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Be a Good Sort. Simple, Right?


Denis Bodart, Founder and Creative Director at Feed Me Light, talks about how the simple company motto ‘Be a Good Sort’ is more challenging to navigate than one might think…

Be a Good Sort. Simple, Right?

This was the basis for our commitment to engaging with charities. And also, just don’t be a dick – to the environment, the community, our team and our clients. We’ve reworded this obviously so it’s a little more PC, but that is how we arrived at ‘Be a Good Sort’. And we apply that to everything we do.

It’s how we work with employers and clients as we try to be as flexible and supportive as possible. And try to make work as fun as possible every day. The happier we are, the easier it is to be a good sort. And we encourage our team to expand this further than the studio by volunteering with the likes of Inspire to help our local community.

I recently heard the founder of an incredible start up say, ‘If you’re going to do it, do it with conviction. In everything that you do’.

So that’s why we believe in ‘Be a Good Sort’ for everything we do.

It sounds basic, why wouldn’t you be a good sort? It’s a simple idea, but actually in reality,some days it can be a challenge to live by. Truth.

I started the studio in October 2015, and one thing I was certain of was that Feed Me Light would always make some form of a donation to charities.

I just think everyone should do good things and I wanted to commit to that from the very start. It’s not a big idea, nor a new one. Most companies have some sort of a CSR thing going on. But this was the first part of ‘Be a Good Sort’.

We started with a commitment to donate a certain percentage of our profit, and naively we perhaps inflated the possibilities in our mind. We wanted to donate something significant, which would feel awesome. In reality, we’re a start up. No percentage of profit was going to be significant – and it wasn’t.

But regardless, we’ve cemented it as part of our business make up and strategy that I’m determined will stay. So, as we grow, that donation amount will grow. That is our plan.

But then, as we want to be a good sort to our community, we are driven to promote and be as supportive as possible to good messages, ideas and socially responsible companies.  This is another important factor for us.

I know we all know it and we joke about it, but with commercials we often find ourselves in the world of promoting consumption. And this is the dilemma. We love our jobs and we love creating really cool things. We want to push boundaries and create new ideas with the team, and this fuels a want for a massive commercial with the associated budget. Guilt wanders in as we drive this chaos further.

Big commercial budgets mean happy days. They fuel the creative fire at FML… but they do everything but complement our original ideal. It’s a complete contradiction.

Then when you think about the size of that budget and what could be achieved if a charity got hold of that - it’s crazy. It’s something that wasn’t lost on us when a charity we were working with outlined the financial impact Brexit had. We were complaining about it as holders of EU passports and then our client told us about the thousands of pounds which was allocated to three months of work helping seriously ill children and their families, which was now lost. Guilt wanders in again. Are we still being good sorts?

This isn’t a situation that is unique to us. We know that every agency and studio faces the same thing.  But this is why I really admire companies like AdCan. They are in that space where they truly and successfully live a Good Sort mantra.

There is a trend that sees brands associating themselves with real people and real stories that are inspiring and uplifting while engaging and beautiful. I find this really promising. But the brand knows full well that it’s the ability to tug on the heartstrings that make it successful. It is a strategic marketing ploy.

If presented with the opportunity to work on one of these pieces I would imagine we would take it. And here lies that battle. Are we good sorts? Or am I overthinking it?

And what would we do as a start up with the opportunity to work with a huge brand that, perhaps, doesn’t quite display this same mantra? Nice and Serious explain on their site their process for accepting briefs – the team votes on whether to work on a brief, based on the impact the project will have - and I really admire their approach. 

We want to be more successful ‘good sorts’ promoting good stories and ideas. We have committed to working with at least one charity each year to produce a creative piece that will help them achieve a key goal for growth. And this is an area that we plan to develop to increase our impact.  We’re really excited about our partnership this year.

We will continue to be good sorts by donating a percentage of our profit to a charity every year. Last year we donated to a school that provides free scholarships to Indian children. And we all believe in ourselves enough to know that as we keep growing, so will that donation. Year on year.

It’s a simple idea and some of it very simple to apply: our team and the culture prove that. I really do love the team. But we need to keep expanding it further to live it even better. And keep walking the tightrope between creative and commercial success – and our commitment to remain being good sorts, in every way.

That is our challenge. 

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Feed Me Light, Fri, 04 Aug 2017 16:08:54 GMT