Value-Driven Triumph: AKQA São Paulo's Journey to Success with Google, Netflix, and Usher featuring Co-Chief Creative Officers Hugo Veiga and Diego Machado
September 6, 2023
Discover how AKQA São Paulo's dedication to a values-driven culture isn't just a lofty ideal but a daily practice that seamlessly integrates into their creative processes, client relationships, and talent acquisition strategies. Uncover the magnetic power of authenticity and purpose in attracting top-tier clients like Google, Netflix, and Usher, as well as fostering a work environment that draws in exceptional talent. This episode delves deep into the tangible ways values fuel success on both the creative and business fronts, offering actionable insights for those seeking to emulate such a remarkable journey.
Hello everyone. I'm Felicia Shakiba, and you're listening to the CPO PLAYBOOK podcast. Join me and my guests as we feature insightful conversations with HR leaders, people scientists, and executives from diverse industries and functions, offering valuable perspectives on the future of work. Discover a unique outlook on navigating the complexities of the modern-day working world, exploring innovative strategies in talent management and corporate culture from the Chief People Officer's perspective. Tune in to stay ahead of the game when it comes to all things people-related.
Felicia Shakiba 00:44
In this captivating interview, we delve into the profound impact of organizational culture on employee turnover rates, guided by a remarkable statistic derived from a SHRM’s Global Culture Research Report: “Nine out of 10 workers who rate their culture as poor have thought about quitting.”
This statistic compels us to unravel the intricate dynamics that shape the retention landscape. A strong organizational culture possesses an enchanting allure, weaving a tapestry of shared values, beliefs, and norms that captivates employees within its embrace. Within this immersive environment, individuals find solace and purpose, their personal values harmoniously align with the organization's vision and mission. This fusion fosters a profound sense of belonging, igniting a flame of loyalty and commitment that repels thoughts of seeking opportunities elsewhere. Thus, a robust culture becomes a barrier against turnover, cultivating sustained engagement and tenure.
Felicia Shakiba 01:52
In the exciting interview that follows, we embark on an impressive journey with Hugo Veiga & Diego Machado. Veiga and Machado are founding members and Co-Global Chief Creative Officers of the renowned AKQA São Palo office in Brazil, a WPP company. Recognized as the world's most-awarded copywriter and art director at the 2013 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Hugo and Diego won a record 23 Lions for five different projects last year. Their work for Dove Real Beauty Sketches earned Latin America's first Titanium Grand Prix, and has become the most-watched branded film of all time on YouTube with more than 165 million views. Time magazine named it the best commercial of 2013.
Hugo, Diego, thank you so much for being here. Welcome.
Diego Machado 02:53
Hi, Felicia, thank you so much for having us.
Hugo Veiga 02:56
It's a pleasure. Thank you.
Felicia Shakiba 02:58
How did you get started when you founded AKQA, São Paulo? Can you share the story behind its inception?
Hugo Veiga 03:10
In 2013, we so Diego and I we were a team of creatives where we were not even creative directors at that time, although like we led several projects. We were totally São Paulo, and we launched Real Beauty Sketches, which was a project that gained a lot of attention worldwide. And we started gaining a lot of, you know, headhunters agencies that were reaching out to understand if we will be interested in joining their companies. So we went to Cannes we were going to have some interviews. And before we went, we said like, Oh, what if someone offers the possibility of opening an office, an agency? And we say like, Ah, no, we're not interested.
Hugo Veiga 03:53
So at the end, like we had incredible conversations at Cannes and then we met Ajaz Ahmed, which is the founder of a AKQA. So the letters of AQKA are the initials of his name. And Ajaz is for us, almost like a spiritual entity. He's like the most humble human being. He's A visionary. We had lunch with him at Cannes, and it was really like something that we never experimented before. He was really such, such a humble, such a heart for person. And he made us that proposal. And we told him at that time, like instead of, oh, we'd love you to open the AKQA São Paulo studio, like Ajaz, like we really appreciate the honor we feel honored with this invite, but we're not businessmen, like we're creatives. We want to continue to focus our energy into create communication. And then like, we don't want to go into you know, spreadsheets and things like this. And he was very honest with us. Like, don't worry, like, you'll be creating a studio. And we'll give you the support, you know all the bureaucracies all the you'll have that financial support, but it's really like think about as a challenge as creative minds to open something from zero, and to apply the things that you love, or at least to rethink the future of a partnership between an agency and the brand. That was backstory.
