Deception is the Shortest Path to Authenticity

In mid-November, the subject of a holiday greeting popped up on a weekly meeting agenda. It’s the kind of thing that everyone, in any marketing organization, tries to avoid. The CMO asks, “What are we doing for our holiday campaign?” and then everyone tries to avoid making eye contact. Holiday efforts start out simple, like a note, and end with something simple, like a parade float. But, like the holidays themselves, we inevitably decided to do something “simple.” After all, we needed to show our huge appreciation for our customers and partners that have supported us all year.

Our brief went something like this:

  • Send a genuine thanks to our customers and partners
  • Support a worthy cause
  • Authentically showcase the people and culture of Greenhouse
  • Create something light-hearted, but not kitschy

Greenhouse is a unique place. Everyone truly believes in the product, our leaders and our mission of making all companies great at hiring. It’s one of the most positive, supportive, customer-focused and customer-loved companies I have experienced.

So it only makes sense that the Greenhouse team is always willing to participate. Seriously. For the efforts of various photoshoots and filming, my creative cohorts and I have convinced people to: walk back and forth outside the building in freezing temps; be filmed getting breakfast, in conversations, at their desks and even in the elevator. We’ve interrupted meetings, rearranged the entire office, forced the engineering team to “stand closer” to one another, taken over part of entire floors, and made everyone whisper and tiptoe for an afternoon. We are really annoying, so I’m always thankful the team continues to volunteer.

This is where the deception part comes in. We needed to capture the can-do, genuine desire of the team to do anything to make Greenhouse and our customers successful. But we knew if we asked everyone to “be genuine, don’t be all… ingenuine,” it would be a disaster.

This was our plan:

  • Get an exorbitant amount of New Year’s props and decor – the shinier, the better (balloon budget is $$$$, need CFO approval)
  • Take over the rec room (be annoying)
  • Assemble groups of people into what looks like a full-frame greeting card – shout “Happy New Year!” (send multiple company-wide emails, pester people to sign up)

What wasn’t made completely clear to everyone was we were filming the entire setup. As each group came in, propped up, got arranged in order, fumbled about, and got encapsulated in balloons and tinsel, we were capturing it all. The result? All the laughs, giggles, snark and true personalities of the Greenhouse team. It was the best version of Greenhouse’s wishes for the new year we could have hoped for.

Lastly, but most importantly, while Greenhouse is headquartered in bustling NYC, (part of) our heart is in San Francisco and the Bay Area, where many of our customers, partners and teammates are located. With them in mind, we decided to make a contribution to those affected and struggling as a result of the recent fires in Northern California.

From all of us a Greenhouse – especially the Creative team – Happy New Year and best wishes for a fantastic 2019!

Special thanks to James Gannon for shooting and editing this video.

Interested in joining the team here at Greenhouse? We’re hiring! Check out our open roles here.

Trenton New

As Creative Director, Trenton Kenagy leads brand, creative and digital at Greenhouse. A designer by profession and snarky by birth, Trenton has over 20 years of experience working with companies such as Microsoft, Gap Inc, REI, Hawaiian Airlines and Hallmark Cards. He lives in Manhattan's Upper West Side with his partner Jason and Labradoodle, Cooper @cooperdoodleNYC.

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