What’s Your Business Culture Look Like?

Culture_1by Brenda Peterson
July 14, 2014

Last week, I took a call from the COO of Special Olympics Montana. She is new to the position and is enthusiastic about bringing some new ideas to the operation. She asked if she could come visit with me about the environment and culture at Wendt. Of course, I said yes being someone who absolutely loves a good discussion about culture. We had a great visit and it was amazing how quickly an hour can pass when you are engaged in conversation about something that both parties are very passionate about!

So in thinking about that conversation, here’s what we do at The Wendt Agency to keep our culture alive and growing.

Leadership guides and supports our culture, but doesn’t dictate it. There are no meetings around here to beat everyone over the head with the beliefs, values and benefits of Wendt. It just doesn’t happen. A pervasive culture cannot be orchestrated from on high. It must come from a more organic place. Some years back, we put together a Wendt Brand Team. This Wendt committee is responsible for keeping our culture on track with what we see it to be about. By the way, the agency Leadership team does not participate in these discussions. Why? Because we believe our contributions might be construed as heavy handed management. I know some business owners or managers are saying right now “but what if I didn’t like the direction the team is recommending?” Well, you don’t give up your role as a company leader. The Wendt Brand Team presents their ideas to us for the final AOK. To this day, we have not had an idea that needed to be squashed. It is so awesome to see our crew self-edit anything that might be considered a bit over the top.

Why do you need a strong culture? When you think we spend of us on average a third of our entire lives working shouldn’t it be at a place that you feel comfortable? That you want to be there? That you want to be a part of the whole? And contributing to the team?

When everyone is engaged and enthusiastic they just produce better work. Period.

Here are a few things that guide the culture at Wendt.

  • We have a cool space with an open door policy. No office doors, and that includes mine. Everyone is accessible all the times.
  • Everyone has a seat at the idea table.
  • We celebrate our successes and support each other when there is the occasional failure.
  • We embrace each other’s differences – because we are eclectic and free thinking individuals that come together each day to do dynamite work.
  • Relationships are what keep us ticking – we believe in the partnerships we have with our clients and each other.
  • We have a long history (86 years young), and we adapt to the changing communications world – it’s moving at break-neck speed.
  • Super service – ya we got that!

To support and build upon our culture, we do a few other things to keep us connected and refreshed.

  • Every Friday at 4, we come together to wind down the week. We share a glass of wine, a snack and enjoy each other’s company.
  • Summer hours. Everyone loves these, we close our offices a little early in July and August. Summer is just too short in Montana not to have a few more hours of sunshine!
  • Halloween is HUGE at Wendt. The costume contest is epic.
  • We do an annual retreat with employees and significate others. This two day event is loaded with relaxing and fun activities. No business is discussed.

This keeps us happy, creative and passionate about what we do. Shouldn’t your business have a culture that does the same?

 

This article originally appeared in the Great Falls Tribune on Sunday July 13, 2014 and can be found here

2016-10-26T09:28:55-06:00July 14th, 2014|Culture|0 Comments

A Walkabout at Wendt

by Carol Kruger
May 12, 2014

One of the many, many things I like about working at The Wendt Agency is that it is never boring. Not the work, not our clients, not my coworkers and not even the office itself. You just never know what you will see at Wendt on any given day. While our offices are all personalized reflections of our individual tastes and interests, the Wendt common areas are also filled with items which highlight the eclectic nature of the agency as a whole.

A recent walk around the Wendt office revealed the following:

It’s all a bit charming, a bit random, a bit fun and a whole lot of Wendt. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

What do you see when you walk around your office? Let me know what and how or if it inspires you!

