A cap­i­tal steeped in cul­ture – Cap­i­tal fu­eled by cul­ture

Switch hosts pres­ti­gious ICOM meet­ing in Malta

The Malta Business Weekly - - NEWS -

In­spired by the des­ig­na­tion of its host city as the Eu­ro­pean Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture for 2018, the ICOM net­work of in­de­pen­dent ad­ver­tis­ing and mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion agen­cies met in Malta for their EMEA re­gional meet­ing which made the jux­ta­po­si­tion of “cul­ture” and “cap­i­tal” as the cen­tre­piece of the agenda.

Hosted by ICOM mem­ber Switch, one of Malta’s lead­ing mar­ket­ing agen­cies, the meet­ing in­cor­po­rated ses­sions that ex­plored how a com­pany’s cap­i­tal de­pends on its peo­ple and there­fore com­pany cul­ture is es­sen­tial for busi­nesses to keep in mind. The meet­ing served as an op­por­tu­nity for ICOM mem­bers to come to­gether to meet and share ex­pe­ri­ences, suc­cess­ful ini­tia­tives and ideas for en­rich­ment in or­der to stay at the top of their game.

“Since our city was hon­oured as the Eu­ro­pean Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture for 2018, we felt com­pelled to host this im­por­tant meet­ing for ICOM and equally im­por­tant to fo­cus on Cul­ture as our theme,” said Richard Mus­cat Az­zopardi, Switch CEO. “A great com­pany cul­ture is the one fac­tor that helps make com­pa­nies and agen­cies more at­trac­tive to top tal­ent. It’s very per­ti­nent to us as an agency be­cause we help our clients work on com­pany cul­ture as part of our brand con­sul­tancy.”

In an in­no­va­tive move, a first in ICOM’s 67 years of an­nual meet­ings, Switch opted to ex­tend the reach of the meet­ing to non-ICOM mem­bers through two panel dis­cus­sions. As Mus­cat Az­zopardi ex­plained: “We were go­ing to have some of the top global minds in the mar­ket­ing in­dus­try on our is­land, so we thought it would be the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to have them share some of their knowl­edge with our clients and lo­cal in­dus­try lead­ers.”

Two top­ics were dis­cussed by sep­a­rate pan­els, both led by the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of ICOM Emma Keenan and Group chief ex­ec­u­tive of Gol­ley Slater David Long­den.

The first panel delved into The Cap­i­tal in Cul­ture – an ex­plo­ration of the value of com­pany cul­ture in tal­ent ac­qui­si­tion and reten- tion. A heated dis­cus­sion be­tween pan­el­lists and the au­di­ence high­lighted the fact that com­pany cul­ture is like a gi­ant game of Jenga, with all the fancy perks right at the top. Bean­bags and bil­liard ta­bles are all given great vis­i­bil­ity be­cause they’re easy wins, but if they’re not rest­ing on the foun­da­tion of clear goals, aligned lead­er­ship and em­ployee own­er­ship, it will all come tum­bling down in no time.

The sec­ond panel ex­plored Chang­ing Cul­tures. Par­tic­i­pants here weighed in on how to keep up with ever-chang­ing cul­tures and how to get clients on board when you do. The in­ter­net, so­cial me­dia, smart­phones, AI and the In­ter­net of Things have all turned story- telling up­side-down and taken us back to a more in­ti­mate, one-to-one form of con­ver­sa­tion.

Hear­ing dif­fer­ing opin­ions on this from lead­ers in dif­fer­ent ver­ti­cals, in­clud­ing gam­ing, re­tail, real es­tate, tech and F&B among oth­ers, was both in­spir­ing and thought-pro­vok­ing.

One of the par­tic­i­pants, David Long­den, ICOM Europe Re­gional di­rec­tor In­ter­na­tional Op­er­a­tions and Group CEO, Gol­ley Slater Lon­don said: “A strong com­pany brand that has real ap­peal and own­er­ship works best when all em­ploy­ees un­der­stand and buy into what their com­pany does, its pur­poses and goals, and how those are car­ried out by ev­ery mem­ber of the team as guided by com­pany cul­ture. The key words are “ev­ery mem­ber” – all of us must walk the walk all the time, ev­ery time. Any time one of us lets this slip, our cul­ture be­comes weaker.”

The three-day event also in­cluded panel de­bates and guest speak­ers, in­clud­ing Ed Mus­cat Az­zopardi, Switch di­rec­tor of Brand, who spoke about the im­por­tance of brand for com­pany cul­ture and Marc von Brock­dorff, co-founder of Hot­jar, who spoke on how Hot­jar man­aged to foster com­pany cul­ture in an or­gan­i­sa­tion that works ex­clu­sively with re­mote em­ploy­ees.

An­other panel par­tic­i­pant Christophe Levyfve, ICOM Europe re­gional di­rec­tor In­ter­nal Op­er­a­tions and owner-CEO, Netco Group, spoke about the chal­lenges in fos­ter­ing a con­sis­tent cul­ture when work­ing with staff in three dif­fer­ent cities.

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