

This is one of the best pieces of internal communication I have seen:

– It maintains the unique Zappos’ tone of voice, even when discussing “corporate stuff” like deal terms
– It addresses employees top questions/concerns head on
– It presents the new “Uber boss” (Jeff Bezos) in a friendly, informative, and visual way

Zappos is a great example of a company that really “walks the talk”, staying true to their brand promise and personality in all aspects of everything they do.

That’s my point of view. What’s your twist?
What do you think of this deal?

The Personal/Professional Brand Gap

What happens when there is a gap between your personal and professional brands?

Lately there’s been a lot of buzz (and no doubt a fair amount of confusion)about the concept of personal brand.

The best definition I have found so far is from BNET Business Dictionary that defines “Personal Brand” as “the public expression and projection of an individuals identity, personality, values, skills and abilities”.

And while there is a recognition that the personal and professional brands are separate entities, I think they should at least work in sync.

Here are a few examples of personal and professional brand gaps: