We won The Drum Award for Agency Culture!

We’ve just about stopped dancing and thought it would be a good time to let you know about our recent award-win. Last week, we headed down to London for The Drum Agency Business Awards UK (which used to be called The Drum Network Awards) and scooped up the top prize for Agency Culture—woohooooo!

For us, our culture has always been at the heart of everything we do and over the years, it has been built by every single person who has ever worked with us, or even just popped in to say hello. It has taken us almost 8 years to get to where we are now and we’re deee-lighted to add this award to the shelf in our new, shiny studio (more on that later).

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So, how did we build an award-winning culture?

“As business owners, we have the responsibility to do our part and put things in place that truly reflect the culture we want to thrive within our companies. Our job is to make it easy for our teams to understand that culture, put some principles in place to create a guide and then make sure we stay true to them by living by them every day, and then, we should thank them for it—after all, it’s a team game.” — Andrew Dobbie, Our Founder

In the words of Run DMC and Aerosmith’s Steve Tyler, you’ve got to walk this way and talk this way, which, when translated to company culture, means you’ve got to live by your culture and put it out there for your team and community to see. Here’s how we did it

We found our ‘why’

Your brand ‘why’ is your purpose—it’s the reason your brand jumps out of bed every morning. When we found our brand ‘why’ it all sort of clicked; even though it had technically been there all along, writing it down made it tangible. However, the thing about a brand purpose is that it’s not the most useful when it’s tucked away in a doc somewhere. Demonstrating your purpose is just as important as defining it—so that’s exactly what we did.

“We exist to inspire creativity in everyone”

In the spirit of inspiring creativity in everyone, we’ve introduced a ‘Creativity Credit’ for every single MadeBraver. They can spend it however they like, whether it’s got anything to do with their title or not (hey, creative inspiration can come from anywhere)—all they need to do is share what they learned with the rest of the team. Plus, we’ve started experiencing fun creative expeditions together, like that time we went to Copenhagen for the weekend with our pals from Campfire.

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AH YEEEEAH! We’re off to Copenhagen with our @campfireagency pals for a BornOriginal company weekend!

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For us, sharing stories and experiences is one of the best ways to get those creative juices going, so, we’ve launched our own monthly camera club (for budding photographers to learn from our photo-buffs) our ‘Just a Chat With’ podcast where we talk about brand and creativity with the world’s best in class, and regular Big Brave Breakfasts, where our team get up and share what they’re working on, over coffee and breakfast rolls. Mmmmm, tattie scones. 

We defined our values

Our brand values define what our brand lives by (just like us humans have values too) and it means that our whole team is on the same page. We’ve always known that simply adding our values to an “About Us” page and calling it good would never be enough to define our culture and convince people that we actually believe these things; shouting about it on Instagram would never be enough to position us as a particularly unique agency to work with—or work for—which is why we’ve always gone for wearing our values on our sleeves (well, walls in this case.)

Yep, we painted our brand values all over our walls. Why? Well, as much as they were great additions to our studio (and we’ll be sad to see them go with our move) they acted as a constant, daily reminder of what we stand for. 

“For a while, I believed that if your culture is alive, it will shine through everything you do and you won’t need to explain it. However, as our team got bigger and I started to see new faces come into the team, I realised that it would be silly of me to assume that they would understand the core of what we’re all about at MadeBrave just by coming to work every day. So, as of last year, I made a conscious effort to communicate our brand values to our team” – Andrew, Our Founder

We also created an animation, characters and even a song for ‘Be Your Weird Self’—one of our most important values. The project gave us a way to really get our heads into the idea behind ‘Be Your Weird Self’ and opened up conversations about deeper issues, like mindfulness and mental health. It’s another reminder that anyone is welcome to bring their whole selves to the party—not just the business-y parts. 

We built (and will continue to build) an inspiring place to work

People are affected by their surroundings and so, having a nice place to come to work every day has always been a big deal for us (we spend 5 days out of 7 there, so it makes sense.) Murals, lamps and beanbags aside, an inspiring office is about designing for what people really need and creating a space that makes it easy for them to do whatever that is. If you’ve been keeping an eye on our social recently, you might’ve noticed that we’re moving studio very, very soon

Our new studio is going to be like the ultimate MadeBrave brand home, with quiet pods for focus time and break out areas to host our surprise free lunches. We’ve built a fully-stocked bar for our weekly Friday-beers, a pet-crèche for our office dogs and even a state-of-the-art event space to create the studio of our Pinterest-board dreams. 

We focussed on the stuff that matters

Stress to creativity is like Kryptonite to Superman, or mayonnaise to gravy—they’re not a good mix. So, we’ve put things in place to hopefully alleviate that stress a little. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the creative, fun side of creating a company culture, but we’ve learned that it’s actually the stuff that goes on behind-the-scenes that matters most. 

For this reason, we’ve introduced flexi-time for our teams, improved maternity, paternity and adoption packages (complete with childcare vouchers) and even ‘pawternity’ for fluffy new additions. 

Wellbeing is tip-top of our list too, which is why we brought on our cycle-to-work scheme, monthly massages, and access to fitness classes and equipment. Most importantly, we’re currently working on an entirely new learning and development program and a designated mental health committee who will be on hand to help our team—whether it’s just to check in on the small stuff, or get support when they need it most. 

Winning this award could not have come at a better time—with our new move on the horizon right in front of us and big plans to expand, it has inspired us to keep building on our culture to make MadeBrave an even better place to work. Thanks to everyone at The Drum, you’ve made our year!

UPDATE – We also won:

Hey, if you feel like you’d like to join team MadeBrave, we’d love to hear from you. Head over to our jobs page to see the latest roles, or send your folio to hello@madebrave.com

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