To think, that when Scott and Andrew sat at that bar one fortuitous evening eight years ago that they’d actually have the courage to go through the business proposition that was discussed. The initial plan was scratched onto a bar napkin for goodness sake!
Nevertheless, in 2012, Water & Wall was founded on a limited budget with unlimited potential. Since then, the agency has accomplished more than what could have been imagined at that bar near the corner of Water & Wall streets in New York City’s Financial District. Fast forward to today, it was time for another change and so we’ve launched the new Water & Wall brand experience with an eye on 2020 and beyond.
In this months-long process, we took our own medicine and put into practice some of the advice we regularly dispense to clients. Here’s what we learned:
Don’t be afraid to rethink everything.
On a fundamental level, we’re the same smart, growth-minded, business advocate that our clients and prospects need. Everything we’ve done on their behalf, to this point, we can call a success. Sure, there have been course corrections along the way, but at our core, the agency’s approach to the game got us to where we are today. For that we’re proud! While we’re always evaluating the best path to success, it was time for us to reconsider, or rethink, how we might get there.Among the questions we asked – the answers to which we can’t share because, well, secret sauce and all: What capability do we want to own in the market in the next five years that we might not already? In other words, we want the agency’s work to be synonymous with what exactly? What is the one thing we’ve done that we don’t want to repeat? How do we keep our people happy, with consideration toward what the next generation will want?
Reinvent only when and if it makes sense.
There are books – we know because we’ve read them – that talk about reinvention as if it’s a radical often necessary exercise to evolve in any business environment. Yes, we agree with the “necessary” part and, sure, we’re learning with the frequency we drink coffee, but unless you make a concerted effort to plan how you want to apply that knowledge and change the way you do something, there isn’t a chance you will. Let us be clear in that change isn’t so much doing everything different. There’s plenty that will remain the same about us and in fact it’s from the old ways that we’ve come up with new ideas.Author and retirement scholar Marc Freedman once wrote in Harvard Business Review that some of the most successful entrepreneurs, “weave together accumulated knowledge with creativity, while balancing continuity with change, in crafting a new idea that’s almost always deeply rooted in earlier chapters and activities.”
Reengage stakeholders in a meaningful way.
We had become so focused on our clients and moving their brands forward that we forgot about our own. Our industry peers know full well what this is like. In this brand recharge as we’ve called it, we’ve forced ourselves to reengage with the people who matter most to the future of this business in a way we’ve yet to do so. We’re marketers who had to market. For starters, we’re better as of right now at broadcasting what we do at headquarters and on the road for our colleagues and our clients. That means timely and topical social media dispatches, among other things. You should follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram.Second, our employees are being equipped with the resources to truly serve as brand ambassadors for and brain power of the agency. Whether it’s us financing their involvement in professional networking groups or investing the time in their continued education, we’ve learned that by broadening their horizons we’ve broadened our own.
Ultimately, the future of this agency comes down to one simple concept and that’s humility. Now, while he meant it in the context of man versus machine, author Edward D. Hess once wrote, “To stay relevant, we human beings need to excel at doing those skills that technology won’t be able to do well: higher order critical thinking, creativity, innovation and high emotional engagement with other humans.”
You’d think he was describing the best things about Water & Wall.