When two companies merge together there is an inevitable element of risk.
I don’t just mean from a financial or reputational perspective but, more importantly perhaps, for the employees for whom this is a massive and often unexpected change. A merger doesn’t just mean a shiny new name and brand. It affects everything! From the length of an employee’s commute through to who they work alongside and everything in-between.
I recall the initial conversations around Narrative’s potential merger with Different. They seem a long time ago! I know these things are rarely a quick process, but throw a global pandemic into the mix and it makes for a much more complicated world.
But we got here! And this blog is really about looking back, celebrating how far we have come and our bold ambitions for the future.
What have we achieved together?
Well we have brought together two complementary teams of people, all experts in their fields. We’ve added a sprinkle of fresh new talent and worked really hard to create and maintain a positive, grown up and genuinely happy culture with real opportunities for everyone.
On paper this seemed like an easy task. We were two very similar agencies, albeit with a slightly different mix of specialisms. However, until you really get under the bonnet, and physically merge two separate teams into one, you never quite know how things will pan out.
Both teams met up in early 2021 for our inaugural full team meeting at what is now the Different Narrative office. This was the first time we had all met and, for many of the Narrative staff, it was our first look at our new ‘home’.
Inevitably, this first team bonding session ended up at the pub where we all got to know each other over several beers. This trend, funnily enough, seems to have continued since! Pay day beers are now at the heart of the Different Narrative social calendar!
Creating the best of both
Since that day, despite several periods of enforced working from home due to the pandemic, we’ve made such huge strides in bringing the two teams together.
Yes, there has been an element of give and take, but we’ve brought the best ways of working from both sides. We’ve thrown out old systems and brought in completely new ones. We’ve created internal committees, introduced our first DNA academy, embedded new values and shared our vision and huge ambitions for the future with the full team.
And all this whilst continuing to deliver outstanding work for our clients – new and old.
We’ve eaten pizzas to celebrate successes. We’ve shared the lows of losing out on pitches we had our hearts set on. Our Different Narrative WhatsApp group is forever pinging with amusing memes, pics of weekend beers and general silliness. We’ve sent over 300 high fives to each other since October 2021 via Hive HR, our employee engagement tool. We do really like each other a lot.
Hand on heart I think that the creation of Different Narrative, our bold, united and ambitious agency, has been our very own ‘change for good’.
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