Diego Machado 05:26
Yeah. And then, of course, we accepted it and started this journey. And one of the first briefs that we got was to actually find this house. And once we share the story of the Radiohead and the story about getting to the house, instead of like going to the office, we started going to...
Hugo Veiga 05:47
Diego, sorry to interrupt maybe, it's good to tell the story of Radiohead, because in that lunch, it was one of the things that made us accept.
Diego Machado 05:56
Yeah. Okay, let's go. So during the lunch, we got that energy from him, like, as Hugo mentioned, like, we don't understand about these things about energy and stuff. But like, we really felt something differently with him. And from those conversations, where he was sharing about, like his vision about AKQA about the newest studio was Paris, just have been opened and found it. And we were trying to understand how was the magic of AKQA? How do they make this such beautiful work? Like so innovative, like so so groundbreaking work, and having this consistency across the globe? And the answer from Ajaz was like, the right people, the right place, and the work will come, the money will follow, but the work will be amazing. And we love that equation, like feels very obvious. But like somehow, I think we're expecting some more realistic like, oh, yeah, we did this, we hired X amount of people. And then we did that, like he was such like a vision. Here's the vision. And on top of that, he brought like, yeah, recently, I watched a documentary about Radiohead. And their story is basically, they launched Creep, and was like a master. The song was like hits, top hits globally. Everyone was listening to that.
Diego Machado 07:17
And after the success comes the pressure, what else? What is next? Are you a one hit band, can you keep doing great work? So to kind of like relieve that pressure and kind of like find a new way of upgrading, they rent a house in the countryside of London. And they kind of were like living there for a couple of weeks, the band was there, they were composing together laughing together, crying together, maybe like their sharing these moments. And they have like a chef that was like cooking and they were kind of like having this homey spirit. And after this process, they record it and launch it the work that was okay computer, which for many is considered like the masterpiece of the band. And the parallel was clear. They are creators. They have their own area, there was music and art. And we have ours like you were talking about communication advertise innovation. They have the music label as their clients, we have our clients, we have Nike, we have Netflix. So we have other brands that we partner, they have their fans, and we have the audience. So it was kind of like a parallel between their process and our process as a creative industry. And on top of like everything he brought, okay, let's find this house. Let's do what Radiohead did. Let's find a house, let's find a chef. And let's build a community center where people can join us and co-create together. So it's not an office is a house that everyone all the creatives in the community are welcome to partner with you guys, to partner with our clients. And from that the work will come.
Felicia Shakiba 08:58
Just listening to both of you speak I have chills by how exciting this opportunity for you guys and who ever has taken this journey with you, has been. So tell me what challenges did you face in the early stages of the company? And how did you overcome them to establish a strong foundation?
Hugo Veiga 09:19
The first challenge was assembling furniture. Because we were in a because we found the terrain, actually we found the house and we had to brought in an architect that was working on it. And we chose an architect that only did restaurants and houses. So we never had an experience on doing like offices. And that was purpose. We really wanted that like we really wanted to have a home feeling. But while we were reconstructing the house that we found, and actually there's a funny story, like when Ajaz flew to São Paulo, we had like some houses for him to see. And this, I think this the chosen one, and it was our favorite, the third one, he just entered the house. And he said, like, he looked at it and he said, I'm having goose bumps. This is the one. I said like, Ajaz but we need to see other houses like, this is the one, right? This is the one. When we're talking about something that is spiritual and very like comes from the heart, and it's like something very energetic almost. It is really how everything started. It was always about the heart. And how can we humanize something that sometimes it's very corporate. So we found the house that was the one said, like, Hey, this is the one right? Let's have lunch. I know you need to see the house. It was really it was, it was like really, really funny.
