Culture – it ain’t a foosball table, folks.

As a former “hungry college grad” desperate for a job in advertising, I can’t tell you how many agency websites I visited that shouted about their “unique” culture from the rooftops. It doesn’t stop within the shop – just google “agency culture” and find thousands of think-pieces on the topic. It all starts to sound the same, and quite frankly can get exhausting.

So you can imagine my surprise when I jumped into the day-to-day at KW2 and found out that agency culture isn’t a B.S. term thrown around by people trying to nail a pitch. It’s a real thing, and it matters. At KW2, it means living and breathing our three core values: positivity, endless self-improvement, and authentic relationships.

#1: Positivity

As a digital project manager, my job is to both manage our internal smarties (UX designers, digital strategists, designers, etc.) and the client’s needs. The details change day-to-day and project to project, but positivity is the constant: approaching every problem with the belief that we can (and will!) fix it makes it easier for our team, both internal and client-side, to deliver killer solutions to complex digital problems.

#2 Endless Self-Improvement

If I’m not working day in and day out to make myself better, I’m failing my clients and my co-workers. By focusing on continuing to improve both my digital knowledge and expand my horizons, be it in digital communications, marketing, or even in business, I’m making KW2 a better agency partner and a better place to work. It’s a no-brainer.

#3 Authentic Relationships

This one is my favorite, for selfish reasons: I work best when I can be transparent with my clients. But we take this a step further at KW2: authentic relationships doesn’t just mean honesty. It means integrity in how we treat our clients and each other. It means taking pride in making great work – collaboratively, with the target in mind, with no stone left unturned in developing the right strategy for the project. It means the confidence to say “I don’t know, but I’m going to find out” when you’re asked a question you can’t answer. It means there’s not room for ego. And sometimes it even means having the tough conversations, and saying no.

Agency culture isn’t having a beer fridge or a “bring your dog to work” day. Culture is a set of values that drives how you treat your clients and how you work together. It’s how you know you’re going to walk in, every day, with a smile on your face, a cup of coffee in your hand and a desire to keep getting better. Without our core values, KW2 would just be a place where I show up every day and make decent websites. And I’d much rather embrace our culture–and make a great one.