A ‘manifesto’ for employees who aren’t afraid to speak their minds





Mi9 is one of Australia’s leading digital media companies and part of the Nine Entertainment Co. Its values – chosen by employees – are ‘brave’, ‘smart’, ‘humble’ and ‘give a shit’. So when Mi9 asked us to help create a ‘manifesto’ employees could live by, we knew this wouldn’t be your average job.

The solution: talk to the cynics, talk their language

Our advice to M19’s senior leaders? Be hands-off. Assemble a team that extends far beyond the usual suspects for this type of project. And bring in the cynics you’ll need to work hardest to win over.

With this approach in mind, we used focus groups of employees from across Mi9, whose challenge was to shape the brief for the Manifesto.

The focus groups came up with a host of brilliant ideas, which our creative team translated into a powerful Manifesto whose bold, forthright design really captured the spirit of Mi9.

Funny, rebellious and distinctly “anti-corporate”, the Manifesto’s tone of voice similarly reflected the company’s young, dynamic demographic.

For example, describing the Mi9 value ‘brave’, the Manifesto tells us: ‘Brave is telling it like it is. Brave is not confusing the phrase “telling it like it is” with the phrase “being a dick”.

A section on diversity does away with the usual corporate platitudes to declare: ‘Mi9 is a place where the occasional raging hangover doesn’t stop people thinking you’re bloody awesome at your job’.

And one of the reasons cited in a section called ‘9 reasons to look for a job somewhere else’ is: ‘You equate the freedom to work in your own way with the freedom to take the piss.’

The outcome: ‘This is ours. We created it’

All too often, mission statements and values documents fall flat because they’ve been imposed from on-high. Not with the Mi9 Manifesto. When it launched at an annual event, Mi9’s employees greeted it with universal enthusiasm, because it spoke directly to them, and in their language. The overriding response? ‘This is ours. We created it.’

Images supplied by Martin & Vic

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