Hugo Veiga 10:51
So we went, we found a place that we started working. And we're going to have to assemble furniture for like one year to wait till the next house is ready. So that was the challenge. But the furniture metaphor is, is a good metaphor. Because when we when we started, like in our first day, we were expecting some sort of email that would tell us like how to assemble an agency, a new agency. So we were there on the first day. And we were joking to each other like, oh, maybe an email will come right, like first step. Second step. And we were like, refreshing, you know, refresh on the email, the email doesn't come out. Ah, do you want a coffee? Let's have a coffee. Yeah, let's talk about life. Let's go back to the email, refresh. Nothing. Okay, maybe we need to roll our sleeves and really start doing it. And the way we did it, because we didn't have any formation. Like we didn't have any bosses to say like, oh, how to be leaders. Nothing.
Hugo Veiga 11:55
And what Ajaz said was like, go from your hearts and do the things that you believe.
Hugo Veiga 12:01
And we started doing like, so our first hire was a person that we said, like this house needs a mom, a mother to take care of everyone. So our first hire was Mazeh, that is still today, a mother to everyone that goes to the house. And when we say a mother is, she takes care of everyone. But at the same time, she's always like, hey who put this glass, dirty glass, forgot this dirty glass on the table? So like we started that way, and and we were always thinking about like to have a home feeling. That was always our vision. And even on when we were talking to the architect, there was a moment that he wanted to close the kitchen, the kitchen stays on the third floor of the house. And it's like, oh, we're going to close the kitchen because of the smells would go through the the open space that we have where everyone sits to work. I said like No, actually, let's not close it. Because when you're at home, one of those home feelings is when someone is preparing coffee, or someone is baking a cake. And that goes through all the house. So, now let's keep it open. And although like there are some noises in the kitchen, like it becomes something that it's home feeling. It's not part of what you would expect in a normal office. So we started the agency. Because we didn't have any formation, we just said, Let's build a mantra for us. And it will be, we're going to do the work of our lives through the happiest process. And that would be the foundation. And all the decisions we made would go through that filter.
Hugo Veiga 13:42
We were very naive. And I think that that was one of the keys for success. Because we were naive, and we weren't afraid of things going wrong.
Hugo Veiga 13:52
Because we say like, if this goes wrong,it's just the beginning. You know, like there's an investment here, but it won't be in the in the broader context of AKQA globally, it's not going to be a problem. So let's go like let's just do and be fearless. And that's how we started. So all the decisions were made taking, like, we started by doing the things that we didn't like. So what are the things that we don't like? What are the things that don't make us happy? And so we we just put there and said, Okay, we're not going to be about this. Do you want to go do and go through that?
Diego Machado 14:27
No. Yeah, I think like the naivety we had was the key part of success, but back then I don't think we are thinking about it. But having this very organic and following your heart spirit was kind of like what guided us to take some bold decisions at the moment. But I'm not sure if you felt that were like such big decisions. You know, like you were kind of like the Radiohead spirit like this composing and making something and suddenly became like the masterpiece of the band. I think it was something like that we are taking the decisions as we believe, as we are discussing with Ajaz were very organic process.
Diego Machado 15:09
So I think one of the challenges was how can we change the mindsets, because we are creating something new.
Diego Machado 15:15
He brought the vision about AKQA bringing the best people, partner with the best clients and brands to create the best work. We didn't want to replicate what we've seen externally. So kind of like we have to reset our thinking, why do we believe and I think a lot of things that we were guided as Hugo mentioned was like the things we hate the things that we don't want to have, like for sure, we don't want to pitch. We hate pitches like, we, it's not working the way we are pitching. So let's not pitch, at least for a couple of years and see what happens. And in Brazil, there is like the media buys is inside the agency. So all the revenue from the agency has come from media buying, not necessarily charging for strategy and creativity. And we didn't like that as creatives. So we said like, oh, we are not having that. We will will be the first agency in Brazil that won't do media buying, we won't touching that and we will just charge for creativity and strategy and production. So I think this type of decision were very natural. But we have to keep the mindsets refreshing all the time. So we were kind of like exploring, like, what will be the newest thing, how we will hire people? Who should we hire? Do we need the same departments that we used to have in our previous jobs or recreate a new one? Or should we merge everything together? And it's just like, we call people by their names, and there is no label? How many people can we fit back then there's a interesting story.
