“What’s truly essential” is worth analyzing more deeply these days. Since 1984, the company has defined it in business-like terms, based on shifting client production needs. To this point, Mills James was slowly becoming less of a production company and more of a strategic communication company, just with a giant warehouse of production firepower. Clients increasingly loved our everything under one roof differentiator but wanted us to define it as strategy + creative + production under one roof.
But another “essential” has emerged, one that has nothing to do with service breadth: our sense of purpose. “What’s truly essential” was no longer only about business metrics alone. It was increasingly about our “why,” too.
Dynamics coincided in this decade to push the company to be more purpose-driven. Companies all over the country faced more skepticism about their pitches and the nobility of their capitalistic intentions. Attribute it to the speed of information, the power of social media, or the growing cynicism of younger people who saw generational outcomes that hurt their families and themselves. What emerged has been an epic pushback. “I’m no longer buying what you’re selling.”
Calls-to-action that have existed since the 1950s — “buy buy buy” — are now met with a single-word response from millennials and many others: Why?
Why should I buy from you? What are your values? Are you part of societal solutions or societal problems?
With all the company’s business acumen — from our 35 years of blood, sweat, and tears — we as a company still needed to take one more step forward.
By looking back, we found our answers in the story above.
Connection, Accountability, Nurturing and Growth, Trust, and Respect
To craft and deliver experiences that deepen human connections and inspire people to care and act.
And then came a worldwide pandemic — a chapter we’re all still writing.