From Brooklyn To Brazil, Expand Smartly By Protecting Your Company's Culture

The advertising and design juggernaut Huge was once a tiny band of rebels. CEO Aaron Shapiro explains how they successfully took their act on the road, opening offices across the globe.

Every successful company has a few growing pains. New offices mean new perspectives. Huge learned this difficult lesson up close and personal.

Despite the name, Huge started very small. From a tiny Brooklyn apartment, the company cornered a highly specialized piece of the early digital advertising world by providing a fresh, edgy perspective—and a flexibility that couldn't be found in advertising industry behemoths.

So when it came time to expand, Huge was hit with the age-old paradox confronted by every successful iconoclast: How do we maintain the attitude at every altitude?

The early transition wasn't easy. Mistakes were made when they opened their first satellite office in Stockholm. "We did what you think you would do: hire a bunch of local people," says CEO Aaron Shapiro. "Long story short—It was a complete disaster."

Aaron Shapiro

But after the initial missteps, it became clear that expansion needed limits to maintain the agency's image. The values that put them on the map were not open for discussion or compromise.

Bottom Line: Wherever your work leads, it's vital to maintain core culture.

Related: How Companies Can Stay Scrappy Amid Huge Success

[Video produced by Shalini Sharma // Camera & edit by Tony Ditata]

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1 Comments

  • Shawn

    This couldn't be more applicable or important of an idea to me right now in the business my wife and I started.  I wish there was more in this article!