Sixth Story’s story. I can tell you that it’s an odd experience rethinking and looking at your own agency’s positioning. Odd in a good way, challenging too.
Sixth Story aren’t ‘rebranding’ in the true sense of the word but we’ve been working on a new proposition and a new website to help take Sixth Story to the next level. A few months ago I was reading a book called “Tell to Win” (great read and highly recommend it) but there’s a passage in the book where the author is having lunch with the owner of Rolex. An acquaintance walks by and asks, “how’s the watch business?” Mr Rolex says, “I don’t know, I’m not in the watch business.” That really got me thinking…
Rolex isn’t in the watch business as much as we’re in the ‘web design’ business. Rolex is in the luxury business and it was time for us to ponder the question, what business are we really in?
Our repositioning, it’s taken longer than normal to start with, there’s always real client work to do, meetings, business travel and deadlines to hit. The next challenge was getting away from the front of my own nose and being able to step back to take a long hard look at things. It’s been challenging, not to over process it and get stuck in ‘analysis paralysis’ so we decided to treat ourselves as a client.
Sixth Story has grown up!
As I look back at how we’ve grown up over the years, starting out from my home office to our first studio in Digbeth and now being in an old pen factory in the Jewellery Quarter (rather apt), it really has been a journey. We’re lucky enough to be in a great location, a Grade II listed building that’s quirky, rustic and authentic. Our location or our office has never really defined us, we’re not into spending money on ‘swanky’. But you will always find a good cup of a coffee in the meeting room and a friendly game of table tennis to blow out the cobwebs. Saying that, we love Birmingham and we love the innovative and ambitious businesses we get to meet regularly.
What has defined us is our values. Far more than a swish office or trendy postcode. It’s our attitude, our collective culture and way of working. From day one that’s been about the team first, being open, taking responsibility, producing amazing work, always learning and not being a ‘yes agency’. It’s a unique culture that welcomes a certain type of individual, always professional with clients but a kind of personality that makes us a little unforgettable. You won’t find a “that’s good enough” attitude here and you can be sure that our team always pushes to get the best result, sometimes that means pushing the boundaries, asking tough questions and some of our clients have said ‘we’re a little challenging’ and that’s ok. I’d rather it was that way than give in to pressure.
We love our team and we love what we do.
And honestly, I have a sense of pride arriving to work on a Monday, seeing happy faces and hearing a buzz in the office (I’m sorry if that’s cheesy but it is true). I genuinely started this company so that I could create a place where people love to come to work. Happy teams do their best work. It’s also one of my founding principles that we wouldn’t have layer upon layer of account management, project management and client relationship management. Just small, nimble teams collaborating with clients closely to solve big problems. I spent all too many years being driven by sales and targets so another founding principle was that we’ll never knowingly sell something to a client that doesn’t add massive value. Profit keeps us in business yes, but our promise of delivering value and great design work is far more important (and helps us sleep soundly at night).
We say it how it is, we take responsibility when we make the odd mistake, we learn from it, we move on and we have a whole lot of fun doing it all.
More than anything, we started out as a branding and design agency but we’ve come so far and grown up so much. We’re flexible, adaptable and in everything we do, operations, customer experience (our clients’ customers) and business growth are all at the core. Whether we’re designing a website to increase traffic, optimising and automating processes to make something more efficient or driving sales with targeted, creative communications, the end goal is always growth. Everything we do is to help our clients grow. Because when they grow, so do we.
That’s why our positioning came quite naturally to us. We are, The Creative Growth Agency®.
This comes as we’re about to celebrate our eighth birthday, we couldn’t have done that without our clients. We wanted to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone and long may your and our growth continue.
I couldn’t have expected the things that have unfolded in 2017. Travelling to America and working with great companies there, building new capabilities into the business, repositioning, getting a great big hunk of funding to grow the company even more and Quin joining Sixth Story full time to make this a real family affair! I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us next but one thing is for sure, our clients and my gratitude is always on my mind.