Finding a Cultural Oasis (before shifting to a hybrid way of working)

By Colin Cather, creative director, Bottle PR.

There is probably no one-shot silver bullet to re-igniting agency culture after the last 18-months. Organisational experts and professors of workplace vibe-ology disagree as much as they agree. Go softly-softly or plunge in?

So, in an either-or, definitely-maybe, situation like this, who could we at Bottle PR turn to for some alternative wisdom?

We turned to the Gallagher brothers.

Liam and Noel are just one harmonious part of a rock n’ roll recording legacy that includes supersonic bands from Queen and Black Sabbath to The Stone Roses and Kasabian, who have found their mojo in the same cultural crucible in the Welsh valleys.

Rockfield Studios.

That’s where this indie band of digital PRs went to get their post-lockdown mojo back.

It was all not-very mellow

The iconic cartwheel-shaped doors that graced the moody cover-shot of Oasis’ Supersonic opened to a welcome a parade of rock-themed fancy dress as each Bottler stomped in, downing champagne-supernovas to their walk-on music.

Lockdown zoom-call joggers and sweats were instantly banished to a distant memory, now obscured by Tina Turner feather boas and Pinball Wizard platforms.

With the help of a megawatts sound-stack that had mixed Jay Z, George Michael and Idles, and a banquet menu that included shamelessly punny delicacies like ‘Duck Tha Whole Piece’ and ‘The Flame Lovin’ Crème-inal’ it couldn’t be less like the months of earbuds and afternoon bowls of cereal.

The Second Coming

It’s not like we were a new team – we’d all stuck together through the pandemic stuff. But we’d had enough of the virtual reality version of agency life. We wanted to avoid the lull of the difficult second-album comeback – even though this is where the Stone Roses took 14 months to record theirs.

Re-forming the band

Bottle Managing Director Natasha Hill said: “It wasn’t a total three-day bacchanal. We mixed-in river swims where Ozzy Osbourne had taken a restorative dip, and midnight star-gazing where Chris Martin had stared at the heavens and penned ‘Yellow’.

“There’s the theory that teams need to go from ‘forming, storming, norming, performing’. This was us re-forming, and going through that cycle, together, in just a few days.”

Work, rest, and playlist

To continue the spirit of togetherness felt during the trip to Monmouth, Bottle tied up with Oxford-based Truck Records so that each team member could pick their favourite album to have on vinyl in the office.

We may be reading lots about The Great Resignation happening around the world right now, but for the time being, Bottle togetherness (and a little bit of debauchery now and again), is keeping the team stuck together like glue.

Got a little FOMO? Here’s the soundtrack of the agency’s trip for you to listen to…

Photo by Peter Fogden on Unsplash

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