To Tokyo, with Love: MSLGROUP’s Brand and Talent Practice
The “talent agenda” is now a top-three priority for most organizations, because employee engagement is a major component of building a brand. Our Brand and Talent group knows all about this, so we asked them to help us create Together Work’s Better, an MSLGROUP employee engagement project.
For those of you who read our first post on the subject, you know that Together Work’s Better culminated in a storytelling competition whereby teams of MSLGROUP employees produced content showcasing the values of collaboration. Seven winning teams earned trips abroad. The first group of travelers, a trio of Parisians, chose Tokyo as their destination (and returned before the earthquake. More on that later…)
…On the heels of that trip, we are taking another opportunity to highlight our Brand and Talent practice. And what better way than to share the words and pictures of the employees themselves?
Brand and Talent: A Case Study
The trio of travelers to Tokyo was comprised of: Sophie Reymond, editorial director; Mélanie Sciaraffa, an editorial consultant; and Nikolaus Roche-Kresse, art director. For the next two weeks, the Paris office is hosting an art exhibit featuring the photos from their trip. Below is a slideshow.
Brand and Talent: Employee Engagement at Work
“One of the best aspects of going to Tokyo was going with two other colleagues from Paris,” Sophie said. “We were able to discover Japan as a group, drawing from our shared European experiences. We also saw first-hand the power of our international network. In that regard, I think we helped to achieve the objective of the competition.”
Japan felt like home, Nikolaus said. “I feel like I discovered my real country. I love Japanese manga (comic books), cinema, video games, the way they dress. And I love Japanese cuisine—lots of fish and vegetables. I was sad for a few weeks after coming home. I had withdrawal.”
The trip was filled with sightseeing and cultural activities, from Buddhist temples to popular restaurants, while offering the chance to work abroad. Sophie, Mélanie and Nikolaus helped their Japanese teammates on the Fromages de France (Cheeses from France) campaign for the Japanese market. While an ordinary staple of French life, cheese in Japan is an expensive delicacy, Nikolaus said.
Another benefit of the trip was the chance to practice English—the common language between the two groups—and also enjoy, surprisingly enough, some American culture shared by none other than Eric Hess, the managing director of the Japan office. Eric has lived in Japan 30 years and hails from Hawaii via New York, Michigan and California. The respect and admiration were reciprocal, Eric said, noting how honored his office was to be chosen as a destination for the Parisian winners.
A Sense of Attachment
Of course, once the earthquake and tsunami hit, heartache ensued. The team had returned three weeks before the disaster hit and couldn’t wait to get news about their new colleagues and friends. (Everyone is okay, thankfully.)
And while the Parisian trio has shared many experiences on the MSLGROUP intranet, open to all employees, they have created a private group on Facebook for themselves and the Tokyo office. “We had originally made the Facebook group open to all employees, but then we realized that we had shared so much that it needed to be private. So here we can really talk as friends in an intimate setting,” Nikolaus said.
The trip was “so rich and so fabulous” that Mélanie found hard it hard to put into words. “Getting to know Eric and his team, the incredible welcome they gave us, the time they spent accompanying us around Tokyo…it was outstanding,” she said. “On a professional level, I felt a sense of belonging within our international network that I had never felt so strongly before. Now it’s up to us to share these experiences and feelings with our colleagues.”
Interested in what our Brand and Talent practice can do for you? Please contact Kevin Keohane, the global head of the practice, at kkeohane (at) sasdesign (dot) uk .