The real reason why Stéréosuper closed its doors.

What I learned from the closing of Stéréosuper.

Not long ago I was still working at Stéréosuper. Today I will tell you what I learned from the last three years there.

Recently the agency closed its doors for good. So, a lot of people were asking me:
“I don’t understand why? You seemed fine. What happened?”.

At first, I wasn’t able to really answer the question. I could tell what were the factors leading to the end… but I didn’t understand the why behind all of it.

Today, I think that I finally got it, I found “the why”.

What was stereosuper ?

To begin with, we need to really understand what was Stéréosuper.

Creatives working together to create strong communications for others.
That was the idea.
So, Jean-François Perrault and Boris Forconi started working with brands around the way they communicate who they are.

Quickly after the agency’s beginning, they started making websites for their clients. For the next 10 years, they did mostly websites for startups and sometimes their brand identities.

In the last 2–3 years (right before I got there) they started exploring new realities like user research and product design for some clients. They tried to launch a startup… One day, one of the two bosses quit. The next day, they wanted to merge with another agency. Boom the end.

Yes, it started to get a bit messy in the end. At first, I thought that it was the problem, the answer to “Why they closed the business?”.
But I was wrong. I hadn’t found the core problem of all of this.

So, one day I wondered: “What is the common denominator of all this mess?”.

The common denominator

That messy part, at the end of the timeline, seemed to start in 2019. So I started digging what happened that year. What was the trigger of all those changes?

After a lot of thinking and re-reading our old Notion I realized that, in that year, Boris tried to clearly define the agency’s vision.

The vision as it was written in Notion:

“Prendre plus de plaisir à travailler. Ensemble. Maintenant.”
Translation: “Have more fun while working. Together. Now.

Everything has gone nuts right after the vision was written and shown to the whole agency.

Why a simple vision took us down?

That is at this moment that I realized why the vision took Stéréosuper down.
Everybody at Stéréosuper was offered the right to redefined an unclear vision for them.

The goal of defining your brand’s vision is to give a clearer picture of what success looks like. The goal is to help every member of a community align their vision of a common mission.

With the blurry vision that we defined at Stéréosuper everyone of us were able to:

  • Individually define “have more fun”.
  • Individually define “together”.

Some translated this incomplete vision into X. Others into Y.

Some of the “sub-visions” I’ve been able to collect from the agency’s last 6 months:

  • “I want to be more creative for our clients”.
  • “I want to make cleaner code to help my client maintain their project longer”.
  • “I want to make fast, not so clean projects, as long as the client is happy”.
  • “I want to make cleaner designs to help our clients maintain their design systems better.”

All the mess came from the branching of one not so well-defined vision.

Please make your vision palpable.

Blurry visions are dangerous. We’ve gone from a united team to individuals fighting for their own explanations of the word “fun”.

Articulating your vision is crucial. If you do it wrong it can lead to your whole company’s failure.

A vision needs to be as precise as possible. It is meant to guide people towards the main objective… not divide them along the way.

If you don’t define it correctly, people will.
As a leader, you’ll be asked to articulate it.
That is one of your only two missions:

  • Articulate the vision for the group.
  • Sacrifice yourself to protect others during the hard times.

I hope this will guide you in guiding others.
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Have a nice day!

Alban.

Alban Mezino. Brand Strategist. CEO of Mental Breakdown.