Diego Machado 16:45
We we're starting, understanding and reading about like human behavior. And one thing that we notice is that since the beginning of society, there is a magic number about like the number of people that can live together and collaborate together.
Diego Machado 17:00
Once you make more than that number, it started splitting groups, so have like the South and North, rich and poor you know or have like this kind of division. So we read that the number was something between 70-80- 60. So we said like, okay, this is our goal. And let's focus on that area. So you have like this home community, like we don't don't want to split in departments, oh, relatives and strategy accounts and days. So these kind of moments were like kind of our very first brief to design the house and design, the rituals, the routine, the structure of the house, I think it was probably the biggest challenge. And I think it keeps us a challenge to keep like resetting and creating new, new shape for that.
Felicia Shakiba 17:50
That's interesting. So a lot of the first movements that you made, was really around, how are you going to work together and collaboratively under one roof. And it sounds like you had very specific values that you knew you wanted. Could you share some examples of how the company integrates those values into the day to day operations and decision making processes?
Hugo Veiga 18:16
As Diego was saying, like, the things that we don't like, so no media buying, no pitches, and no working during the weekends. And those were like the beginning. And it's funny that when we we said that, and we when we open there were some interviews from the industry media, we had the statement, so we only have the vision when you're starting something new. Well, you don't have the work. You have the work that we did in other companies, but we didn't like okay, here's what we're doing. No. It was a vision. And we know that there were some some people from other agencies that in Brazil, people like to bet during the World Cup, you know, like I was going to win. And they started betting, like how many months we would last? Because there were some agencies that were closing, like opening and closing during that time. So like, oh, that's gonna last like three months, you know. And the thing is that it was too... it was nothing like... it was against everything that the market had. And I think that was also the key of success. And again, like the ingredient of being naive, is like to really believe if this is the right thing. Let's push for the things that we believe that that it's right. And then we found clients that were aligned with this vision. So our first client was Netflix, and we were like only two, it was me Diego and Mazeh. And we won. We became the Latin America digital agency for Netflix, of course, we had the support of the network to do the work. And then we got Google that we just had a meeting with the team like the or group of clients. They're amazing and they went there we had, we have like just a conversation under the magic mango tree because there was a garden with a mango tree, that we said that it was magic.
Hugo Veiga 20:05
Because we have meetings under under the mango tree, we just shared the vision and they called us in the afternoon like, Okay, you're going to do the first Google search campaign in Brazil.
Hugo Veiga 20:14
And from there on, like, we started working with two big brands to innovative brands that wanted to do things, they were searching for partners that would think differently. And we started growing with them. So from the beginning, which also is a key of success, we had the stability, because we were doing work, and we were growing with his clients. So that allows us to, we wouldn't get into pitches because we were having work with with them and we're getting more work. And then we would get other clients that would knock on our doors. And I remember when we started we said like, Diego we cannot do a shitty project. Because if we do a shitty project, someone will come and knock on our door and say like, Oh, I love that shitty project you did, can you make it for me, but a little bit shittier?
Hugo Veiga 21:02
And we said like, No, we always need to be doing great work. That is the vision.
Hugo Veiga 21:06
And then we started like doing great work with these two innovative brands and then other brands started knocking on our doors and saying like, I love that innovative kind of work. And can we work together.
Hugo Veiga 21:19
And we were always conscious to Diego's point of not growing, we didn't have a pressure to grow. Our pressure was to protect the vision.
Hugo Veiga 21:28
And this was something that Ajaz told us like we never had a conversation about numbers with Ajaz till today. It's always about what can we do? How is the team okay? Are you happy with the work that you're doing? So this is something that has been since the beginning, like we got the stability, we start growing the clients, we start attracting new clients that wanted to do that kind of work, and wanted to also learn from this more fluid ways of working. And we started growing from that.
Hugo Veiga 22:00
Yeah, you asked about like the integration of the values and our thinking about it like, probably is all about seeing the people beyond the employee and or the work label, let's call it that.