2016-10-26T09:28:55-06:00May 12th, 2014|Culture|0 Comments

Personal Employee Wine Tasting Notes

wendt-wine

by Brenda Peterson
December 25, 2013

So, I was on this little road trip with Lorie and Johna this fall and we were enjoying a glass of wine at the Lincoln Hotel. We started talking about how fun it would be to develop wine tasting notes for each member of our team based on their eclectic personalities. I knew this was a project worth doing, so I stuck it away in my memory box for the holidays. I found it to be a bit of a reverse brand process – usually we’re working hard to give a product or business a brand persona. This time I took the persona and translated it back to a product. Everyone got their unique bottle of vino this week. It made for lots of laughs and chatter. It also helps to have a fantastic Creative Director (Joe Baby) to develop an awesome label design for each.

Lorie Hager – CFO
This rich red Cabernet embodies loyalty, is quietly creative yet a bit head strong. It longs to be consumed with dark chocolate, has an essence of tobacco, black current, spicy pepper, and a hint of fragrant cedar. Enjoy with Lorie’s favorite dish (a beautiful piece of salmon) prepared by her much loved Chef Kevin.

Carol Kruger – Senior Vice President
This lush red is intellectually worldly with a quick wit and just the right amount of skepticism. It has a not-so-delicate nose that includes loads of cocoa and ground espresso, and finishes with sweet tasty figs and plums. Of course, it has been aged in French oak. Why? Just because. À la vôtre

Merle McLeish – Media Buyer
There is some historic mystery with this Cabernet, yet you will find comfort in the structure it provides. You will find notes of jam and bananas on toasted oat bread with a caramel rich cola finish. This is a wine that you can count on every time. Yes’ em.

Sarah Ziska – Account Manager/Social Media Specialist
This is a spunky little red that is energetic and full of adventure. It has hints of chocolate truffles, zesty gooseberries, green pepper and worn leather. This wine is enthusiastic and has little patience for anything less than perfection. It is perfect for drinking right now, but given a little more time it will only become that much more refined. Whoot whoot!

Pam (Pamela) Bennett – Senior Media Planner/Buyer
This yummy red wine can be a bit whimsical at times yet is very passionate. It is the centerpiece of many complex flavors and it changes as it opens up and breathes. It has a cherry forwardness, with a hint of allspice, and creamy butterscotch after notes. Pam’s wine craves to be enjoyed with her favorite Gal Pal Tane.

Carmen Moore – Production Director
Being in the presence of family whenever possible is just the best way to enjoy this wine. You will find it to be emotionally charged at times, but remember laughter is always the best medicine. Linger over this wine and taste the muddled strawberries and cinnamon toast. And lastly, you will note the subtle hint of bacon cooking over a campfire at Holter Lake surrounded by those you love.

Joe (Baby) Stein – Creative Director
This wine has earthy notes and an essence of rich coffee, huckleberries and a hint of campfire smoke. It needs to be consumed in the wild outdoors after a day of fly fishing the Mo or hiking in the mountains of Lincoln. It is best paired with grilled wild elk or venison that has been marinating in red wine, cinnamon, garlic and cracked peppercorns. This is a wine you can count on over and over again. The neck does get a little thick in the fall with the call of the wild.

Jennifer (Jendala) Fritz – Senior Account Manager
This wine can take charge…but does it in a way that makes you want to follow. It is a smart, contemporary and stylish wine that provides loads of energy and loves a great road trip anywhere. It delivers a lush mouth feel of bramble fruit that is followed by sweet Devonshire cream on the pallet. Its nose provides lots of fragrant toasted almonds, oak and vanilla. You can find comfort and friendship in the presence of this wine instantly…many of us have.

Johna Wilcox – Account Manager
This generous red vino begs to be sipped from a hand-blown Riedel goblet, while lounging on a leopard print settee, wrapped in a silver fox coverlet and sporting the most exquisite pair of Prada red velvet stilettos. Its full flavor comes with the pairing of dark rich chocolate sprinkled with the essence of orange. Sip this wine and notice the subtle but loving notes of eucalyptus and yeasty crackers with creamy whipped European butter.

Kara Smith – Senior Art Director
This artfully crafted wine is sleek, inky and gorgeous. It is bursting with black currants but will surprise you  with the sweet aroma of tanned leather. This is an earthy, organic wine that begs for sharing with family and friends. To be sure, this wine is very complex. It can rock your world all the while creating the most beautiful visual you have ever seen.

