If you work in communication, you should have a burning passion for it. Otherwise you’ll never find your voice in the neverending chaos of signals. These days, the average urban dweller encounters approximately 3,800 messages containing advertising content or intentions. Every single day. To make ourselves heard, it’s imperative that the fire inside and around us never goes out. But as we all know, a fire burns better if it’s being fuelled from more than one side.
What we do for our clients every day is one thing. We follow briefings or we work on our own initiative, we are innovation-driven, process-oriented, structure-optimised and are increasingly agile. And more often than not, we do it with enthusiasm, otherwise it wouldn’t be possible in the first place. But within our group we can also make the most of the opportunity to do something that expresses our true selves. Of course, this can be in connection with our daily work, but also inspired by our family, personal passions, colleagues, developments in the industry or by art and other cultures.
“After all, I didn’t come up with the 60 companies myself, they came about because people approached me with their ideas. In the first year they had a profit centre and by the second, their own company.”
Dr Peter Haller
In our group’s promise to all employees, we have defined ownership as something that can also take an entrepreneurial development, turn into entrepreneurship, and that has made us what we are today. But it doesn’t always have to be connected to your own company. It can be something that improves our work by allowing us to better utilise an innovative development on the market, that helps us to live healthier, that is fun for us all. But it will always be something that comes from you, is a part of you and is beneficial for everyone.
Deciding on ownership and turning it into a habit is a creative process, but one that doesn’t require you to have a creative professional background. All you have to do is be inspired by your environment and allow a wish or an idea to take shape. You can’t force ownership, just like you can’t force a good idea. It’s about approaching a topic that you have a natural interest in – in a fun way that feels instinctively right. Ownership doesn’t have to do or be anything, but it can. In its development we have the feeling that we’re being allowed to play, instead of having to work. This “play” factor is the prerequisite for a result that also ignites something in others, that brings positive developments for us all – and is therefore an exciting creative exercise for each and every one of us.
Ownership ideas don’t have to be perfect or finalised when they’re presented to a smaller, or even bigger circle for the first time. It’s about inspiration and intention, it’s about the process of doing, not “That’s it, I’m done.” To that extent, it’s also a good exercise in what communication is today and what it will be even more so in the future: never finished, always ongoing, always in flux. Ownership is something that should go beyond what is normal and what we have learnt, as a sign of the fact that we are pursuing careers that live and breathe from our enthusiasm and from the fact that we regularly question what is normal and what we have learnt.
As this subject is very important and we can’t do enough to convey the idea throughout our company, we have launched a very special project: we are giving all our employees the opportunity to share their experiences of ownership with their colleagues and to tell us their stories. A whole string of these stories forms the basis of a series of films on the subject. And we’re beginning this series with three wonderful and very personal stories:
“Brienner Above” by Michael “Mais” Sundermann
On one of the upper floors of the House of Communication in Munich, Mais Sundermann, Head of Design at Plan.Net Pulse, has set up the “Brienner Above” atelier where colleagues can work on their own artistic projects – with paint, canvas, paper, fabrics, photography… Here it’s all about opening ourselves up to play with experimenting, crafting and designing – activities that incorporate all the senses. Without thinking in the categories “right” or “wrong”. “Brienner Above” is open to all staff of the Serviceplan Group who want to discover themselves and/or try their hand at an artistic project.
“To be successful, you have to leave your familiar surroundings for a while. You have to get away from the computer.” Mais Sundermann
Free yoga courses with Julia Vogginger
As HR manager and responsible for the weSPORT programme at the House of Communication in Munich, the office’s “Sports Minister” so to speak, Julia Vogginger trained to become a yoga teacher in her spare time. Now she can combine her hobby with her job by holding regular lunchtime yoga sessions for her colleagues, whether beginners or those at a more advanced level. For free, of course.
“Only when you start alternating tension and relaxation will you release extraordinary energies and increase your resilience.” Julia Vogginger
Profiling tool for campaign check-ups by Tansu Reichler
As Consulting Director at Facit Research, Tansu Reichler has developed a campaign profiling tool that has not existed in such a form before and makes it possible to check the effectiveness, brand fit and acceptance of campaigns and their medial elements. Very quickly and without the high cost, but with specific psychological insights and recommendations for action.
“When you start looking at campaigns as personalities, then you can really explore their opportunities and capabilities. Just like you could with a person.” Tansu Reichler
In our group we are constantly on the lookout for ownership stories and obviously more than happy to promote them. Projects and ideas that are the result of our employees’ own initiatives and responsibility – alongside or in addition to their daily tasks. Ownership is one of our most important values and what makes working here so special. We give our colleagues the opportunity to further develop themselves, take on responsibility and implement their own ideas – for a self-determined and fulfilled agency life. But ownership isn’t just stories and projects, it’s the engine that drives us. Ownership means using your own initiative and taking responsibility for things. Which brings us full circle, to ownership as the fuel that fires our mission:
Über-creativity, powered by ownership!