In Our Work | By Hothouse Marketing

Why Would Anyone Follow You?

July 31, 2017

I was fortunate enough to attend the Trans Canada Advertising Agency Network conference in Vancouver last month, hosted by our friends at Elevator Strategy and DDB Canada. One of my highlights was a presentation (and great lunch at Joe Fortes) with Keith Reinhardt. Keith is the Chairman Emeritus of DDB Worldwide, a Clio Lifetime achievement recipient, and a member of the Advertising Hall of Fame. You might recognize some of his lines, “You deserve a break today at McDonald’s” or “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.”

We were expecting a lot of creative talk. But what we heard was a brilliant presentation on the importance of culture. People are more loyal to a culture. Cultures can’t be copied. Culture provides better discipline. And cultural miscues are more damaging. And as Peter Drucker says, “culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

Here at Hothouse, we work hard on our culture. It’s not that we strive for homogeneity, but rather diversity with common purpose and values. So, we try to gather the brightest and then create an environment to flourish. We believe to do so, you need to provide three things: a sense of place, a sense of purpose, and a voice to be heard. This is the basis of good leadership and answers the question “why would anyone follow you.”

But common purpose and values can only go so far. We believe that to succeed culture needs to be defined by action; that words without work is for naught. So, we have created “House Rules” to guide our daily activity. They look like this and are as important to our clients as to us:

We are measured by our actions and our words as individuals. And it is the sum of our individual efforts that define us as a company.

This is who we are:

We are hardworking, caring and committed. We respect people, the planet and our inalienable right to live prosperous and happy lives.

We grow and prosper by demonstrating the discipline to live each day by some very simple principles. These are the rules we live by here:

  1. We do what we say we are going to do.
  2. We do things when we say we are going to do them.
  3. We always do our best – even when we don’t want to.
  4. We recognize that the timeliness and quality of our work affects others – so we get it done and don’t sit on things.
  5. We stand up for our work, but are respectful of clients – after all it’s their money.
  6. We do great work and we charge accordingly – our collective jobs and personal well-being is dependent on it.
  7. We do sweat the small stuff.
  8. We are firm but fair with colleagues and ourselves. We hold each other accountable for our words and actions.
  9. We are all responsible for the success of this company and the security of our own jobs. We all look for and participate in new business activities.
  10. We try and have fun.
  11. We are always there for each other – to lend a hand, support and encouragement.
  12. We always remain true to our values – doing the right thing even when it isn’t easy.


If you haven’t looked at your company culture, it’s time. It is not only good business providing a great ROI. It’s the right thing to do and will provide you and your team with a fantastic ROH (return of happiness).