Does the world really need another branding agency? What makes this one different? And what are we trying to accomplish here at States of Matter?
Throughout my career, I’ve worked at ad agencies small and large, as employee number three at a startup, and consulted for dozens of brand and design firms. I learned the most about culture as a consultant, the ultimate outsider. Like a coyote sitting unseen on the dark edge of the campfire, I watched and learned from other’s team dynamics. That perspective made me acutely aware of what I didn’t want in my own agency.
When it came time to define how I would run a brand agency, I had to be true to myself about what would keep me engaged as an owner so I could build something of real value.
I believe in the power of the Rule of Three, so I call this Health, Wealth and Wonder. This trio encompasses our “why” — why you would want to work here, or work with us to make your business better.
First, we have to take care of ourselves as individuals. We look for people who strive to be happy and balanced. It’s hard to have both of those at the same time. That requires making choices and taking responsibility. People who do that with certainty know what they want from life and take steps to achieve it.
The other part of this is my belief that if you are not a healthy person (or working toward it), then your team will not be healthy. So it’s important for us to hire people who bring a positive attitude to the work and a zest for solving tough challenges, in whatever form they may take.
We also want to be a healthy place to work, an environment that’s safe and promotes genuine care for each other. We take our vacations. We help each other out in noticing poisonous patterns. Sometimes we argue, but we always talk it out. We become stronger the more we work together, so we encourage the long view in our relationships.
Money. We all need it. It’s hard to earn, yet so very easy to spend. Wealth, on the flip side, is an abundance of valuable resources. A steady, patient accumulation of assets.
We’re a business, and we aim to be a sustainable one. That means creating wealth for our employees through well-paying, upper middle class jobs that afford the ability to put down roots and be supportive, productive members of our communities.
We’re also here to create wealth for our clients. They are businesses, too, and we take responsibility for the trust they’ve placed in us to help them meet their business goals. We will only be as successful as our clients are.
This is so important for creatives, and keeping the work fresh.
Wonder is everywhere. We have to be open to it, and know when to make a connection between disparate elements and apply it to our work. That’s concept. That is the lure for working with a good brand agency, and it’s what makes an innovative business model come to life.
So it’s our responsibility to seek out wonder. To click on the podcast that’s been in our queue the longest. To say yes to new experiences, especially when we’re tired and our defenses are down. To talk to the strangers and empathize with the unknowns.
Wonder has a way of finding you when you need it most.
That said, States of Matter isn’t a creative utopia and we struggle with Wonder and balancing its attainment with the daily work load. It helps that we have incredible people on our team with varied interests and strong wills. When they say, “We need to do this…” it's my job to listen and try to make it possible.
The H / W / W
Health, Wealth and Wonder. It’s worth noting that they build on each other. When we have all three working together, our organization functions at the top of Mr. Abraham Maslow’s pyramid — fulfilled, productive and impactful. That’s our intention with our culture here at States of Matter.