Inside the Moments that Matter: Featuring Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Creative Director Jen Bonney

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Nikki Festa O’Brien
March 16, 2023

Greenough’s Inside the Moments that Matter Series is a place for us to zoom in on key industry topics, collaborate with the brightest minds in the field, and gain a valuable outside perspective on the challenges and learnings from subject matter experts who are changing the game.

Jen Bonney, creative director of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts, recently joined us for a session on “Creativity through Collaboration.” From emphasizing the benefits of an integrated team to the importance of good brainstorming, Jen’s session gave us priceless insight into how we can cultivate creativity for brands. Here are our key takeaways:

Eliminate silos as they are public enemy number one.

When employees from different teams or departments stop collaborating, silos form, and creativity gets stunted. Why? It blocks lines of communication and prevents experience and knowledge-sharing. Jen said it best: “silos are sneaky and destructive,” as 40% of employees believe different departments in their company have a separate agenda. In creating a culture of collaboration, preventing these isolated workflows will boost productivity, cohesiveness, and efficiency.

Create a culture of collaboration by making it part of your DNA and new employee onboarding.

By bringing in the right people at the right time, collaboration directs us to solutions faster. It allows everyone who participates to learn new skills and share expertise, thereby building a more efficient workforce. Collaboration is good for business – it unites everyone under a common goal, gives a much needed “break” in the day that can often feel monotonous, and improves the remote and in-office mood.

Introducing collaborative work styles and brainstorming activity is especially important when onboarding new team members. It allows them to meet employees across teams and departments, become familiar with everyone on a more personal level, and allows new skills and “zones of genius” to shine through. In prioritizing collaboration, we improve employee engagement, increase job satisfaction and provide higher-quality output.

Ditch uniformity and assemble a balanced team for more thoughtful and impactful ideas.

It’s important to include team members with various skill sets as well. Top Chef host Tom Colicchio often says when judging a dish with a lack of depth or range in flavor profiles that it can disappointingly taste too one-note or one-dimensional. The ideas and messaging we’re developing for brands mustn’t be “one-note” either.

A good brainstorm will send baseline information in advance for review and individual thought. It will have multiple ways to contribute – in person or video, private and public chat rooms, etc. and follow up with collaboration documents for input or good old fashion email. During the brainstorm, assigning roles is important so the conversation can quickly move from exploration to action. Suggested roles include:

People Pleaser or Cheerleader for team morale

Moderator and Planner to move the conversation along, prompt new thinking, and project manage the next steps

Storyteller that takes the thought starters and turn them into compelling and sustainable ideas

Maker to take all the talk and turn it into action via video, audio, illustration, etc.

Amplifier to boost the brand using all forms of communication and channels

Results Getter who can attain the data needed to support the ideas or campaigns as well as measure their impact

Collaborate. It’s good for business.

It was no accident that Jen ended every slide with the same phrase, “it’s good for business.” One of the most important takeaways is that the work suffers when teammates are brought into the process too late or without someone keeping pace with the timeline or not setting the right goals, and especially when there’s no space for creativity. In the great words of Michael Jordan, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”

Thank you, Jen, for your insight! Stay tuned for our next session.

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