Hugo Veiga 22:14
Just a few examples like when we first joined AKQA, we could have a book saying, Hey, this is why AKQA believes, number one, lah lah lah, number two is this, or like a guide or something like that. We actually had the privilege to have like a global tour in a few studios, some of the studios that we had, back then, maybe like 12 different studios, we visit like five or something like that we started in London, visiting Paris, Berlin, San Francisco, Portland, New York in a couple of different studios. So that way, we could like see the people not just like emails, like we know who is the Head of Innovation and it's Andy Hood, and not like anime or like a slack. We could know like the names and what they like to do, how they work, what is their process, their personal ways of working. I think that was one of the first things that we learned. So yeah, we had the privilege to visit some of the students back then.
Hugo Veiga 23:12
So we went to London to Paris, to New York, Portland, San Francisco, we spent a lot of time there. And this process made us understand who was behind an email, you know, like, it's not like one random email or like who is the Head of Innovation? We were meeting...Andy Hood, we are meeting the ECDs the managing directors, but like as people not as just like a colleague is from from work. So I think that mindset, again, we are not thinking about this theory back then. But like, naturally, we were doing that. And once we leaned back and started working, we started understanding that like, people are eight hours a day in the work, but like all the other 16 hours affecting a lot. So when we're doing resourcing like we do like a weekly creative resource, who is working on which project. We cannot just see like, the projects they did, or the hours they're available, we need to understand, are they happy? Are they excited? Are they passing through a challenging time in their lives? Are they depressed? Are they happy? So seeing the full spectrum of people, and also like when we are hiring the same thing.
Hugo Veiga 24:25
We were studying looking to portfolios and when we invited people to the garden to meet and having like these conversations, people laughed in and say like how this doesn't match the portfolio and the person like it's not the same thing. So we started skipping the work that people did and just looking for personal projects.
Hugo Veiga 24:45
Let's see what they do like as a photographer is like a musician is like designed chairs, whatever. And we got passionate about it. People were asking like oh, do you want to see my portfolio said no, like, send me whatever like. Do you cook? Send a cake, we can check it, we can talk about it. But from there, we understood that we tend to go very narrowed on trying to understand people and just seeing like the work they did. And it's like, just like a small percentage like this about like, lucky is about being exposed to the right brief in the right moment, or get a job with the agency or client that you really wanted. And sometimes it doesn't happen. And that is a lot of ambition and excitement hidden in that person. So somehow, if you can find it, when you are hiring, or when you're doing the resourcing or meeting a new client. So I think like, this is something that we always try to do is really hard like, is to read people and see, like, what is behind, especially nowadays, I think, like there's a lot of like a personnel side of people brought to work and brought, so we need to keep evolving that. But I think that is something that you were talking about, like how to integrate the values. And I think that that's key that is, especially for us in AKQA,
Hugo Veiga 26:06
We always saw ourselves as a family. So and we told everyone, that a lot of times, you know, you have someone that is seated next to you, that is not having a good day, or didn't sleep well, or has, you know, going through some struggles in their personal lives. And it's very easy to, you know, the person gives you a, you know, a dry answer, or give you a look something like this, and it's very easy for people to interpret that, like, Oh, look at that person is doing this or that.
Hugo Veiga 26:37
And we were always saying, like, never be reactive, just go there and, you know, have a conversation with the person, like, you need to start from the beginning that everyone has good intent. So you need to have a conversation with them.
Hugo Veiga 26:53
And a lot of times we'll say like, Hey, do you want some days off? Okay, like, we will always try to have this group dynamic to say like, we can't be in every moment. So everyone needs to be taking care of each other all the time, because everyone's interacting- interactions are happening at the same time several in the organization like inside the house. So this was something that we pass and we were lucky to attract talents that share the same values. And when you start creating this dynamic, if there's someone that doesn't quite fit, it will get to a point that that person will leave, because it doesn't quite fit the dynamic of the house.
Hugo Veiga 27:31
But I think this taking care of each other was also a key for our success.
Felicia Shakiba 27:37
It sounds like the key to growth and success was focusing on the people that you brought under your roof, not necessarily the work. But essentially, you're saying that the work will come as long as we find the people with the right values that fit the culture of what we're trying to build for the future.
