Recently, I spent some time at Creative Mornings Boston, a monthly lecture series designed specifically for the local creative community. It’s a good opportunity to step away from clients and deadlines and learn from talented writers, designers and other creative types working around the city. At this particular event, the session’s theme focused on ethics. Fungai Tichawangana, a Harvard fellow, founder of ZimboJam.com and a native Zimbabwaean, talked about the ethical need to present differing perspectives in any story.
His story, in particular, was fascinating. In 2008, Tichawangana’s country was wracked by inflation. Daily needs, such as loaves of bread, reached prices as high $300 or $400, and it became difficult for even middle-class families to afford basic necessities.
As Tichawangana noted, though, people still needed to live and enjoy their lives during this time. He created ZimboJam.com, a website dedicated to art and culture in Zimbabwe, to show the world the other side of Zimbabwe’s economic crisis – people creating art and advancing Zimbabwe’s culture as a means of fighting their struggles and coping with their frustrations. In short, he solved a complicated problem with a creative solution, and gave people a much-needed outlet for expression.
Why storytellers matter Following Tichawangana’s session, I spoke with other Boston-based creative professionals about their jobs. After a few conversations – one with an interior designer, a couple with marketing students and another with a graphic designer – I remembered why events like Creative Mornings Boston are so important. Everyone has a story to tell, and creatives help people tell their stories clearly and completely. No story comes with just one point of view. And, spending time with other professionals doing similar work to my own drove home an important aspect of the ethical commitment I have to my clients. At the core of my job is storytelling. I work with my team and our clients to identify compelling, relatable perspectives and amplify them through e-books, blogs, contributed articles, case studies and other content. The reality, though, is each form of content is tied to a larger campaign, and specific goals determine every campaign’s success.
The ethics of client service Like anyone else working in a customer-facing industry, I need to remember what I’m ultimately trying to accomplish. The value of my work doesn’t boil down to just generating sales calls, new leads or new Twitter followers. Instead, I am part of a team that develops and nurtures the faces and voices of other businesses. Our ethical undertaking is two-fold:
Firstly, we need to treat our work with tremendous care and commitment. Clients sometimes put their dreams and their futures in our hands. That demands an unwavering focus on quality. It means slowing down sometimes, asking questions and getting it right.
Secondly, we need to understand the people consuming our content. In the B2B space, end users and clients often have similar needs. Both own and manage businesses. Prospects read our clients’ content to learn and help their organizations. Speaking to them doesn’t call for sales pushes. Instead, we need to understand their problems, frustrations, ambitions and even fears. We need to show them how our clients can help make their days a bit easier, their dreams a bit more attainable.
I look forward to coming to work, and it’s because of these responsibilities that I enjoy it. Working on a team full of people with the same commitment to quality, ethical work and premium client service makes it worth it. And in my perspective, upholding ethics doesn’t just mean doing the right thing all the time. For me, it means remembering why you’re doing it in the first place.
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