Far across the parking lot from the corporate offices sits a nondescript little building – it may not look like much from the outside, but inside, you’ll find bright-colored walls, outlandishly decorated offices, and, occasionally, people running around in 1970s-era business attire. That’s because this building is home to Creative Services, Leggett & Platt’s marketing department. CS handles everything from websites and videos to ads and tradeshows for any L&P branch that needs it, as well as for outside clients.
(It also happens to be where I work.)
Growing a Department
The department has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1966, when it was a one-man show devoted to providing logo and design services to both L&P companies and our clients.
“When we first started, we offered this service to our customers with the idea that if we help them sell, we ultimately sell more,” says Susan Chapman, Traffic Manager, who joined the department in its early years.
As the work increased and L&P began to acquire new businesses, the staff size slowly increased as well, but the department was still mostly dedicated to serving clients’ needs, leaving little time for L&P’s own branches.
That all changed in 2008, when a new process was developed to better serve the branches and help them boost their sales. The department chose to focus on creating strategic marketing for L&P’s branches, offering them everything from product sheet design to entire ad campaigns composed of videos, websites, print and web ads, and more. And the branches took notice, increasing their business with CS. Today, the department houses over 30 employees. With a photo/video studio in the building and a print shop next door, CS is able to focus on complete creative solutions, finishing over 1,400 jobs per year.
Not Your Average Corporate Folk
But while the department works hard (ask me how I know), it’s also known around Corporate for its casual attitude and colorful atmosphere. Employees are encouraged to express themselves and decorating offices with kitschy thrift-store finds is de rigueur.
“When you walk the halls, you see the work that we do, the characters you meet, how the offices are decorated, and you get a vibe and experience a culture that I’m very proud of,” says John Walsh, Staff Vice President of Creative Services.
The department feels more like an ad agency than a corporate setting, with people gathering in the halls to brainstorm, discuss, and even disagree in an effort to provide the best possible finished product for clients. But unlike an agency, where clients come and go, CS works mostly with L&P branches, enabling them to get closer to the projects and develop relationships with clients that wouldn’t be possible in an agency.
“We have the luxury of working closely with our clients and encouraging them to look carefully at strategies, so we can better deliver the creative they need. We’ve made great strides in this area and it’s something we continue to work on,” says Walsh.
With many of L&P’s branches now taking advantage of this service, the work is fast-paced, sometimes stressful, but often exciting. Employees work together, sometimes stepping outside their job duties (and even occasionally appearing in ads and videos) to provide clients with the materials they need in the budgets they’ve outlined.
“No two days are the same,” says Chapman. “My favorite part of my job is that when daily challenges arise, I get to be a problem solver.”
About the Author
I’m a Copywriter at Leggett & Platt, which means I spend my days writing about wire, wire-forming, wire-related products, and products made out of wire. In my free time, I enjoy writing about wire, wire-forming, wire-related products, and products made out of wire. Not really. I do enjoy writing, though.
As a child, I would write stories and have my much more artistic sister illustrate them for me. And when I’m not writing, I’m reading. I bring a book with me everywhere I go (seriously, the Nook app on my phone is my most-used app by a landslide). Though I mostly read fiction, I’ve recently made a personal vow to read more news and stay more informed. So now, I read the news while I’m drying my hair in the morning, I read books during my lunch break, and I go back to the news before bed. And occasionally I squeeze in some time to binge-watch TV shows on Netflix (like the time I watched a season and a half of Breaking Bad in one day).