• Tessa May Marr

What We Learned At Our First Annual Company Retreat


mad media company retreat

At the end of last month, our entire team came together, via planes, trains and automobiles (okay, mostly just planes) for our first annual company retreat. This year we hosted it in Vancouver, BC, Canada and it proved to be a perfect backdrop to close our initial year of business. We collaborated, we learned a lot, we hiked, we ate, we drank and we sure got to know each other well (for some of us, it was our first face-to-face meeting). There were many amazing takeaways, and I know we all have a personal list of what was most memorable, but here are some of the major things we learned.

Mad Media Company Retreat

What we’re here to do

While we do have an overall strategy that I defined at the end of last year, we hadn’t defined our mission, vision and values quite yet. I wanted to take the opportunity with everyone in the room to start brainstorming and flushing these out. We started by tossing out keywords we thought fit the bill for us, and trying out different phrasing. We challenged each other, we disagreed here and there, but it was really cool to see how overall, everyone already was on the same page. Reassuring me that we were already very well aligned! Stay tuned for our official unveil of these in the next month or two hopefully—we still have a big of refining to do to get them to perfect!

Who we are as a team

Because our team is virtual and remote, a lot the members of our team had yet to meet in person. We kicked the retreat off with team building and a personality quiz. This quiz took a deeper look into who are we and how we react, how we like to work and how we see the world. We each reviewed our own results and read them aloud amongst each other and even charted them to see where we all fit in. It will be invaluable to remember this information when dealing with each other--especially when we face challenges and potential communication break downs, as all teams do sometimes! There was also a lot of learning that came throughout the retreat, the old school way: spending time together. I can already feel how much more united the team is now. We really get each other!

"[The single most valuable thing I learned at the retreat was] probably understanding and getting to know everyone's personalities and how they like to work. I feel like the communication lines are wide open now."

How to get social

Most of us are fairly well versed in social media—we use at least one platform regularly in our own lives—but our social media team was able to bring some new light and understanding into how we run social media for clients, and how our team can participate in social media on their own, and as part of our company social strategy. We have now officially launched two new platforms—Snapchat and Instagram. We used them both a lot during the retreat and will continue to be active on both platforms to share our company story with our communities. Be sure to follow along!

What design looks like behind the scenes

Design is a very important part of marketing, but it’s also a very specialized function on it’s own. We offer both services at Mad Media—because our clients need good design to amplify their marketing efforts. All marketers know that design matters, but we don’t know how to make it happen ourselves. One of our objectives of this first retreat was to bring some visibility into the different “functions” of our company (I don’t want to say departments—we’re too small to separate ourselves from one core team just yet). We had the design team taking us through their entire process, and it sure was eye-opening. We got to understand how a cool logo comes together and we even got to try this hands on! (They made us grab a pencil and get sketching!) I am even more mesmerized by the talent and creativity on our team. Wow!

"[The single most valuable thing I learned at the retreat was] how important collaboration is on the design team. Sometimes the team can pull inspiration from the smallest things that will make a huge impact on a project."