Embrace the boring until you find it interesting

This idea from Bernie de Koven got me thinking.

I opine that work is in fact, already fun. That attempts to make it more fun through the use of awards and rewards, parties and dress-down days lead to something significantly less than fun. And that rather than finding ways to make work more fun, we should be looking for the things in the corporate culture that are standing in the way of the fun that is available to people who spend their days truly engaged in their work.

I think it’s a very easy trap for anyone working with groups to see their role as bringing some fun into organisations. I have been on both ends of that error, more than once.

It reminded me of a conversation I had earlier this week with Huw Sayer. The gist is that ad agencies often see their job as adding some much needed glamour to products, services and organisations that are, obviously, dull. A lot of marketing directors, flitting as they do from one company to the next, operate on the same glib assumption.

It would be better to show more respect for everyone working in the company to dig down for what is worthwhile and interesting in what they do, and work with that.

A pet peeve of mine, for example, is how Nationwide Building Society would lazily sponsor football. Here is an organisation that – especially as a mutual not obsessed with shareholder value – that could exemplify responsible, imaginative financial advice. Instead, it aligns itself with the most spendthrift, financially incontinent industry possible. It was as if they were ashamed of what they really did for a living and needed to change the subject. Even now, they seem to just claim to be a slightly cuddlier version of the high street banks. I’ve always thought there is far more exciting territory available to them, or any other mutual, that is all about what they are, or should be, experts in. Goodness knows there are millions of people in the country in need of better financial support and advice, currently pray to loan sharks and payday companies. Surely Nationwide could tackle that instead of emptily and narcissistically slapping the advertising glamour on?

I used to work in financial advertising. Sadly, nowhere were agencies more certain of how boring the services were and how much they were in need of Ade Edmondson or Ridley Scott’s talents to glam them up. I’m not sure things are any better these days.

Which maybe why this is the first time in just ages I’ve written a post with the Branding category.

Incidentally, Viv and I have lately got quite interested in playing improv games until they feel like they’ve become quite boring… and then consciously commiting to carrying on. At which point, they usually become really interesting surprisingly fast.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *