The idea of interviewing colleagues on a Monday morning about what they enjoy about their work, would normally be a bad one. However at BlueChief Social there is no such thing as a bad idea, so I interviewed all of the team about what it is like to be a part of their company, working within the company culture, and their thoughts on social media.
They echoed each other in many ways, when they spoke about individuality, personality, work ethic, and love of the job.
This is not an average company. They deviate from the standard, this deviation doesn’t just exist in their processes and methods of work: it thrives in the mind-set of the team.
Chief Design Officer Charlene
Charlene, the design Chief – who would sleep in negative space if she could- proves she has the attitude and aptitude when it comes to design, she is always right.
“I’ll do what I think, and it’s always right,” she said with a smile, “I take people’s opinions on board and listen to them, but when they’re wrong; I will prove them wrong.”
In a company where the partner’s brand is number one Charlene has to give over much of her creative power, and uses only her design prowess. However when it comes to BC’s brand she feels that her words and ideas are valued.
“I have an anthropomorphic approach. If I’m making up designs for a brand then I look at it like a person. If you look at your brand like a person then you can connect with your market, you want to be someone that your market wants to hang around with.”
The design chief sat up in her chair when talking about how working for a growing company, and realising its potential, excites her.
Charlene likes to listen to “the most angry music, anything that screams or has swear words in it” such as Metallica, Rammstein, Pearl Jam, Rob Zombie and Korn, “I’ve seen most of them.”
She drinks coffee flavoured milk when at work, and after work she likes to drink anything alcoholic.
Charlene’s motto is “Don’t ask why, ask why not.”
Account Manager Holly
When it comes to looking at things differently, the BC way, Account Manager Holly brings her creative mind to a partner’s account.
Holly feels her creative spirit is not alone in the BC office: “I think everyone here is really creative, I think we all use the same process.”
The BC account manager is not fond of restrictions and enjoys the freedom that comes with her job.
She said if there was something that sparked her interest, all she would have to do is come up with a proposal. If it aligns with BC, she is given the go ahead.
“I don’t know many other companies where you can design things that you want to do.”
Everyday is a playlist surprise for Holly: “Goes by my mood, Arabic music one day, the next?”
Holly can be found in the office enjoying many of her extravagantly coloured herbal teas, however when she has reached tea saturation, she likes to have effervescent fizzy vitamin water. After work you will also find her drinking herbal tea. Does she even have a saturation point?
What she does have is a life motto: “Don’t compromise yourself, ever.”
Social Executive and P.A. Laura
Social Executive and PA, Laura echoed her teammate’s thinking, she said: “In BC you have freedom to express yourself in ways that I haven’t actually experienced in previous jobs.”
Laura described the BC reality, which sounds like a dream world for many, where you have the freedom to do whatever you like, where you can make mistakes and learn from them, where you can move on and improve, and always be better next time.
“It’s like a love affair,” Laura said fluttering her eyelashes. If you ask Laura where she works she will always answer with a smile.
When asked what makes BC, Laura immediately said: “The people, without the people BlueChief would not be BlueChief.”
“Family is a word I use to describe BC a lot, because that’s what it is. If anything happened to BC it would be like a death in the family. That’s how much we all love it. We want it to grow, get better, excel and become global. We have pride about working here.”
She has just celebrated her one year work anniversary with BC, Laura said: “The actual vast amount of things I have done is unbelievable, you don’t have a choice, you have to do it, in a start-up it’s different, because everyone has to chip in.”
Being an ambitious woman, Laura’s only worry is not getting everything done, she said: Sometimes we find ourselves falling into our work loads, and then our online presence will suffer as a result, but it’s a negative and a positive at the end of the day, it’s not like we’re not doing anything, we are working so hard to get to where we want to be that we have a huge workload.”
You will over hear Laura’s chart topping hits coming from her headphones as she works. Laura’s cup of choice is “coffee, always coffee! And lots of water.”
However after work you will find her sipping either a gin & tonic or sparkling wine, living by the motto: “Love what you do, because life is short.”
Chief Operations Officer Paul
Chief Operations Officer Paul is partying too, celebrating his one-year work anniversary with BlueChief Social; he didn’t think he would be the C.O.O of anything last year.
Paul thrives on the limitless potential that emboldens the BC team. He said: “if you come up with a great idea and you can substantiate it, and prove that it’s beneficial for the business, then you can do whatever you want. That is a great feeling, which promotes creativity throughout the team.”
But what is the secret weapon that ignites the team’s motivation, Paul said: “A large part of it has to do with Shane our CEO, a lot of people feed off his energy. Then, they in their own ways, try to emulate him, and that isn’t a bad thing, because after a certain point they realise they’re actually good enough themselves.”
COO Paul feels that “management taking an interest in their employees” is missing from traditional work environments.
Paul focuses his work on scalability: “Every process that we use is completely designed by BC, but it is also designed for scale. Everything I do is designed that if it’ll work now, it’ll work with 100 partners with 100 employees. A huge part of my mantra is scalability for everything.”
Although BlueChief social is mastering social media, Paul assures me that going through the basics of social media is normal for him: “Potential partners don’t actually realise how big social media is, like every single day you have to explain the basics just so people can get what you’re talking about.
“A lot of businesses don’t realise that their business would work on social media because it’s B2B, but I say every single business can use it in a certain way you just have to be smart about it.”
Frustration in Paul’s life stems from motivational quotes on social media: “The motivational quotes, I hate them. I hate them so much. It’s definitely people jumping on the bandwagon that frustrates me.”
A marketing man at heart Paul looks forward to the future of the marketing industry becoming digital. “Our design of the dinosaur in the suit is a jab at most marketing managers who are at the wrong end of forty. They are set in their ways.”
