The more things change, the more they stay the same. This thought applies both to Greenhouse Partners as a firm, and to building great brands. As a firm, we’ve seen and done a lot over the past 16 years. We’ve worked hard to be in that “just right” place of retaining the core elements of what makes us us, while always innovating and evolving. We have always been brand-centric, methodology-agnostic problem solvers. And, at our core, we are still in the idea business. To be successful in delivering outsized results, being great problem solvers, and producing actionable ideas, we must stay true to who we are while constantly innovating. Here, I’m going to discuss how we have managed to do this while weaving in some perspective on what has and has not changed when it comes to building and growing great, leading brands.
There are some major themes related to change in the business landscape the past 16 years. The macro-economic environment continues to work through the impact of the Great Recession, global connectivity – and recent associated backlash – has steadily increased, and the work force continues to undergo relatively dramatic changes, especially associated with the effect of technology.
Underneath these broader themes, there is a layer of change that has been more directly correlated to Greenhouse Partners and to brand and marketing in general. The growth of digital over the past 16+ years has been remarkable. It began with a focus on web sites, extended across social platforms, and now leans heavily into content production and distribution. Today, all great brands have a winning and robust digital strategy. Eight years ago Greenhouse Partners committed to becoming a leading digital firm. Digital is now part of our D.N.A.
Both within and outside of digital we have spent the last three years expanding and refining our content creation and distribution chops. Content is king. Whether driving thought leadership, customizing for the new most important social platform, garnering PR exposure, seeding a promotional or campaign theme, or connecting meaningfully to someone else’s content creation efforts, being great at getting on-strategy content experiences in front of the right audience is extremely important.
Moving forward, the digital realm and content creation and dissemination will continue to grow in importance. Mobile interactions are already more critical than desktop experiences, and the next wave of what mobile means is coming. Continued technology evolution will likely have the biggest impact on brand over the next decade. Specifically, the very direct role of technology in the consumer and customer experience will grow even more in prominence in the coming years. Sophistication in gathering, understanding, and acting on data is another major difference maker that is growing in importance in defining the winners and losers in building great companies and brands.
But what has remained the same?
One area that has been a constant for us is our Whole Brand model. Why? The authentic integration of the internal and external brand will always matter when it comes to being a sustainable brand. Great brand building, great marketing, and great execution in communications will always stem from actionable insights, differentiating and relevant brand strategy, and emotion-evoking creative concepts. Delivering a consistent brand experience for employees, customers, partners, and consumers will always be critical. Company culture built with a long-term vision and lasting values will remain critical. Innovation will never be optional. Our Whole Brand model makes us uniquely suited for driving lasting results by tackling these foundational and critical components of building and growing great brands.
Another area that has remained a constant for us is our approach to our culture and people. Our vision – prepare>amaze>grow – and values – leadership, entrepreneurial spirit, collaboration, decisiveness, and winning – will never change. These concepts lead us to hire, train, behave, think, work, analyze, interact, and evolve in the “Greenhouse way.” Additionally, our culture and way of working together places a premium on positivity, solutions-orientation, collaboration, and high performance. Last, the leadership team at the firm has worked together from a place of positivity, openness, trust, and respect. Everything hasn’t always been rosy for our firm – like any company in business this long, we have faced plenty of challenges. Our consistent connection to our vision and values, focus on people and high performance, and leadership team dynamic has allowed us to sustain in times of difficulty and thrive coming out of those times. It is also worth emphasizing, as a professional services firm, that it is all about our people being great. We’ve always hired people with a diversity of backgrounds and opinions, and worked to cultivate their unique talents so that they get the most out of their skills. We believe in challenging our people to be better by putting them into work that demands it. We also have always known how to have fun. Powder Day, the family picnic, countless impromptu happy hours, foosball tournaments, Founder’s Day, nature hikes, and frequent and loud laughter in meetings are just some of the examples where fun at Greenhouse has come from.
Our Whole Brand model and our culture and people are the foundational elements of Greenhouse Partners – what we believe sets us apart and allows us to deliver cut-above results for our clients. Consistency in these areas, while being vigilant and strategic in anticipating and reacting to the forces of change, has allowed us to weather storms big and small, find and keep outstanding people, work with diverse and leading brands, and assure our clients are relevant to the changing needs of their consumers and customers.
As we enter into our 17th year working with leading brands, our enthusiasm for the challenge is as strong as ever. It has been hard work, it has been intellectually stimulating, it has been exciting, it has been intense, it has been inspiring, it has been a blast. For my money, there isn’t anything better than solving complex problems and coming up with difference-making ideas while working with smart, high-integrity, creative, fun people that care deeply about their work and have each other’s backs.
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