Countdown to Christmas: day six

1How do you communicate your brand values? Next up on my Countdown to Christmas is Ashley Freeman from INVOLVE agency writing about how they drew on Star Trek’s influence to focus on theirs.

This is day six of my Advent series, search the Advent tag for any you may have missed to date. Thank you to everyone who has written for the All Things IC blog this year.

If you’re planning Christmas comms, see my guide to creating Christmas communications to help you think through what you’re trying to achieve.

How a company is Star Trekking its brand values

Trying to make values living, breathing things rather than words on a wall can be a challenge.

However, one organisation has been igniting its creativity and celebrating a special birthday at the same time, all thanks to Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

Here Ashley Freeman, Head of Sales and Marketing at INVOLVE shares how…

Make it So… Living brand values with Captain Jean-Luc Picard

“We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity…” Captain Jean-Luc Picard

What started with a Captain Jean-Luc Picard figurine 19 years ago, ended in an amazing exercise in motivation, mobilisation and involvement…

In honour of our great Captain Jeremy Starling’s birthday recently, we planned a surprise inspired by his leadership role model, Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise.

Involve Star Trek We organised an elaborate Star Trek-themed values activation day at INVOLVEHQ, in full Star Trek costume of course (that’s me in the back row, that’s right, the one in a fetching mustard suit, third in from the left!)!

We’re always telling our clients to live their brand values, and dedicate time to internal engagement and values activation activities, but every now and again we have to remind ourselves to practice what we preach:

“There’s no way we can advise the world’s leading organisations on how to motivate, engage and mobilise their people if our own team of 30 aren’t. I’ve just had an experience at my office with my own team which has reassured me we are doing something right.” Jeremy Starling, MD, INVOLVE

At INVOLVE, we share some core values, which reflect how we work with each other and our clients:

  • Radiating positive energy is all about making the best of a situation and seeing we always make a positive contribution.
  • Being passionate about effectiveness is about obsessing over always getting results.
  • Pioneering is about challenging the norm and discovering new and better ways to do things.
  • Making work fun is about enjoying the work we do.
  • And working as a team and respecting individuality is about allowing people to be themselves, while working together to get the best from each other.​

Through the corporate wormhole
Jeremy has had a Captain Picard figurine on the windowsill behind his desk ever since he arrived at INVOLVE 19 years ago.

He had spoken with some of us on the team about how the values driven, morally enlightened 23rd Century leader of the Enterprise flagship had inspired him in how to preserve our values when we’re going through a corporate wormhole.

Involve_He had just celebrated a milestone birthday, so we decided to combine our INVOLVE values day with a birthday celebration inspired by his fictional role model.

As he arrived at the office, our security guard and a business partner met him, dressed head to toe in Starfleet Bridge Officer uniform, who transported him to the ‘bridge’ of our very own Starship.

We’d decked the office in copious silver foil, lighting, props and some pretty impressive graphics and sound FX from our very own video & visual involvement pros (we’d spent most of the night before making sure it was perfect!)!

The fun and games went on as we set team-building missions like building a Lego Enterprise against the clock or translating an urgent Klingon message.

My personal favourite moment, and one of the most memorable for the whole team, was when Jeremy had to channel Picard (a when he has to lip sync battle the ape-like creatures of Flatulon 4 to save mankind in Next Generation) and lip sync battle to the Jungle Book! 

“Moments later I was ‘transported’ onto the bridge of a starship, slightly losing my already tenuous grip on reality and instantly reverting to my younger self. The results were impressive and my grin lasted all week”  Jeremy Starling, MD, INVOLVE

Make it So…”

Though it may appear that the day was all about fun and frolics, it was a valuable exercise in team building and internal engagement, too. It helped align the whole team with Jeremy’s leadership values, and by promoting what he admired most in Jean-Luc Picard and the way he led the Enterprise, showed us the kind of team he wanted to be part of.

For that day, we were all engaged employees – there was no hierarchy, no ivory tower. We walked the walk, and recognised in ourselves what we promote in every organisation we work with.

We were immersed in what it meant to be an Involver – and if that’s not involvement, well, we don’t know what is.

I think Jeremy was pretty happy with it too:

“These things can be so cheesy but this showed 110% effort from the whole team that made it cheese-free and a great experience. I was blown away, its right up there in my top 3 INVOLVE days ever and there have been some serious contenders!” Jeremy Starling, MD, INVOLVE

Happy Birthday, Jeremy. Live long and prosper!

Want to organise a values activation event in your organisation? We can help you inspire, mobilise and involve you team in a fun way, just like we did in our Star Trek themed day! Get in touch today to find out how…

Post author: Ashley Freeman.

Further reading via All Things IC

Research takes the measure of networked enterprises

Back to the future of communication

Free skills guide on crisis comms and social media

First published on the All Things IC blog 23 October 2015.

This article published 6 December 2015.

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