Grey’s Culture of Creativity

Who knew it was possible to turn a small retail shop into one of the world’s most respected advertising agencies? Larry Valenstein and Arthur Fatt found this was possible when they turned their one-room retail store in the garment district of New York City into what is now known as Grey Advertising Agency, one of the most popular creative advertising agencies in the world. Since being founded in 1917, Grey has established a 96-country network as well as a second headquarter location in San Francisco. Grey is often recognized for the strength of their creative ideas. The agency was recently named Global Agency of the Year in 2013.

So, what is the key to keeping the creative team at Grey inspired? Culture. An official statement from the agency reads, “From where we are and how we work to who we admire and what inspires us, everything at Grey reflects a culture of creativity.” The agency supports a creative culture to encourage creativity among those who work at Grey.

One of the most unique events that Grey holds in their offices is the quarterly distribution of a Heroic Failures award. The award is given to someone who made a miraculous attempt at achieving a creative goal and has failed. Grey promotes the idea that it is better to attempt at doing something incredible and fail rather than not try anything at all. The creative culture embraces failure in order to emphasize the importance of getting back up and trying again and again. Persistence is a key to success.

In addition to the Heroic Failures award, Grey has several other ways in which they express the importance of the creative friendly culture in their agency. For example, on Thursday mornings from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. there will be no meetings held during that time. Those three hours are encouraged to be spent doing something new, challenging and creative. Any and all ideas can be posted on a giant corkboard in the office known as “the corkwall” in order to share the creativity with team members.

Other locations at Grey where people may go to conjure up some inspiration include the rooftop terrace, the health and wellness center and even a bed. There is a bed located inside of a glass room in the middle of Grey’s busiest work space. Some people do their best brainstorming while comfortably resting!

Grey works to maintain a creative culture so that people feel inspired to think outside of the box and share their creative ideas. Do you think working in this type of environment would spark your creativity?

– Hannah Turner