Hugo Veiga 27:55
Exactly. You know, when you start a business, everything is just, it's a vision. So it's a speech, oh, our intent is to do this, or to do that. So the way that people believe and you get the team's trust is by actions. So there was like just an example that is very iconic on the way that we operate. We won a Grand Prix at the Clio International Awards. And so we didn't have a lot of money, like we were a small studio. But we found like, we're gonna fly everyone that participated on the project. So it was the strategy...the editor, we're gonna fly them so we found like, the cheapest flight, we'd go through Panama for like, I don't know, six hours. There connection, we rented a big Airbnb, and everyone went on stage. So this is an example of showing to everyone like, it's not that oh, we are a creative agency and the creatives are, No this actually is a collaborative process and everyone plays a role on seeing an idea get into the into the world.
Hugo Veiga 29:08
So these are the things like you might have a strong vision but it's on the day to day on the actions that you do then everyone understands like this vision is being implemented every day on our on our day to day.
Diego Machado 29:23
The small acts will build a culture.
Diego Machado 29:27
It's not like a big town hall every year that we will change from left to right or from this direction to other. It's like this is- we call it small things but like it because our quick decisions but like they're not small, right? Like they become the big things. These decisions are flying the team was like something very, oh, you have to go now let's do it. And then I think this brings consistence of the mindset. So we don't need a book saying hey, every time you win awards, you have to fly everyone, dah-da-dah. Or, every time you present, who jumps inside the room, who presents what? There is no, that is not like that. So we have the mindset. And it adapts to time, through different moments and different situations. I think like, that is lots of like going back to the Radiohead or the collaborative process that Hugo is mentioning, I think like, this is how we like to be creatives, just by one opportunity or by one decision the best, we landed in advertising, but like, we are creative people, we like to do creative stuff. We would like to create things. Maybe one day is a film or Super Bowl the other day is a song, or the other day like creating a new dish. So I think we like to explore that, as everyone here has want to work with us is like that.
Diego Machado 30:53
So I think like we started also exploring, how can we take AdWords or like the agency word or AKQA word to other boundaries? So how can we start working with musicians? We don't see other companies working beyond music labels or those? How can we be as the learnings and the strategy and our best skills that we craft with Netflix with Nike with Google and all these clients? How can we take that to partner with musicians? So started like thinking, how can we one learn from these other creatives? How can we learn from an architect, from a chef, from a graffiti artists? But also how can we collaborate with them and bringing the knowledge the skills we use for Nike for Netflix for Google for all the brands that we already work? How can we bring these skills and this knowledge to artists, to a chef, to architects? So we started getting closer to this and making like events and inviting them to the house. And I remember in the first in the beginning, like one of the first or second year, we brought like a chef to make like a special dinner in the office. So we have like special guests who have like 200 people three days in a row, like a massive dinner here. And it was so nice, so inspiring to see the process of like, designing the house as a restaurant. Which dishes are you creating, how you present the dishes? What's the name of the dishes, how you tell the story.
Diego Machado 32:27
And then we started bringing musicians with made like a few small concerts here in the office. And from there, we started meeting musicians. We did like an album cover for one artists. And then we started writing scripts for a music video. And boom, suddenly, Ajaz sent an email, Hey, Usher wants to work with you guys. It's like, what like, which Usher? Like the Usher? Or like, What do you mean like, and suddenly we were in a Skype call like with Usher, and his manager and he was sharing like a brief like, oh I have this song. I want you to do this and this and that. And then was one of our first global projects in music. And I think like from that, like we never stop it like going from Usher, Lady Gaga, Elton John, like some local artists going for music videos, or album launches for festivals, events.
Diego Machado 33:27
So I think like that's so refreshing as creatives, you know, be jump from one formal meeting with the finance teams and then going to talk to Usher, what was his inspiration for that song and, and follow the process of like crafting that song. And then sharing our work, hey this is our vision for your work? Does it help you tell the story you want? And he says let's do this. And we think like this is something that as creatives we're always pursuing but somehow once we get in the industry, we just get focused on one thing that is like the brief that is.... or maybe a to specific awards, or a specific type of work. We'd love to open and refresh our eyes like at some point say hey, what if we create like a building or like a movie, or any any other creative area that we haven't touched? And I think like as part ofAKQA is a privilege to work with, like so many different talents across the world that are in all these different areas. I don't know if we'll go want to talk a bit about the the AKQA universe of designs and architects.
