Following the success of the inaugural team curry day last year, last week the gaffa’s mum, Nirmal treated us to another gorgeous dish – a delicious homemade chicken saag. Once again we all got together at lunch time to tuck into our Indian feast, and once again I found myself thinking about our company culture…
This September marks five years since I became a ramarketing employee, and it’s safe to say I’ve seen the agency change massively in that time.
In the early days, it was just me and the gaffa in our little office, sipping on Nespresso coffee and eating Sports Mixture. We’d get excited when our contractors would pop in for a meeting so we could catch up with them in person. Team meetings would always result in one too many after an impromptu night out.
Fast-forward to today and we’ve got a 30+ strong team across two offices. Now we’re at the point where we’re talking about our ‘culture’ more and more and the importance of protecting and nurturing it as we grow.
The truth is though, there was no master plan to create our company culture, it just happened. But it has grown and evolved both in nature and importance as the ramarketing team has grown.
But isn’t that the way it should be? You don’t create a set of values for your brand, first you figure out what makes your product and your staff different, and what you stand for, then capture this and tell the world.
In fact, we’ve just updated our values. The behaviours and capabilities we aspire to live and breathe…
Last year we were a smaller, more close-knit family. Now it feels like we’ve changed. We’re bigger and more robust. And truth be told, I felt that some of the old culture had been lost. I wondered where does eating mum’s curry fit in? Does it fit in at all?
And I’ve come to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter.
And this is why.
As company culture evolves naturally, it is by definition subject to change and being questioned. Reviewing values every now and again to make sure they still fit the business and being open to change is important.
If you try to enforce values as a set of restrictive rules, where everything ‘not on brand’ is discounted, rather than an aspirational mindset, people will feel inhibited by them.
Given that we’re marketers and we help shape brands, it’s important for us to practice what we preach and communicate our values and culture well. But it’s more important to acknowledge that these can and should change.
To me, the thing that underpins our culture is our people.
As Belinda Carlilse sang: “We dream the same thing | We want the same thing | And all that we need is to | See it together”. Credit to Matt for that reference – think that might have been before my time, but it’s still fitting.
The ramarketing team has always seen it together. But the business has grown and with new people comes new ideas, opinions, skills and personal values. These should be embraced as sometimes, they help shape the future of the company.
Here’s to the next five years of our canny culture (and hopefully more team curry days).