The We Book

Posted in: , - Jun 19, 2010 Comments Off

Following the guidance of external business consultants, Frame, a creative advertising agency in Glasgow, Scotland was advised to create an internal “Rule Book”.

This internal communications piece developed into external marketing communications and branding as well as winning awards and kudos from within the advertising community and from clients.

This project involved more time and money than would be reasonable for the smaller companies that I help today, but I share this as an example of how teamwork can drive the power of communications – and because I like to tell the story.

The problem:

For a number of reasons including new staff arrivals and open working policies, the business consultants recommended that to avoid workplace conflict a “Rule Book” should be developed that would define how staff would be expected to work with and respect each other.

The solution:

Bring a group of people from different areas of the business together and allow them to bash about what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour. My role was to chair the committee, unite the group in developing and agreeing the “rules”, and to eventually manage the production of the (not yet determined) finished product.

The result:

This turned out to be one of the most interesting projects I’ve ever been a part of and I’m sure everyone at Frame at the time would agree. The meetings quickly became focussed and full of excitement as the team moved the project from ‘The Rule Book’ to ‘The Bible’ to ‘The Ten Commandments’ to realising that none of that represented ‘Us’.

The final project concept was eventually presented to the managing director, Alan Frame, who immediately realised the benefit and potential and provided the budget to “throw everything at it”.

The resulting ‘We’ book is a very simple list of statements that define the company culture under four (two-part) headings: ‘We are” and ‘We’re not’…’We do’ and ‘We don’t'…’We like’ and ‘We don’t like’ and finally ‘We want’ and ‘We don’t want’.

The magic really started to happen with design, when creative ideas – that had real meaning to all of the staff – created visual “rules”. With clever use of typesetting and simple illustrations of actual employees, the ‘We’ book started doing its job and delivering it’s message very clearly. There wasn’t a sole in the agency that wasn’t excited by the project. Everyone in the company became involved and all stood proudly behind every word written.

We want results.We don't want to be inefficient.

Tasked with managing print production and facing no less than 28 different processes including blind embossing, die-cutting, varnishes and book-binding I can’t say that this job was inexpensive. With every eye in an advertising agency watching the quality of your work, the real trick in producing this project was working effectively and professionally with reliable, quality suppliers.

Copies of the finished book were presented to every employee. Copies were given to every potential employee.
One little book actually united the company’s entire team.

We want to go home at a reasonable hour.We don't want to burn out.

The book started to be shared externally with clients and potential clients. It’s concept contributed to new account wins. The design carried over to sales presentation covers and office signage. Excerpts were printed on the backs of stationery and a set of 4 different business cards was produced for every employee, including the cleaner. Everyone became a proud company ambassador. It won awards!

The forward to the book simply reads “A little book about a little word that makes a big difference. We.” It certainly did make a difference.

Should we get the chance to meet in person, ask me to bring along my copy.

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