Assisted Sales Customer Story - Purple Strategies
“We wanted the expansion to be more thoughtful and strategic. We’re a client oriented business. We’re a creative oriented business - not just related to creative output but also in the way we approach strategy. And we’re a very collaborative business. So for us the space has to work on those three levels. We knew that going in, but the Steelcase team made us think about what that would really mean in the space. They made us think about things like planning for growth and technological change. Even the seemingly obvious like where people gather together and where they spend their time.”
Purple Strategies’ newly expanded Chicago office sits on the fifth floor of a hundred year old building that once housed a leading manufacturer of “ready made” coffins. It’s a classic West Loop building with exposed brick walls, timber posts, and wonderfully battered floors. We sat down with John Gatti, a partner and head of the firm’s Client Strategy and Management Team, in one of several new conference rooms only two weeks after Steelcase installed furniture into their expanded space.
John Gatti, Partner, of Purple Strategies.
“The entire process was so smooth. It had us looking forward to each additional step and never feeling like it was a chore in the way of day to day work,” Gatti told us when asked about their experience with Steelcase. “Everybody down to the delivery guys were pros. They arrived in the morning to an empty office. Had it full of boxes in an hour and a half. And by the end of the day everything was assembled, in place, and you couldn’t even tell they’d been there. I was amazed.”
Talking with John it became apparent he had a special affinity for this kind of expertise. He’d realized the value in his own specialized knowledge after working at Leo Burnett for 21 years with some of the largest brands in the world. It was a realization that spurred John to bring this expertise to Purple, a reputation management firm that blends brand communication with political strategy.
The firm’s Steelcase story actually started in their Virginia office. They’d been in need of new office furniture earlier in the year, and just like the rest of us their first stop was the internet. “I’m pretty sure we found you on Google,” John told us with a smile. “We looked up “who are the leaders in office furniture” and the next thing you know we were talking to the Steelcase team.”
Things went well in Virginia. So well that when Chicago needed to expand their footprint - again, Steelcase got the call.
“A company our size - we don’t have someone who can devote themselves to this kind of project. Our COO is running a business, she’s one of my partners and none of us would be happy if she was neglecting the business to worry about the office expansion. Why try to be a furniture whiz when there are experienced experts out there? We set up a call with the Steelcase team and they asked us questions we didn’t even know we needed to ask. They made us think about the way we work and the ways we’re most effective.”
Looking out the window of the conference room, John began to go through each of the new work areas commenting on their purpose, their strength, and how they fit into the whole. His excitement became clear as he extensively described a pair of collaborative seating areas as an example of the kind of thoughtful design the process helped to facilitate. One is casual and low to the ground with sofas and ottomans. The other is a cafe height conference table with power options and stools. “We never would have thought to add that kind of flexibility, and I can already see the way it’s going to help our team work.”
After describing much of the new space, John returned to the world he knows so well. “Our business is a client service business. We help our clients think about things they haven’t thought about. That’s why they pay us. In this case, we asked you guys to do for us what we do for our clients.” He paused for affect, “You guys are the experts - of course we asked you.”