When a company starts talking about values and mission statements, it makes us cringe a little. These are things that usually live in HR manuals and the occasional company-wide memo—generic values masked in corporate speak or lofty ideas that sound nice but are rarely put into practice. At Column Five, we prefer to keep it real. Everything we are, everything we do, and everything we work toward is encapsulated in our simple Five Columns: Do Good Work, Value Our Partners, Be Good to Each Other, Be Humble and Experiment Often.
The Five Columns aren’t just sentiments we mention because they sound nice; they are deeply rooted in our core and culture, practiced by each of us daily. They live on our walls, serving as a guide to keep us in check and on the right path. In the Five Columns series, we offer insight into each column. In this post, we examine our second column: Value Our Partners.
Each of our Five Columns is featured on a different wall in C5’s California headquarters.
As communicators, we believe in the power of language. The words you choose reflect and inform your beliefs and shape your actions. That is why we don’t have clients; we have partners. From the beginning, we’ve been uncomfortable with the traditional agency-client dynamic. It’s often distant and segmented, with the agency functioning as a gun-for-hire to a client sending directives from some mysterious headquarters. Creativity can’t really flourish without collaboration. We consider the brands we work with to be partners in the process, from kick-off call through completed project.
Cultivating this type of relationship fosters respect on both sides. Although we’re experts in design and visual content and can help our partners communicate what they need, we are not so arrogant as to think we know everything. By approaching each project as a partnership, both sides can contribute our unique talents to ensure we work together to create something that everyone’s proud of.
Certainly, conflict and frustration can arise: a tight deadline, a miscommunication, a concept that just isn’t working. But we believe in working through these challenges to nurture a strong partnership. It helps us do better work that gets better results and, hopefully, a chance to work together again.
We genuinely appreciate and value our partners for giving us the chance to do what we love. At the end of the day, they are the ones who keep the lights on and Spotify tunes playing. And we never forget that.
In the next Five Columns post: Be Good to Each Other. (Read more about our first column: Do Good Work.)
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