After almost 20 years of working with some of the world’s greatest brands, I have learned that the most successful companies respond to market forces, are flexible and embrace change. And theblueballroom must change with them. From 1st September 2015, I will hand over the role of Managing Director of the agency to Kate Shanks.
18 years ago, when I was working in-house, I wrote a paper called “Mind the Gap: adopting a strategic approach to Internal Communications”. It was a short piece of work, aimed at senior managers to gain their buy-in for me to create some new channels of communications, fill them with more meaningful content and distribute them between functions and divisions to create connections across the business and to break down isolated, silo-thinking. The paper called for less top-down process and more external perspective. It talked about the customer, the brand promise, employee contribution and value. At the heart of the proposal was the plea to connect communications to the business and to connect the business to people. Simple.
If you checked my LinkedIn profile, you could tell that I was working at DHL at the time – but it could have applied almost anywhere in the corporate world, and at any time in the intervening years. In 2001, I set up theblueballroom to bridge some of those communications gaps; to design better communications where content is grounded in the business and relevant to the people that work there. To develop better communicators within organisations so they truly engage with the people they work with. To create stronger connections between people and teams so that they have a more fulfilling and successful experience at work.
Fast forward to 2015 and, a ton of things have changed. While the world has been systematically deconstructed and reconnected by technology, the great news is that the business world has woken up to the real value of employee contribution, or engagement; and most managers have heard of emotional intelligence. Communications channels are predominantly digital and more content is user-generated. There’s less speech-writing and more conversation. And whether companies acknowledge it or not, social behaviours are more prevalent in the workplace and sharing, rather than guarding information is power.
A whole generation since my “Mind the Gap” paper, our ways of working have undoubtedly changed, yet the purpose behind theblueballroom remains as relevant and as necessary as ever. Successful companies are built and thrive on the concerted efforts of employees who have pride in their organisations. The more connected people are to the business and to each other, the more energetic and inventive they will be. It’s anything but simple, but theblueballroom exists to help make these things happen.
In recent years, working for companies like adidas, Deutsche Post, DHL, Rentokil Initial, Roche and many others, theblueballroom has picked on Pride and a Connected Culture as two overarching themes that can make a massive difference to how people relate to brands and companies they work for, and we have developed two approaches to help companies build these success factors into the workplace. The PRIDE model comprising Purpose, Reputation, Integrity, Direction and Energy drives business success through a focus on people and their motivations. The CONNECTED CULTURE model enables companies to embrace the opportunities presented by digital channels and promotes behaviours that lead to a more dynamic and collaborative working environment. These approaches are the culmination of decades of experience in high-impact company communications and we believe they have had a positive impact on the businesses that we work for.
Now there is even more for theblueballroom to do; new communications challenges to address and new relationships to forge. Responding to our marketplace means that it is time for theblueballroom to change as well. To reflect a new generation of business leaders, from 1st September 2015, Kate Shanks will take over the role of Managing Director of the agency. Kate has been working at theblueballroom for the last three years and is a great ambassador for our values and our work. She has been instrumental in developing our client relationships and the creative solutions we offer them, and has worked extensively with our key global accounts in the UK, Germany and Switzerland. She has all the qualities to lead the company into the next generation.
theblueballroom has fifteen years of experience in strategic thinking and creative delivery of smart communications and we have now added some fresh, young talent. We have developed innovative approaches to employee engagement and the digital workplace. I have enjoyed every minute of the first fifteen years of theblueballroom and will continue to provide consultancy in these areas to the agency’s clients. For the rest of the time I will spread the word through writing and blogging and continue my research into the next key challenges for companies, people and communication in the workplace.
If you are in a leadership role, perhaps a CEO, HR or Communications Director, or an agent of change in the digital or cultural space, we can support you. If you would like to know more details about how we have worked with clients in the past, please get in touch and we would be delighted to share some of our case studies with you.