Quiet Drives, Creative Conversation & Kronos

When I was growing up, my father sometimes took me for evening drives through the small Vermont towns near our house. I loved those twilight hours, when the lights blinked on but curtains hadn’t yet been closed in the farmhouses we passed—I’d catch a glimpse inside and imagine the lives being lived there.

A few months ago, I attended my first IHAF Regional Roundtable, hosted by Kronos Incorporated. They gave attendees an inside look at their creative team, their philosophy and their process. For me, an ever-curious storyteller (and associate creative director), it was nearly as much fun as those childhood rides down country roads.

Here’s some of what I discovered:

Confidence Breeds Collegiality. Kronos was the ultimate host. Not only did they speak candidly about their successes and their challenges, they literally threw open their doors and toured us through their beautiful new space. To me, this kind of openness stems from confidence in their abilities and in their work.

Words Matter. The creative team at Kronos doesn’t have internal clients—they have Requestors and Stakeholders. This distinction might seem like semantics at first, but it can change interdepartmental dynamics and the mutual understanding of relationships in a positive way.

Culture Club. My impression is that corporate culture is explicitly discussed, nurtured and widely understood at Kronos. Phrases like “no have-nots” (meaning, office space and resources are distributed evenly), “consensus-based” and “own your own time” came up time and again. At CJP, we’re also a very consensus-based culture, though we have benefitted greatly from implementing a RAPID decision-making model. Now we have clarity from the outset on who will make Recommendations, who needs to Agree, who will Perform the work, who gives Input and who will make the final Decision.

What to Keep, What to Send Out. Kronos outsources their production work to vendors and keeps Tier 1 and Tier 2 jobs in house. This approach signals that they value their in-house staff and trust their expertise. Additionally, they consider outside vendors as extended staff, working with them closely and appreciatively. I’m guessing this may be the key to their high productivity and low turnover rates.

Nonprofits Are at Home with IHAF. Coming from the nonprofit sector, I expected to be a minority of one at the IHAF Roundtable event. I was happily surprised to find teams from City Year, Boston University, Bentley University and WGBH. Whether you’re trying to market software or a physical product or the good feeling that comes from contributing to a worthy cause, what we all have in common as marketers far outweighs our differences.

If You Get the Chance, Go! We’re lucky to have an organization like IHAF that offers in-house agency professionals with opportunities to network, learn and try new ideas. I’m marking my calendar now for the IHAF Conference & Awards Show on November 8-9. Hope to see you there!

Thank you, Joan, for your vivid reflections and your endorsement of IHAF! Do you have key learnings to share from an IHAF event you attended or a tale to tell about your in-house team? Get in touch. We love hearing from the people and personalities that comprise our exuberant, eclectic member community.

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