“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
Poetic as Shakespeare’s words were, there’s an all-rounded truth in them even today: what we call ourselves does not determine who we really are.
But when you’re a brand, the name you give yourself carries a weight like no other.
You could be a consumer product company, a service or agency, an intermediary between others or simply a got-lots-to-give-the-world individual, and it is going to matter what you think of yourself and what you want others to think of you.
And you’re going to want it to show in every way possible; your “brand” is as personal as one catchphrase, one name, one employee or one character trait. Whether you’re conscious of its every instance, you’re constantly making decisions to make sure that your name means what it’s supposed to mean. But we know that what we call ourselves is not who we really are - so who are we?
The literary roundabouts of names aside, we’re talking about the shape and form of your business as an indicator of who or what you really are. What does the structure of a business or start-up have to do with its appearance? And does it really matter how you organise work if you can get it done?
First, organisational structure is everything. Having a self-consciousness of structure means you think deeply about the tools and ladders in your projects. It's a sign to others that want those tools and ladders to have purpose. So, structure is also key to determining what kind of employees want to join you.
Second - how you organise directly shapes the work that you can get done. And in our current times, we think a studio model is the way to go.
- It’s a mindset, not a work description: Oh, your company isn’t a studio? Banish the hesitation. Your work does not have to include oil-painters or sculptors who slave every day in a well-lit warehouse. On the items of organisational hierarchies, task duties, meeting recurrences, project steps and work culture, a studio model is a decentralising model. It is a commitment to building things together, deprioritising the fixed nature of work roles, and making sure every product and project has the best inputs from all directions.
- It gives work-from-home its due: The pandemic has shaken the traditional structures of being, thinking, travelling and working in a way that may just be for the better in some cases. Ownership and responsibility become harder to tackle, because your office is no longer physical - it’s virtual. You can’t monitor your team the way you used to. So, a studio model transfers responsibility onto the individual team member - through its centering of tasks as opposed to work descriptions, it allows people to rise to their individual challenges in a way that makes ownership a work value. Being online means making time for your job in a way that fits neatly into your schedule at home. A studio model allows for capacity-building that conveniences all.
- It makes the individual pivotal: Related to the previous point, a studio model treats its employees as agents in their own right. It understands the diverse abilities of each individual, doesn’t subject them to meaningless hierarchies, and brings out their potential in the places where it can go furthest. For instance, a content executive can spearhead the creative direction in one area, and provide subsidiary guidance in another, allowing them to prioritise projects with an optimal combination of time, energy and quality.
- It equalises contribution and encourages team spirit: One of the features of a studio model is the structure of team meetings, or what we like to call “stand-ups.” Akin to the entertainment standups of talent shows, a weekly team standup brings everyone face-to-face with each other to see what one has in store. Everyone is allowed to bear upon the proceedings, understand better processes from each other, address challenges one may be facing and make decisions together. The studio model allows everyone to feel connected, and also provides a look into the productivity levels that each person brings to the table every week.
- Its fluidity increases communication, instead of confusing it: Because of how accountable the individual becomes to the business, they gain an internal importance to constant communication. The fluid nature of their role becomes a chance to shape their own efforts as far as they possibly can. The traditional business model has set hierarchies and set work-expectations in a way that doesn’t allow the same kind of output. You could be a design head with wonderful ideas on the communication aspect of your work, but your ability to provide that kind of suggestion is passively discouraged by your work silo. In a studio model, there is an active encouragement of wearing more hats than one. Your desire to contribute and make your ideas more important than your job description is allowed a platform.
A rose by another name would smell just as sweet, but tending to its individual petals is what makes it a natural work of art. This is the crux of a studio model - the belief that each component is a valuable part of your success. While this is a professional virtue, we’re speaking from a practiced and personal setting. At Lights Out Studio, we disavow the traditional structure of businesses and agencies to adapt to the changing needs of our clients, as well as the changing potential of our team members.
We think from the perspective of studios, make specialists and strategists out of each our team members, and workshop our ideas together for the greatest mix possible. We don’t just know that the studio structure works - we’re consciously dedicating ourselves to its success.