The great Havas Community
As every Thursday for the past 4 weeks, I sit at my desk to write this article reporting on my HavasLofts experience. Usually I like the exercise but the difference is that this week is…my last week. And I am asked to tell very shortly « my experience as a whole ». Well, good luck with that.
Well let’s be short: this experience is simply amazing. I wish I could stop here and enjoy fully my very last day but I guess I have to be a little more insightful. So I will share with you my biggest takeaways — even If I feel I am still processing what I saw / learnt / felt.
For those of you who read my previous articles I guess you got it : the key word at Havas Chicago is CULTURE. Havas Chicago « reinvigorates iconic brands through cultural relevance ». Of course I got to understand the implications of this philosophy and was impressed to see how everything the company does — every business decision, internal policy and public statement — is congruent with that mission, putting culture at the heart. Culture really is everywhere. But to me, the real point is that this « cultural » environment creates & strengthens the Havas Chicago community. And this is this very community that creates value both internally …and externally.
TO ME THE KEY WORD IS COMMUNITY.
Doing the HavasLofts Program reminds me the importance and the strength of a community.
First, from a personal point of view: I experienced the Havas Community.
As a New Business consultant in the Paris office, I spend my days talking about the Havas Group and its giant network. « Havas is one of the largest networks operating in over 100 countries with more than 20,000 people ». I learned this sentence by heart — since part of my job is to make sure people understand the strength of working for / with a global brand. But actually you only get it…once you experience it.
Let me tell you a short story. As I went to NYC for a week-end visiting some friends, I couldn’t get back to Chicago because of serious flash floods. I got stuck there for more than 3 days. Well as soon as my team in Chicago got informed they put me in contact with the NY’s team. One email later, I was offered a place at the NYC’s office. Heading there, I didn’t even cross the street yet and I got the Havas wifi signal on my phone. Entering the building I could recognize every Havas brand’s attribute : its logo, the red color of the walls, the reception desk, the furniture (…). Every detail was different but yet felt so familiar. I felt home and safe even If were literally across the world.
Well, this experience taught me 2 things. First, never to take Spirit Airlines again. Never. Secondly, remember how powerful is a community.
COMMUNITY IS THE FIRST AND FOREMOST UNIVERSAL NEEDS.
In its wider definition « community » means « a group of people with a common characteristic or interest ». Community is one of the most basics needs. Well, this experience reminds me how powerful & universal is the need of belonging to a community: people hungry for a sense of connection. A sense of belonging. We all feel the need to fit into a « tribe » that share the same interests and values as we do. And it is even more powerful when it comes to business…
COMMUNITY DRIVES ENGAGEMENT.
Community drives employee’s engagement
Communities that drive an authentic form of engagement are built through shared & willing participation. To me, Havas Chicago really managed to create a strong internal community. One of the agency’s value here is « all in » and you definitely feel it. People are recruited for their « social mentality and their culture fit ». People are « all in » because they learn and gain inspiration from like minded people. Moreover, in the everyday life, the Agency puts great effort to nourish a strong community spirit organizing frequents cultural & internal events, establishing weekly rituals (e.g. : Thursday is the Ice Cream day, Friday the Beer cart day…) and — last but not least — by branding every day life products (mugs, bags, shirts…) that people are proud to wear ! Havas Chicago aimed to create a tribe and it works ! This is the internal community who nourish the cultural & social environment. People are proud to belong to this community and they show it on social media. Clients can feel / experience this community spirit. Eventually when it comes to Havas Chicago, one sure thing is that this very community drives business.
…and consumer engagement.
Community is not a new thing when it comes to branding strategy. For the past years, modern marketers have put the idea of « community » at the heart of the their strategy. People will join a brand community because they like its products / services & they can identify themselves in the brands values. Eventually the brand becomes part of their characteristic / their personality. But with the rise of social media, an engaged brand community has become even more the ultimate asset. The community creates the content to fuel social, to fuel the brand itself. Indeed, by allowing people to share content about them & about brands — on what they like and dislike — social media have made those communities even more relevant. In establishing its community, a brand can look to grow and evolve with the expectations and needs of its most valuable customers. Eventually, communities are driving an authentic form of engagement and loyalty. The community is what makes the brand relevant, alive.
For this reasons, my biggest takeaways is about community. Community can make all the difference in maintaining both talents & clients. At the end, to me, entering a Havas office miles away from home — both in NYC or in Chicago — was just like entering a Starbucks coffee for a frequent consumer. It felt home.
So of course I am heavy hearted to leave the Havas Chicago’s community but I know that I going back home is going back to my Havas Paris’s community.
Same but different. Thank you Havas (Worldwide).