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Over the past few weeks, our posts have presented the Agency of the Future, describing traits agencies will need to flourish in our rapidly evolving industry.

Several traits we presented described how agencies can continuously grow in value as a partner to their clients.  Others centered on becoming a more effective competitor as marketers consolidate agency partners.

What about the cultural traits of firms that will be most successful in the future?

How does agency culture fuel passion throughout its organization?


As described in guest posts by Ed Burgoyne earlier this year, “culture doesn’t mean ping pong or pool tables…and beer in the fridge”.

Culture is value-based and it can fuel the passions of your team.  Or kill them.

A recent GROWTHeverywhere article, The Statistical Case for Company Culture, quotes Rob Markey of Harvard Business Review, “Loyal, passionate employees bring a company as much benefit as loyal, passionate customers….”

For that matter, loyal, passionate employees can be – in the agency world – a client magnet.  Certainly, they can be a meaningful catalyst in new business activity.  Perhaps even more importantly are their relationships with existing clients and the force they impart on client retention.

Culture is an abstract element of a business; its foundation rests on “a blend of values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths”.

It is the energy of a company’s culture that feeds natural employee passion or starves it, but specific how-to’s are tricky to define beyond the company’s mission and expectations.

As an example of developing and practicing a positive culture, Justin Dauer describes in his article, Resetting Agency Culture, “The New Day One” experience and the passion-driving benefits it delivers for new hires at his firm from the outset.

How’s the passion in your firm?  Does your culture foster passion?

Despite its relatively abstract nature, culture is a vital ingredient to sustained growth and success for the agency of the future.

From Jack Welch, former General Electric CEO comes this wisdom:

No company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.”

Culture is important.  Very important.  Our earlier guest posts by Ed Burgoyne are great reads (and even rereads) as you ready your firm as an Agency of the Future:


Be sure to include culture in your vision and plans.  Without it, your business strategy lacks energy.

Mark is a 30-year veteran of the consumer packaged goods, advertising, and marketing service industry. Mark started his career at DDB Needham in Chicago prior to earning his MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Business School at Northwestern where he majored in Marketing and Economics. Prior to starting RSW/US in 2005, Mark was General Manager for AcuPOLL, a global research consultancy. Sneider worked in Marketing for S.C. Johnson and KAO Brands. Sneider has been invited to speak at numerous Agency events and network conferences domestically and internationally including the 4A’s, Magnet, NAMA, TAAN, and MCAN. Sneider has been featured in prominent industry publications including Adweek, Media Post, e-Marketer, and Forbes. When not working (which often seems like not often), Mark likes to run miles, go to church, and just chill with a hard copy issue of Fast Company.