Agency values.


In the
beginning.

The first draft of these values was written when Lavender first opened its doors in August 1997. Graeme McCorkill, one of the UK's most visionary marketers and under whom I worked for quite a few years, suggested I take a day out to write values for the business. At the time I thought I was too busy. As it turned out, it was the best thing I ever did. I've lost track of the times that staff have said they appreciate Lavender's values and, more importantly, that we live by them.

What I thought would take a day actually took several days. I gathered thoughts and notes from my experiences, together with my ideas and vision for the environment that I wanted Lavender to be, and put them together in a Word document that ended up on the website. Somehow, those type written pages form part of what you are reading now.

I have changed over the past 16 years and so has the business and the temptation is to change the values too. To make them more sexy. But I am leaving them largely as they are because we have never altered our course. We have always stood for a few simple things and we still do.

Most talented people I know are control freaks. So, it's not management responsibility to pave the road for its talented staff, but to provide them with a road map. That's how I hope you will use these heart and mind reflections.

I read years ago that passion is 90% of success. I now believe this more than ever. Passionate people have the energy to look under more stones and to solve problems with new or better ways.

People buy from people who love what they do.

Will Lavender
Founder

Put consumer
self-interest first.

People in this industry say they put consumers first, but they don't really. From day one, Lavender was built around the consumer. So, obsess about them. It's your job. Know what people really want and appeal to them by putting their self-interest ahead of all else. Putting yourself in others' shoes and genuinely seeing things through their eyes is harder than neuron physics. Release yourself from industry shackles, and become free to captivate a consumer to fall in love with what we offer or to make something surprisingly better. Here is not the place for self-indulgent or tricky work. No.1 is consumer self-interest, No.2 is our client's business, then No.3 is our agency.

Employ
nice people.

Employ super, fabulous, out there, ambitious, stylish, mathematical, creative, nerdy, introspective, loud, insular, brave, stupidly funny, crazy, nice people. They're more rewarding to work with and they build great relationships inside with staff and outside with clients and with suppliers.

 

Challenge
what's there.

Be an activist. You can change things if you believe it. Business is really quite simple, you just need to do things better than your competitors or do things your competitors can't. Re-invent as often as possible. The world is full of people who do things by rote, don't be one of them. When you're asked to do something, always work out how to do it better. Don't delay on a great idea; chances are someone else has thought of it too.

Be
honest.

When you're selling; be specific, tell the unvarnished truth, don't dress up the facts. Never underestimate what consumers know about marketing and never assume they've got time for you or that they're interested in you. We're lucky enough to work in an industry where we are paid to be creative. But remember, it's industry. It's not art. If you want to be an artist, become a painter and get people to pay you.

Consume
often.

Walk like a consumer every day. Notice how you're communicated to. Examine how it makes you feel. What would turn you on? What would work for you? Then put it all into your work. As a creative company, everybody needs to know what's going on in our world: brands, trends, what's new, what's being done. Ideas from another category can often change our paradigm.

 

Do what
you say.

It's the one thing in your career that will never go away. Ideas are easy. Doing is the hard part. It's the part that will get you furthest. Teams rely on each other to deliver. Do what you say. Go the distance. Finish what you start. Commit to deadlines you know are realistic and never break them. Where possible, deliver ahead of the deadline. Reputations are built on people who deliver.

Respect
people.

Respect for each other, for clients and consumers, is a principle that sets this agency apart. Really listen to clients' sales people; they often know what consumers want. Treat the customer like the chairman. You'll usually get the right answer using this as a filter. We're open plan so we can share ideas and feed off each other. If someone's struggling, offer to help. If you have a beef with someone, don't talk to everyone else about it. Talk to them.

Play hard.
Work harder.

You beat 50% of Australia by working hard. You beat another 40% by being a person of integrity who stands for something. The last 10% is a dogfight in the free enterprise system. Only pitch when you're 80% sure you're going to win and you're prepared to give 100%. And when you win, party hard. Be a good winner and remember why you won. Be a good loser and learn why you lost.

 

Read all agency values.