Paul usually jams out to Trap EDM while he works. He will be hyped up from the espresso’s he drinks during the day and calmed by the classic Jameson and ginger ale after work, and you’ll hear him saying to himself: “No pressure, no diamonds.”
Chief Marketing Officer Dan
Getting down to the brass-tax Chief Marketing Officer Dan has the answers: “The partners that we have done work for, have gotten results. The stuff we come up with, it works.”
Dan’s challenge at BC is to be the brand, to channel and embody the partners. “If I can talk about three partners in three different sentences one after the other and the tone is completely different, then the mind-set totally changes,” that’s how Dan get’s into the brand’s characters.
What makes BlueChief Dan? “In a nutshell, the team. Our personalities are so different, and we all have different challenges and different orientations.”
His motivation is simple: “I really like what I am doing and that’s half the battle, if you don’t really like what you do then what’s the point in doing it.”
The marketing executive regularly manages and teaches in workshops set up by BC, he said: “teaching a workshop keeps me on the same level, if you’re constantly around the social media lingo you can get out of touch with people who have different levels of knowledge of social media. I’ll get to a point in where I will ask ‘Have I lost anybody or everybody?’”
Dan thinks that the ‘generation mind-set’ is holding people back from using social media: “We hate new stuff, but then we start using it, for example my mother went from not knowing what Facebook was, to me being terrified of her online. When they start using it, they realise how relevant and useful it is.”
When he is at work Dan likes to fill his ear with movie soundtracks, his favourite: The Shawshank Redemption. Sure Dan… He is always completely hydrated and will also sip tea throughout his workday. In his social time he is partial to a Hop House 13. Dan lives by the saying: “All in or nothing.”
BlueChief Executive Officer Shane
CEO and Co-founder of BlueChief Social, Shane says his vision of BC has not changed much since its inception except for the fact that it is no longer a software solutions business but as a social media business, “we’re still trying to pioneer, be visionary, and stay ahead of the curve, and we still want to make a brand that leaves a legacy.”
The BC team is filled with entrepreneurs, and Chief of chiefs Shane said: “That’s the best type of people to manage, don’t get me wrong they can be the most difficult to manage because they are the most arrogant and opinionated, but if you nurture that talent and their innate abilities, then you’re going to maximise the output you’re going to get.
It’s all about the culture, and making sure the environment is the environment that they need to prosper.”
The vast amount of time that the BC Social team spend on social media means they can be nothing but experts, Shane said with confidence in his comrades: “I don’t know any other companies in Ireland, where across the team they’re spending 80, 100, 200 hours a week on social media. Going back to this whole idea of 10,000 hours of perfect practice makes perfect, on a yearly basis we’re clocking the bones of 14,000 hours across the team,
“When you have that many hours put in across your team in a year you can easily understand why we’re the best at what we do.”
At the root of the unique tree from which BC sprouts is Shane who promotes and nurtures this attitude in the company: “We look at things in a different way, we hire people in a different way, we execute in a meaningful and impactful way, every brand we deal with, sets a legacy and precedent for what we’re going to do next, what we’ve done before and every brand we deal with is a new challenge and we approach it in a different way every single time.”
Working for someone who was ‘built to go to war everyday’ is not easy, Shane challenges his team non-stop to be the best form of them, it is not unusual to sit with Shane and track out your personal trajectory charts, every single process is examined and broken down.
“If it’s not broken –Break it and make it better” something Shane ensures is adopted by the BC team.
Shane said he wants every possibility for his team to be limitless: “When you have that innate ability in the team, and you have that knowledge and that understanding of what we’re trying to do as a team then you have limitless potential to achieve what ever you want.”
With the pressure of the fact that 9 out of 10 start-ups fail, Shane said: “I love what we do I love the path we’re on, I’m aware that the sharks are circling every single day, that’s no problem, I’m excited.”
Taking inspiration from billionaire entrepreneur Patrick Collison who said that they are only at the base of Mount Everest with Stripe, Shane said: “I feel the same about BC we’re at base camp, we’ve got the right equipment, the right gear and we’re just waiting for the weather to sway our way, and we’re ready to take down Mount Everest, have a little BC jig and a dance at the top and then come back down and decide what the next challenge is.”
BC Social is coming off a sales and research term, where the team have researched hundreds, and thousands of businesses, Shane said: “The worry I have or the frustration I have is that the core incompetencies are across everything: they don’t put enough time into it, they’re not consistent enough they don’t have a proper strategy for content, they don’t have a proper strategy for how social media is going to bring in ROI to their business, and they’re not modern in how they approach it and then they say they’re not getting any results.”
He went on to vent his other frustrations about the world of social media: “Social media is probably 10 years old, you’re saying after ten years people still don’t get it?”
You will have to pull the earphones out of Shane’s head when he is listening to intense rap while at serious work, otherwise he is listening to a 90’s, 00’s playback, if he is at work on sales you will overhear trance music, he said: “I have themes of music for my mood and what am doing, from a psychology standpoint I think it gives me better focus and output.”
Shane will drink his water at work all the while waiting for a staff night out so he can have some Captain Morgan or Heineken. His motto is: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we have strained beyond all measure.”
When you’re working at BC, everyday is an experience. Working at a start-up means you will feel that excitement tingling in your spine pushing you forward and making you take the leaps necessary to stand out as a start-up. Once you are part of the culture at BC, you have a parachute with which you will jump out of planes, and off cliffs everyday just to be pioneering in your work.
Coming into a start-up at 20 is exactly what I needed to show me that there is always a work environment where my attitude and bite for work is valued. I hope to be ‘starting-up’ for the rest of my life, if it’s anything as exciting and challenging as working at BlueChief Social.
Aisling, Chief Content Creator at BlueChief Social.