2019 has been an absolutely outstanding year at Ultimate. We have had the opportunity to work on some fantastic and totally unique projects that have excited and inspired the whole team in equal measure.
One thing that I’m most thankful for is the growth in our team. I’m happy to say that we have grown gradually in every single area of the company from Account Management, Digital Marketing, and Development to Copywriting and Design. It’s been an exciting 12 months! There is a tangible energy in the company, which comes with an injection of new blood.
Recently, I read a blog post written by our newest member of the Design team and really enjoyed looking at life at Ultimate from her perspective as she settled into her new role! It was fantastic to understand what made her tick and what really mattered at the start of her new journey.
I started at Ultimate back in 2004 (I know, that’s over 15 years ago... eeekkk!) So, I thought I’d dip into my own thoughts, at this time of major change for the company. So, what’s been the pull that’s seen me stay at Ultimate all this time? Often, creatives move on, taking side steps and forward leaps, but the thing about Ultimate is they have always stayed one step ahead of other agencies: enticing me with vibrant and diverse creative opportunities, which I just couldn’t miss the chance to get a slice of.
Working surrounded by genuinely fantastic creative people is in itself inspiring! Constant conversation, discussion and idea generation really spurs on your own imagination and creativity. It proves that when we are open to collaboration of any kind, when we let our experience and research flow between us (as well as trying to hunt inspiration down on our own) the possibilities are endless!
Our team encourages idea sharing, which we try to do every day. Getting together and talking is as much a part of working something out as actually hands-on doing it. That’s the part where you guide and channel thoughts to create something better at the end of it. We let ideas flow, question them, let them grow and evolve. There’s always a love for a bit of healthy competition: the fire in your belly wins the next opportunity and gets you noticed at the next big pitch, but within our Ultimate team we’re a tight-knit bunch and that fills all with a genuine pride.
So how do you get involved in something good and ride the wave while it keeps getting better and better? In all honesty, I believe it’s about reinvention: never letting your mind, ideas or output in any sense rust or get dull, bland or ordinary. Everything we do at Ultimate is the BEST it can be. We never rest on our laurels: we challenge briefs, dig deeper, but after the busiest days we know when to reset. We are always on the lookout for better, more meaningful and creative routes that really connect with our audience.
Something that I feel we’ve mastered over the years is a true understanding of branding which comes naturally and has way more heart when you truly live in your own brand. Every single thing we do as an agency comes from insight, experience and influence. Travel, culture, family, a sense of belonging, research, freedom to explore, team spirit and a hunger to learn all serves to keep us fresh, motivated and switched on. We have all had our own sessions with a performance coach, to further help to realise our full team potential; and all of this goes hand-in-hand with a drive for better.
Inspiration can come from anywhere! At an NUX conference in October, I was blown away by the energy and drive that the key speakers had. It was a Design conference, on User Experience, so they were talking our language, but the interesting part was how everything came back to the power of human understanding, in a massively tech-driven world. It’s this emotional connection to behaviour changing that really struck a chord with me and I think this quality is at the core of all of the most successful brands out there.
As an agency, we’ve grown, changed and adapted but running through the core has always been a drive. A vision created and led by our CEO Matthew Townsend, to genuinely live and breathe our strapline: ‘Enjoy life. Do great work.’It’s real, not forced or fake, and I stand by the fact that this culture is the spirit of Ultimate and it has always fuelled my drive to be part of an amazing creative journey.
It’s the evolution of team Ultimate that has made my career full of life, colour, exploration and reinvention. We run headlong into challenges and have proven time and time again that we will always punch above our weight. As an agency we are relentless, determined and focussed. We have been aiming for the best agency, not the biggest as a dedicated strategy for many years now, but if we look back, we’ve been living it all along.
Lisa Birchall Leedham,