Does It Matter Why We’re In Business?
Digital Noir is approaching it’s one year anniversary of merging with KWP! and becoming kwpx. It has been a giant year for me both personally and professionally and as we approach our second year operating from a new base under a new brand, I have been thinking a lot about the reasons we exist as a business. This is something that has always been important for me since I started Scrimshaw Communications back in 2008.
Sitting with my colleague Briony last week she was discussing the clarity of purpose she had experienced at Digital Noir when she joined 2 years ago. It made me wonder, our purpose seemed clear to our employees, but was it clear to me? Interestingly, a day later another colleague, Caitlin asked me to write an article (which you are now reading) and passed me a link to something I had written four years ago, which answered the question for me.
In the blog (read the full article here), I questioned the importance of creating a “why” and the need to be in business for a purpose. In 2018, “purpose” was already becoming a bit of a buzzword, and I wanted to know if I was defining this for a reason, if my own goals should or needed to reflect the goals for my business. Back then, (and even now), when we talk about “purpose”, the inclination is that we should be trying to save the world, and if we don’t have a clearly defined “why”, then we must just be in business to make money… But what about the in-between? Which I think is where a lot of business owners sit. I found my thoughts interesting to look back on. It was at a time in my life and business where I had started questioning many things. You can read a subtle frustration in me looking for my own ‘why’ as well as one for DN.
When Briony was discussing the difference between working for us and other businesses she mentioned a feeling of belonging within the team. A spirit that she felt within our walls. This spirit I believe stemmed from our long-standing mantra of ‘We Give A Damn’.
We Give A Damn.
A simple ethos that we had overlaid on everything we touched at DN. It meant that we cared about our customers, our teammates, we strove for the best work we could do, and we questioned decisions and actions.
It held me accountable as a leader. It stopped me from making calls on short term profit over long term sustainable growth. It meant we were always moving forwards, sometimes slowly but always seeking a better outcome.
It dawned on me recently that this level of care was intrinsic in how I had setup DN. My designer-brain (and heart) is always striving to create the best solution possible and then continue to iterate. The details are important to me. The process is important to me. I care about the things I create. Business with heart is important to me. I started working for myself because I wanted to be the controller of my destiny and the designer of my life. We Give A Damn as a principle was just an extension of that.
I want to bring this same care and heart to the work I do here at kwpx. We have lost ‘We Give A Damn’ officially as our tagline but our revised version “Deeper Connections, Better Business” has very much the same ethos. Many people believe that marketing is a dirty word. I disagree. I believe our role is one of connection. How do we connect the right people to the right products and services? We all seek connection, and we all have needs. Our role as an agency is to partner with clients who care about going deep and taking them on a journey to find their tribe and connect in a meaningful way.
I look back at how I ended that article four years ago and, with a slightly aged smile, I nod and say,
“Yes Sam, we do need to have a why, but it doesn’t need to be overcomplicated…doing work because you care is a brilliant reason to get out of bed every day”.
Chief Digital Officer // kwpx