The following was originally shared as part of Theresa Agresta’s presentation on branding the Albany Capital Region at the Creative Economy Summit.
I was a fourth grade student at St. Joe’s Grade School in Toms River, New Jersey.
Every morning at St. Joe’s, we would have to wait out in the cold for the bell to ring. And, every morning, I would shiver in my plaid uniform and navy blue knee socks. I had to find a way to get warm!
I quickly realized that the best thing to do was to go into church. So, I left the playground, snuck up the back stairs and went to morning mass…every single morning. I would get there just in time for communion and, when my mother found out, she thought I was a saint!
A few days into my plot for warmth, a couple of my best friends started to quietly follow. Then, within a few weeks, the entire fourth grade was showing up. Before long, there were several hundred kids seeking sanctuary from the cold.
There was a reason Sister was poised to dismiss this disruptive pattern. She was well-aware that the behaviors of a group of people are what create the culture of an organization, and she wasn’t interested in this kind of change.
At CultureTalk, we begin by measuring culture. We do it by digging into Archetypes, the underlying beliefs and behaviors, the unwritten rules of engagement. We use the results to create strong brand messages and important culture shifts. Because, it’s not what we say that creates a brand; it’s what we do.
A brand is the experience we create collectively. It’s the common threads and themes that tie us all together. It’s the passion that gets you out of bed in the morning.
When CultureTalk branded the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, we set out to create a shift in awareness. The goal was to change the perceptions of the chamber as an organization that serves only the City of Saratoga Springs, to one that serves all of Saratoga County.
But, we saw that we couldn’t just say that things had changed. We needed to build the brand on real behaviors. In the end, the messaging created worked so effectively because it reflected the actual week-to-week activities of the chamber. It reflected true behavior.
| Theresa Agresta, Co-Founder CultureTalk
In order to build a successful brand for the creative economy in our eight-county Capital Region, we must do two things:
If we are going to be ambassadors for this region, we need to first make the investment in ourselves. Some questions to ask yourself:
I never expected anyone to follow me up the stairs. Yet, what I continue to find is that if you lead authentically, people will follow you.
I invite you to join me in climbing the back stairs. As we walk boldly toward a more collaborative future, shift your behaviors and help shift the culture of our region. Become an agent of transformation and participate in the growth of our creative economy.