Hugo Veiga 34:43
Yah, we have like we have groups we have met with this product design.
Hugo Veiga 34:50
We have Universal that actually does - it's an architecture firm and we went to London we would visit their studio that it's in the same building as a AKQA and we're like Oh my god, we're talking with architects. They are creative minds, but they are applying creativity in a different way. And we are having access to it. So for us as creatives it's like Christmas, you know, like we have suddenly so many toys to play with.
Hugo Veiga 35:15
And this is really the way that we always think, when going back to being naive... being naive is understanding that everything is possible. Now, there are no constraints. And that is something that has always guided us like, yeah, like we do what we believe. And then suddenly things, it's almost like the universe is getting back to us, like, Oh, here's Usher, oh, my God. And then we start working. And then we work with another artist. And then it's like an upcoming artist from Brazil. And we won a Grand Prix at Cannes, the Music Grand Prix, together with Childish Gambino, this is America, and they were like, the jury said, like they are on the same level. So we're gonna give two Grand Prix's. So it's something that it's so crazy. But we're not, I think we're never acknowledging that, not to be overwhelmed. It's always like, let's put our eyes in the world, into the people, like, everyone's, everyone's fine, like looking around, everyone's fine, like, let's continue, let's have fun. And things start happening. And in the end, you are mentioning, Felicia, a lot of times the values, and we're always thinking about like, its added value. And a lot of times in corporations, the values is just numbers at the end percentages.
Hugo Veiga 36:34
And, you know, and for us, like it's, it's if you have the right values at the core, and you protect those values, then you're adding value to your clients, to the brands that we serve, to the people that are part of our team, to the partners that we have.
Hugo Veiga 36:52
It's also the relationship that we have with some production companies with film production companies. That is something that is like it's an ecosystem of, of human relationships.
Hugo Veiga 37:01
And through those values, if we're adding value into these people's lives in our day-to-day, even with a smile, in the end, the numbers will come. It's really something that you should just focus on what's in the middle. At the end, like things will get back to you.
Hugo Veiga 37:19
And we are privileged. And I know it's luck, to have people that were part of this journey, and still are part of this journey. We have that financial stability. We're having fun, as any industry in the world, we have highs and lows, we have hard days, we have challenging projects, but in the end like it needs to be we need to be happy. Again, we need to be happy with what we're doing. It's always the long term journey, that it's the most important.
Felicia Shakiba 37:49
Everything that you do, you're just pushing the accelerator button on these values and things that you really cherish the most. And it sounds like a lot of that has to do with the people that you work with and what they're passionate about, and being able to tease out of them what they love about life and their work. And then you're able to be inclusive leaders and bring all of that to the forefront and deliver it with every relationship with whom you do business with. And that in itself is your story.
Hugo Veiga 38:26
Haha, I think, ya, that's it.
Diego Machado 38:27
Felicia Shakiba 38:28
Thank you. Hugo, Diego, I hope everybody listens to your story. It is incredibly impressive and inspiring. And thank you so much for your time.
Hugo Veiga 38:40
Yeah, thank you so much for the invite.
Diego Machado 38:42
Thank you. Thank you so much for the time for inviting us. We are passionate about this story. And we love to remember those and creating new stories. So yeah, thanks for having the time to listen.
Hugo Veiga 38:56
Felicia Shakiba 38:58
That's Hugo Veiga and Diego Machado, Co-Global Chief Creative Officers at AKQA São Paulo.
Felicia Shakiba 39:12
If you liked today’s episode, we have more podcasts on innovative HR strategies, talent management, organizational culture, and more, and how to navigate the complexities of modern-day HR. Find them, at CPO Playbook dot com slash podcasts or search CPO Playbook on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen. Thanks for listening to the CPO Playbook podcast - we’ll be back with a new episode next time. I’m Felicia Shakiba.
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