Back in the dead of winter, Pilch & Barnet’s staff took a day trip to Milwaukee’s art museum for some strategic planning. In between discussing goals, the agency’s past and future, current client work and work to come, we gave some thought to office culture.
One of the best things to emerge from that meeting has been our creative sessions. Every Wednesday over lunch, the entire office (creative department, copywriters, web designers, production manager – everybody) gets together in the conference room and work outside our specialties on a project that needs more input. On any given Wednesday, Matt (copy) will offer his take on the look of a commercial, Kindra (web design) shares her two cents on a client’s branding research, and Carli (production) might get a say in our latest promotional campaign.
Why the cross disciplinary approach? One universal feeling at our Milwaukee meeting was the sense that different parts (and people) at Pilch & Barnet were cut off from one another. That feeling is probably inevitable at an office with as many facets as ours. Design can’t quite follow the latest campaign idea coming out of copy; copy doesn’t understand the vibe that our videographer wants in her next commercial; etc. But we wanted to find a way to keep one another in the loop a little more, not only by sharing our work on specific projects, but also by getting a closer look at each departments’ work process.
More than bridging communication gaps, though, our creative sessions also acknowledge the untapped resources at Pilch & Barnet. As at other agencies, our staff spend most of their time working in one area of marketing and advertising. But expertise in one part of marketing doesn’t mean that we’re ignorant of other parts of the business. Copywriters (believe it or not) can have an eye for color. Web designers can turn a pretty phrase.
These creative sessions give us a chance to stretch our legs, to work on new projects from a different perspective than we’re used to. They’re also great for team building. Personally, it’s one of my favorite times of the week.