Katie Schrader – Art Director/Web Designer
This wine helps you see everything that is pretty in the world. Soft violets and honey underscore this rich raspberry fruit forward wine. Lightly oaked with creamy vanilla and delicate almond biscuit flavors that make you want to put on something extra special that crosses contemporary and heritage style. Enjoy with a flourless chocolate cake that Katie lovingly baked.

Brenda Peterson – CEO
This big red wine may seem a little starched, in need of a stage and more than that control of her world. Reality is that this wine would prefer to be casually at home enjoying the comfort of her hubby and chocolate lab Nellie to truly appreciate. And speaking of comfort – sweats, boots, a roomy sweatshirt and baseball cap is the best attire for drinking this wine. It should be served with a sumptuous savory meal that took a long time to prepare. And it always will be sipped slowly from a beautiful wine glass…never plastic.

What are your personal wine tasting notes?

Happy Holidays!

 

2016-10-26T09:28:59-06:00December 24th, 2013|Culture|0 Comments

Wendt Branding-practice what you preach

brandingby Jennifer Fritz
June 21, 2013

About a year and a half ago at Wendt we decided to turn the tables on ourselves and walk through a process we do on a regular basis with our clients. We decided to walk through some of our own branding exercises and refresh our brand identity. Even though we do this for a living, it was an eye-opening process with some exciting results. We started by bringing everyone to the table to discuss where we wanted to take our business and what we wanted the outside world to know and think about us. The process we went through was very similar to what we do with a lot of our clients. We all participated in different branding exercises. An example was treating Wendt as a mystery date where each employee described what our date looked like, his (her) personality, the kind of car they drive and more. As you can imagine, this fostered some really interesting results and stimulating conversation! It was a fun and energetic exercise, and also very useful as it helped us determine strategic communications plans on the back end. We wanted people to know that Wendt is a long-standing company with a lot of rich tradition and history; but we are also a contemporary company that offers cutting edge ideas to our clients.

During this branding process we determined a new brand mantra: “We Create Success.” With this mantra we developed eight branding pillars that we live and breathe every day at Wendt. Together, as an eclectic mix of free-thinking individuals, we can create success for ourselves and our clients by coming together to provide signature work. In working toward this brand revolution, we started on the inside by integrating our work environment. We brought creative services and client services together within our space. The level of internal communication is bringing a higher level of energy, collaboration and strategic solutions. Our new brand mantra is also reflected in our external communications from our public relations efforts to our digital presence with Facebook and this website! Our goal with our website is to invite users into our world, learn more about us and view a variety of our signature work.

2016-10-26T09:28:59-06:00June 21st, 2013|Culture|0 Comments

The Power of Why

Industryby Carol Kruger
October 12, 2012

Have you seen this? It’s an amazing talk given at the TEDX conference a couple of years ago. If you haven’t seen it you should watch it, right now. Go ahead, click the link and invest 18 minutes in learning. I’ll wait.

Ok, are you back? So, why do you get up in the morning? Why do you do what you do? Why does your company do what it does? Do you know? Do you even know you should know?

Introspection can be a scary thing. It’s much easier to focus on that outer circle – the What. That’s simple and factual and easy to explain. I make widgets. I buy media. I sell cars. That inner circle – the Why – that’s trickier. Knowing the Why requires knowing more about yourself, your beliefs, your dreams, your motivations, your values. In the business world it means knowing why your company does what it does and what that means. And then it requires taking that knowledge and acting on it. Living based on the Why rather than the What. Once you do that, if you can do that, the How and the What will take care of themselves and everyone will know exactly what you do and why it matters.

That’s the power of Why.

