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Recap: 2018 Factory Week Inspires Communication and Team-Building

Factory Week is an idea conceived by SmallBox, a “Brand Experience Design and Innovation Agency” located in Indianapolis. Once a year, their office steps away from client work for a week to focus on improving the company. The idea is to tackle projects you’ve been kicking around in your head for awhile. Projects you know would positively impact the organization, but never seem to have time for because of pressing needs from paying clients. With plenty of advance notice, everyone clears their schedules for the event that’s as much about team bonding as it is improving operational efficiencies.

So, that’s what our companies’ owner set out to do when he planned three full days of presentations, workshops, discussions and guest speakers – a format very similar to the annual DoStuff Summit in Austin, Texas. With session titles like, “Defining Our Pitch,” “Building Our Marketing and Editorial Calendar,” and “Do317 Is _____ To Me,” Factory Week was a cross-company team building adventure and informationpalooza filled with productive conversations, brainstorming sessions, strategy-writing and lots of constructive criticism.

A Unique Collaboration of Promoters & Marketers

Do317, MOKB Presents and HI-FI comprise our collective of music and marketing companies. To better help our clients understand our capabilities, Josh Baker (CEO) recently branded this collective as Event Liftoff. Each company operates independently with its own staff, management, goals and agenda. While leading their respective industries on their own, our clients have come to enjoy many of the our complimentary services. The three organizations are headquartered in the Murphy building in historic Fountain Square. When we are in our day-to-day

work mode, we are so focused on our own projects we often know very little about what one another does on a weekly basis. Factory Week was an eye-opening experience that really solidified a bond of camaraderie, accountability and friendships amongst our team. 

Factory Week Focus

To bridge the gaps, our workshops covered:

  • Anatomy Of A Show: How MOKB Presents and HI-FI talent buyers book bands and how they’ve been successful breaking emerging artists
  • What Are We Selling: How our business development team is taking a holistic approach to our sales offerings
  • Content Development: The difference between editorial content and marketing content, and how every person across all three companies can contribute
  • Social Media Rehab: Analysis and feedback on each company’s social mediaprofiles
  • Audience Growth: What “audience growth” means, why it’s important, and lots and lots of brainstorming on the various ways to move that needle

Factory Week kicked off with a fun trip down memory lane as Baker told a “brief” history of his career – complete with hilarious photos and entertaining side stories – to give perspective on the hustle and determination it took to build the companies that employee us today. In similar fashion, starting with the employee who had the most seniority, we shared tales of how each person came to be a part of the team over lunch. Many funny stories emerged along the way.

Success Story: Tito’s Handmade Vodka

Our first guest speaker was on Day 2, our local brand representative for Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Derek Czarnecki. After a successful year of working together (Do317, Fountain Square Music Festival), we invited him to talk about the vision for Tito’s brand strategy. We asked questions like, “How does your experience working with us compare to working with other marketing and event services companies?” – a question we were pleased to learn the answer to: Our  recap reports are often shared internally as the gold standard for understanding measurement and return on investment for advertising campaigns.  “We love working with you guys,” said Czarnecki.

How We Work

One of the most engaged discussions came at the beginning of Day #3 as we kicked off what was supposed to be a 45-minute session on “How We Work.” As we fell more than half an hour behind schedule because questions were being asked and comments were being made around the room, Baker encouraged us to forget about the agenda and focus on the conversation. We were talking about internal communication – the various channels, when to use them, when (and how) to elevate the urgency of a message, etc. More people were participating than they had in any other session thus far, so we kept going.

Suddenly, it became clear that it’s an area we need to actively improve and revisit often. We agreed to devote more time to personal development and honing our communication skills in the coming year. Reading “Crucial Conversations,” maintaining regular one-on-one meetings with direct reports and holding each other accountable will help us get there.

A Scoreboard For Success: Jeb Banner

Speaking of goals, our final guest speaker came as Factory Week was coming to a close.  It just so happened to be the local business leader that originally concepted the Factory Week idea. Jeb Banner, founder of Musical Family Tree and SmallBox, discussed the difference between lead and lag measures and helped us create our own scoreboard to measure individual lead goals. When everyone focuses on a few simple goals they have direct influence over, the collective team effort builds toward progress that moves the needle – a lag measure.


I have a survey in my inbox right now asking for my feedback about the three days spent at Factory Week. I was going to fill it out, but it didn’t feel like filling out a form was doing the amount of praise deserved for leading us any justice.

So, for telling us to put down our work for a week and take time to reflect and plan for the year ahead; for committing to more structure and better communication; for promising to keep our companies really fun places to work; for giving your team the opportunity to have input on how their goals and strategies for the year are set; for all these things and more – thank you to our fearless leader, Josh Baker, for the first (and what I hope becomes annual) Factory Week.

Follow me on Twitter for good books, haunted house stories and all things Indy #doindyright
Danielle Look, General Manager Do317

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