Strategy days have become a vital part of the culture at StrategiQ. Usually taking place two or three times a year over two days at an outside venue, they give everyone a valuable reminder of our vision, mission and values as well as a window into the direction of the business and priorities going forward. In this way, we are all aligned towards the same goals and feel invested in our outcomes as a team.
The most recent strategy days on September 8th and 9th were particularly poignant. Not only was this the first time everyone from both our Suffolk and Midlands offices had got together in the same place in over 18 months (there were plenty of new faces we’d only ever seen before via a Zoom link), it also marked our 8th anniversary as a company.
The family atmosphere made it the perfect platform to present a revised brand positioning, outline the new strategies going forward and get everyone fired up for the rest of 2021.
Setting a new vision for the future
The best way to frame the future is to first take stock of the past. Going around the room on the first day and listening to people’s highlights from the last year, it was striking how far we’ve come as a company in this short space of time, even with a pandemic going on.
From finding ways to productise tech transformation and bringing on major new clients to developing our internal platforms, making data visible, reorganising the company structure, recruiting new expertise, streamlining our teams and generally finding ways to turn ideas into action, it was clear that we’re in a great place to move forward with confidence.
This was the perfect springboard to then individually think about our own goals – personally and professionally, and then as a company. We would keep returning to the goals we set ourselves and how to achieve them throughout the two days, but first it was time to focus and reflect on two things we’ve been working hard on behind the scenes: the revised StrategiQ branding and our refined mission statements.
A new brand to reflect a new approach – Spoiler
After eight years, the time feels right to take a look at the StrategiQ brand and the way we present ourselves to the market. More of an evolution than a revolution, Ash and Phil shared the new look StrategiQ with the team (which we will be unveiling to the world soon), showing a sophistication and maturity in line with how our company has grown up over time.
Aligning our purpose to the market
In tandem with the new branding, we unveiled new mission statements for the whole company to align with. We’d spent a lot of time soul-searching, debating, wrangling and arm-wrestling in the process of nailing our Purpose, Vision and Mission. In the end, it all revolves around intelligent strategy and the way thinking strategically forms a vital part of our philosophy and processes.
Our Purpose is
To help the world realise that life is better with a strategy.
Our Mission is
To ensure strategy is at the heart of every decision made.
Our Vision is
To be the strategy agency, delivering world-class advisory, creative, marketing and tech.
These are obviously tricky to remember on a daily basis (we don’t force people to stand in front of a blackboard and repeat things 100 times), so everyone got a copy of our new culture manual that details all the values we share and defines what it means to be part of StrategiQ.
Where are we going?
The revised branding and values are a reflection of other changes within StrategiQ. Internally, these are slight changes to the company structure. Externally, it’s in the way we define our services, as mentioned in our vision above, in terms of four key elements: Advisory, Creative, Marketing and Tech.
Advisory is the plan of action, the strategy and tactics.
Creative is a brand’s toolkit, the assets they use to define and differentiate themselves.
Marketing is the brand, product or service’s visibility, how they get in front of their market.
Tech is the digital platform and applications that enable interactions to function.
Each are vitally important drivers of a business’s fortunes. When used together in a consistent, effective and targeted way, they can make a company unstoppable.
This seemed like a lot to take in, but we’re going to eat our own food and follow this up with a new, revitalised website that will showcase how our values and vision shine through in our work.
Backed up by strategy
To reinforce our strategy-first mindset, our Director of Strategy, Dafydd Lewis, took us through his vision for our processes. Data, targets and testing have always been key elements of what we do here at StrategiQ, and Dafydd showed how they form key points within his five-point framework.
The end result is a continued optimisation of campaigns and – perhaps most importantly – a greater ability to spot opportunities for our clients’ businesses on an ongoing basis. Get more detail on the strategy insights in Dafydd’s presentation in his comprehensive guide.
Buoyed up by guest speaker Jeff Grout
It was a privilege to welcome Jeff Grout as our guest speaker on the second day. With vast experience in the world of sports and business, he took us on a journey through teamship, accountability, ownership, responsibility, goal setting, defining goals in terms of ‘outcome’, ‘performance’ and ‘process’, and knowing what it means to be ‘world class’ – with anecdotes to illustrate his points at every step.
It is impossible to convey or define everything he said in this article (nor should I want to – it’s something best experienced first-hand), but I could perhaps sum it up with two questions you should ask yourself: What went right? And which old ideas do you need to escape from?
Key takeaway: Susan
Perhaps what stood out in everyone’s minds following his talk was the value in being a ‘Susan’.
Susan was a receptionist, or ‘hospitality technician’ at a major supermarket chain’s headquarters. When a new potential brand they wanted to secure a partnership with arrived in torrential rain for a meeting, he found he had a parking space very close to the entrance, with a sign welcoming him and a covered walkway all the way to the door. Upon entering, he was greeted by name, made to feel comfortable and brought his favourite drink. He was staggered by this attention to detail, and it seems the ensuing meeting was positive.
It turned out that Susan had taken the time to thoroughly prepare for his arrival, finding his picture so she knew what he looked like, reserving the space, printing the signs and even calling his office to ensure she knew what he liked to drink. The rest was down to pure charm.
Susan’s story was a powerful metaphor for how we can all make a difference, and even if we might think we are one small part of an organisation, we can each play a role in ensuring its success.
Cohesion and inspiration
Jeff’s session on the first day struck a deep chord in all of us. So deep, in fact, that we ditched most of the planned schedule for the second day and took a more intense look into what it means to be part of StrategiQ and the roles we personally feel we can play.
Revisiting our Purpose, Vision and Mission, we all examined how we can personally ensure we make each of them come to life in our work. We put meat on the bones, gave the concepts a concrete form and in our mind’s eye saw what it looked like to take those steps towards making our company an even more proactive, productive and exciting place to be.
As Jeff mentioned in his talk, every winning formula has a sell-by date. Complacency is a poison. The key to what we do over the next six or twelve months is the opposite of complacency. It’s proactivity, and never taking success for granted.
The underlying theme
If there was one theme that underlined the whole two days – from the first motivational video through to our guest speaker’s session and the final thoughts for the day – it was this: Truth.
Speaking the truth showed up in terms of not being afraid to say what you think, standing up for your expertise, giving honest feedback and being prepared to receive it, too. We have to be willing to be the Fool in the land of strangers, to stand up for our truth and let go of the outcome. If you’re wrong, people will be able to tell you, and you’ll learn what’s right. Keep doing this for five years and you’ll be a force to be reckoned with.
So far we’ve been respectful humans. We’ve been kind to each other. Without losing any of that respect, we need to speak up more often, think carefully about what we say, tell the truth and see what happens.
What are we all doing to help StrategiQ achieve its vision?
Everybody working here will each have a different answer to this question. But everyone will also be confident that the part they play is making a difference to the wider picture. Everything we do is aligned with improving businesses and making it possible for them to achieve their goals.
There might be other agencies that appear to be cheaper and do the same job. The truth is, they can’t. They won’t have the same in-depth, cross-platform, cross-discipline approach – the comprehensive audits, the processes, the in-depth use of data, the SEO insights, the user-focused design, the customer journey and neither the teams to deliver them. They simply won’t be StrategiQ.
Want to be part of it?
Check out our current vacancies to see if there might be the right opportunity for you to join our team and get in touch to find out more. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the one getting inspired at our next strategy days!