2016-10-26T09:29:00-06:00October 12th, 2012|Culture, Reflections|0 Comments

The Search for Incredible Talent

Culture_2by Brenda Peterson
October 10, 2012

I have the opportunity to work around so many incredibly talented individuals every single day. People who have artistic talents, people talents, critical thinkers, a few sarcastic and witty folks (I love sarcasm), those who think “outside the box” and a few that think “inside the box.” These folks challenge me to keep learning, move through each day with eyes wide open, to embrace new ways of thinking, of finding my personal creativity, of unearthing marketing ideas that do not come from a text book, to embrace the speeding train of new technologies and the quest to find more meaningful ways to connect with consumers. Even when I just don’t want to. I appreciate the energy these folks give me to do my job. It is a joy to work with and around the crew at Wendt. Our culture is relaxed, encouraging, collaborative and supportive. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Recently we had an opening for an Art Director/Web Designer. I received over thirty resumes for the position. Lots of folks with years of experience. And some with a little less experience. They came from Montana, across the United States and some abroad. As I was sifting through these resumes, it occurred to me that the art of the cover letter is gone. With all our on-line forums, and short forms of communication we seem to find that it is acceptable to send a “note” along with a resume that resembles texting or a common email. Grammar, punctuation, proofing and common professionalism seem to be missing. Now don’t misunderstand, I did receive a couple of resumes that were accompanied by a cover letter. One of the letters was so captivating, I immediately knew that this one was a “must interview.”

Her letter started out…
“First off, I just want to put it out there that you should totally hire me. Why? Well, let’s face it, this is going to be a hard position to fill. Being a front-end developer for the best ad agency in town, that makes you listen to good music and partake in libations (on Friday afternoons), well those are some pretty rough conditions…”
Did I mention that I love sarcasm?

She went on to share with me her professional history and experience and included a few personal reasons why she was the best fit for the Wendt team.

She ended with…
“I love to make things around me aesthetically pleasing, whether it’s through interior design for my surrounding or graphic design. Color palettes fascinate me, and I strive to find beautiful combinations that work well in both print and web design. Client satisfaction is extremely important to me, as is helping the client to actually realize how they want their business to be represented and making this vision a reality. If you feel any of these skills could help bring a little something different to your eclectic team, I would love to hear from you.”

And she did hear from me. Why? Because I was captivated by her cover letter.

We interviewed Katie and hired her. She’s the newest member of our incredibly talented team and I look forward to how she will challenge me to be better at what I do every day.

2016-10-26T09:29:00-06:00October 10th, 2012|Culture, Wendt Buzz|0 Comments

Employees Make or Break Your Brand Promise

BrandingCowby Jennifer Fritz
October 9, 2012

One of the most important marketing investments an organization can make is by hiring the right people. The right people to communicate your brand promise, the right people to be ambassadors of your brand, the right people to be the face of your organization and the right people to make a strong first impression. It is important to understand that your people are invaluable resources and the future of your organization. So, the burning question is, how do you define the right person? Many adjectives come to mind like motivated, hardworking, responsible, driven, intuitive, knowledgeable, team oriented, strong minded and dedicated. But there is one adjective that stands apart from the rest, and should be the number one trait when defining the right person – PASSIONATE. Passion is not something you can teach, but it is something that can be felt throughout an entire organization. Passion for the work you do and passion for the organization you work for. Having passionate people in your organization speaks volumes about your brand.

A first-hand example of true passionate people working for an organization is very evident with one of our clients. As Yellowstone National Park’s official non-profit education partner, Yellowstone Association is dedicated to educating visitors about the park and preserving it for future generations. Yellowstone Association’s mission and history is so rich and their employees breathe it everyday. I am always so inspired after spending a day with this wonderful client. The passion that each employee feels for the Association and for Yellowstone National Park is so strong – they have bought into the organizations mission 100% and want to share it with the world. It is clients like Yellowstone Association that make our jobs so fun! We love the opportunity to help communicate a brand message to the masses knowing that the brand promise is so strong and the employees have bought into the mission and are incredibly passionate about it.

2016-10-26T09:29:00-06:00October 9th, 2012|Clients, Culture|0 Comments