Values-Driven: What It Means (and Doesn’t Mean)
As creators of values-driven communication, all of us at M Creative sit with perfect posture, speak in delicate calibrations about all things ethical and good, never chew gum, always cheer respectfully for the opponents of our favorite sports team, and generally behave in a way more dignified than the ordinary public. Our shoes always shine, our thoughts are entirely unselfish, and sometimes you might even catch a glimpse of one of our halos. It’s not easy being the good guys, but we accept the burden without complaint, in a way so tender and fearless it should make you cry.
And if you believe all that, well, bless you. But if you’re ready to call our collective bluff—or better yet, if the uppity conceit in the above paragraph makes you a bit queasy—join us for drinks and laughs sometime at our favorite local pub. You’re probably our kind of gal or guy.
Being values-driven is something we take seriously, but we’re not a deadly serious group around here, and to be honest, the strength of our creativity is born from balance. No matter the project, our inclination is to examine and learn from every angle, valuing light and shadow, movement and stillness, Jacob and Edward. In lyrical poetry or salacious song lyrics, industrial skylines or pastoral countryside, we see values worth exploring. It is this perspective—listening to the heart, mind, soul, and gut—that steers our imaginative and strategic abilities and keeps our approach to every client’s project honest, candid, and thorough. We’re always reaching for design and language that is beyond merely clever, or eye-catching, or aimed at award panels. Because frankly, our clients are engaged in serious agendas. They have critical work to do. They depend on us not only to capture the attention of their constituents, but also to communicate with them meaningfully, straightforwardly, emotionally, and in a way that illuminates the fullness of their mission. So we can’t ever afford to be one-dimensional in our strategy, even if it’s one-dimensionally appealing. The specialty of M Creative is thinking broadly and deeply and with a confident equilibrium.
If this sounds a little too uncomplicated and grand, let me be the first to admit the process of our work is sometimes awkward and even argumentative. We don’t pretend any secret access to truth or easy attainment of perfect balance. It’s simply a goal we work toward—with passion and humility—and when we’re veering the wrong way, we almost always learn something from the detour that benefits our next phase of thinking.
M Creative is “values-driven” because the people who work here are. It’s not a moral stance but rather a philosophical aspiration. We have come together to form a business committed to themes that reflect how we want to live our lives—in good health and humor, among good friends, for good cause, and with as much focus as possible on the good work of others.
Over time, and through our relationships with visionary clients who are improving the world in countless and varied ways, we’ve learned a lot about our community and ourselves. Grappling with values-driven projects has influenced how we think about the impact of public policy, the needs of our personal health, trends in education, and the challenges facing the environment. We’ve learned more about mountains and rivers than we ever thought we would; we understand the complex and ever-changing role of technology in healthcare; we know how imperative responsible and effective fundraising is to the success of organizations committed to serving children, the poor, the dying, and other vulnerable populations.
Is this better than becoming intimately familiar with the ingredients and selling strategies of soda pop or blue jeans or SUVs? Well, no. Values-driven shouldn’t mean judgmental, and I can assure you that at M Creative it doesn’t mean ascetic. We happen to like soda pop on occasion, we love our favorite blue jeans, and at least one of us drives an SUV—albeit a small one. (One of us also drives a tractor, a couple of us tear up the miles on bicycles, another zips around town in one of the cutest, most fuel-efficient cars on the road, and yours truly once traveled far and wide in a beat-up Subaru wagon with over 300,000 miles on it. So we categorically reject any attempt to pigeonhole us by our automotive alliances.)
We love good design and smart communication, and we respect it wherever we see it. We enjoy and applaud the fine work of our competitors, always trying to learn from their most powerful messaging campaigns, regardless of the subject. We certainly don’t feel superior or more righteous because of the sort of projects that keep us busy. But we do feel rather lucky. There’s no denying that we recognize the privilege of our niche. It is undeniably a satisfying way to make a living—helping others make a positive difference in the world. We trust you’ll forgive us if we’re chewing gum in our blue jeans while we do it.