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How to make company culture stick

Posted by Tyler Vawser on

  • About Unified: Unified delivers technology and services to connect marketing data sets and optimize investments across the customer journey. Unified’s software empowers Fortune 500 companies and agencies to drive marketing success in the context of their business goals. The Unified Platform transforms fragmented marketing data into actionable intelligence and real-time activation.
  • How they use stickers: Stickers serve as a cultural element to represent teams, new product releases, and track training progress for new hires.
  • Results: Unified has been named a "Best Place to Work" by AdAge, NYC Business, and others.

We use Sticker Mule stickers for many different things, and all of them bring a unique aspect of fun to the culture here.

How do you create and continually develop a great company culture? That’s what Jesse Channon found himself asking when he joined Unified. As the SVP of Revenue at Unified, Jesse uses a simple, yet surprising way to bring teams together, recognize great work, and onboard new employees: custom stickers.

He ditched the stale, conventional methods that other companies use (think trust falls and awkward team building exercises) for a creative method to drive achievement and camaraderie.

Jesse’s idea to use stickers first came from the many different versions of the Github Octocat.

Stickers as culture

At Unified, stickers are used as a cultural element.

"We use Sticker Mule stickers for many different things, and all of them bring a unique aspect of fun to the culture here. It's a fun internal game."

The company collects and connects fragmented marketing data in actionable insights for Fortune 500 companies. It has grown quickly and serves hundreds of customers. Most recently, they secured $30 million dollars in Series B funding.

That success has meant a growing number of employees. 140 people on various teams are spread across the U.S. in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Growing companies and startups often fight over top talent by offering benefits that "one up" the competition (think yoga, free massages, and pet friendly offices). And while Unified offers a range of competitive benefits, it has found that small ideas, like this one, can create a culture that sticks.

Team members place die cut stickers and transfer stickers on their laptops, monitors, bags, and coffee mugs to show them off.

All in all, StickerMule has helped Unified to have some of the best laptop art in the industry.

Jesse and the Executive Team share the five key ways stickers are making a company culture that sticks:

1. Team Representation

Many of the teams have designed their own stickers to signify and represent who they are. Some designs are mascots, "totem" animals, and completely random creations. Although the team stickers have clear representation (the sales team's custom sticker is distinct from the account management team's), designers hide easter egg messages and secret meanings known only to their fellow team members.

2. Product Releases

Towards the end of a project, Project Managers will design a sticker that best defines the new feature or product and the benefits it delivers to the customer. Many times the initials of team members, or other personal touches are hidden within the stickers. These product releases serve as a way to recognize the work of individuals and teams.

3. Training Qualifications

As stickers have filled the laptops of seasoned staff, new hires will soon get their own. A new series of training stickers will show qualifications and accomplishments in several different areas. In particular, these will signify expertise in certain products and areas for the sales and account management teams.

4. Office Locations

With four offices, Unified has team members spread out across different cities. It's common for sticker swaps to take place when one team visits another. This can create perspective and encourage conversations about other team members around the world.

Jesse shares, "I'm often traveling back and forth between Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. It’s amazing to see how stickers have spread from one location to another."

5. Conferences & Hackathons

Jesse has also seen stickers designed for specific conferences and hackathons (a multi-day event when teams meet to engage, collaborate, and develop). The design may represent the theme of the event, location, and date.

"It's created a fun environment that makes others ask, 'What is it that they have?'"

It’s ingrained as part of the culture here, something we’ll continue doing into the future.

Building a sticky culture

Jesse is proud of starting the sticker craze here. He’s often asked by new hires if he is "the guy with the stickers". Lately, he’s been repurposing Banksy art (he’s a huge Banksy fan) and customizing them to a team.

The stickers have served an external purpose as well. The stickers often are an easy conversation starter. Customers and clients will ask about them in meetings. And sometimes, clients will ask for a sticker of the more original designs.

"It’s ingrained as part of the culture here, something we’ll continue doing into the future."

If you think stickers could help build your company culture, why not start today with $10 off your first order. Just sign up by clicking the button below.

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