Five Years, Five Lessons 

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April 1st was Intelligent Ink’s fifth birthday – and with five fabulous years of Intelligent Ink-ing under her belt, director Christina Wedgwood has provided M+AD with some musings on five key things she has learnt.

“As I get ready to head off on maternity leave, it feels both a happy and sad occasion that I’ll be stepping away from this place for a while,” she writes. “But it’s a time for celebrating and reflecting, as we hit the huge milestone of Intelligent Ink’s fifth birthday.

“When the team asked me to think about and share the things I’ve learnt in the five years we’ve been doing this, I’m not sure what they were imagining I might come up with … There’s so much I could say, as the lessons are both endless and ongoing. But here are the most pertinent points that come to mind:

  Incredible people make all the difference
We’re a people-powered business that is only as good as the Inkers we hire, but I think that regardless of what we did, this sentiment would still hold up. Whether it’s people on the team, our clients or other influencers and partners, incredible people help to give purpose to what it is that we do.

People can say what they like about the world of business, but in my opinion, it’s just like life – it’s really all about relationships. The strength of some of the relationships we’ve built over the last five years have been, without doubt, instrumental in getting us to where we are today.

  Always do the right thing (and your best) by people
Leading on from the importance of relationships, and absolutely vital to that, is the driving motivation to always do your absolute best by people. Our success has been largely thanks to word-of-mouth and this absolutely would not have been possible if we weren’t committed to always doing our best. In fact, it would be safe to say that this has driven Intelligent Ink right from the start. We only hire people who are equally committed to this and it would be what I still consider our most enduring value.

Stemming perhaps from our unwavering perfectionism, but also from our genuine desire to put our best selves out there and assist our clients to do the same, we don’t do mediocre or ‘good enough’ – and this has become an important part of our legacy.

  Peanut butter and perks
Along with doing your best by people, you have to let them know how much you appreciate them. Do it all the time and don’t stop. Our Inkers are some of my favourite people in the world and are a huge part of the reason that I get up and go to work every morning. They continuously astound me with their commitment to our values, to what we’re building, and to their desire to do the best by each other and the people we work with.

Give praise where praise is due – everybody loves a pat on the back. Find out what’s important to the people around you and use that to spoil them, whether it be an endless supply of Pics peanut butter in the office, free lunchtime yoga on a Friday, or a ‘Jar of Joy’ to celebrate all the amazing things that happen day-to-day. These things become the cornerstone of our culture and, hopefully, fill the team with the same warmth when they think of this place, as what I have when I think of their contribution to building it.

  Research takes the ‘ass out of u and me’
Whether it’s Google searching a new client or catching up on the news for the day, there’s nothing more important than staying clued up on what’s going on around us. In this rapid and ever-changing environment, news, views and opinions can change quickly and it’s a must to stay in the loop – particularly on matters of importance to your day or immediate interactions.

Sometimes it’s all too easy to be racing from one task or meeting to the next, but it’s worth noting the huge merit found in taking the time to keep across what’s relevant – and especially when it helps you save face, demonstrate your skills and insight, or show you’ve done your research well at a new business meeting! There is nothing worse than feeling out of your depth, or looking like a dork, simply because you haven’t taken the time to check the news, read industry blogs or generally keep alert to your surroundings.

  Good content will always be important
The channels may change and, indeed, we already have seen plenty of change in the last five years – but the need for quality, well-written content that weaves a real story and makes us feel something will always exist. In a time when there is more and more information out there, more and more ‘noise’ – and with such easy access to it – a piece of writing that really resonates is becoming more difficult to find. It’s an exciting time to be a writer – especially if we continue to view what we do not just as a function, but as our craft – and however this industry evolves, you can bet that we’ll be there ready to offer up some intelligent ink.

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