We’ve noticed a few things our companies to watch have in common. Verizon and Salesforce, for example, which we covered earlier, are constantly innovating. They have strong cultures that reinforce this mindset, and they attract the world’s best talent.
They’re also big on using their heritage. Coincidence?
We don’t think so—and that’s true for these two companies as well.
How can an organization support a culture of progress and innovation?
It might seem odd to look backward for inspiration, but often that’s just what you should do to support innovation. Many of the world’s most famous brands have archives filled with physical and digital artifacts for employees to access. Putting those materials and stories into context can help ground employees in how previous generations tackled problems, engage people with the brand and demonstrate how it evolved and where it can go next.
To inform and inspire innovation, PUMA overhauled its archives in the late 2010s to include 360-degree scans of its shoes that shoe designers and other employees can access. It also has a website dedicated to sharing stories from the archives about its employees, products and athletes. For a more literal example, check out the PUMA Archive Remastered collection, released in 2023 for its 75th anniversary.
When a company can prove that innovation is in its DNA, that resonates with prospective hires as well.
After S&P Global rebranded from McGraw Hill Financial, one of its focuses was building a career site that better showcased its talented and diverse workforce. The financial brand turned to its people to share what it’s like to work at the firm, using its heritage as a framing device. The people who built S&P Global’s legacy companies were pioneers and thinkers, and the site challenges new hires to “find your place in S&P’s legacy.”
A company whose employees have embraced innovation for more than 160 years—that’s the type of culture top talent wants to join. We also helped S&P Global draw on its history to inspire a new employee value proposition and validate its new brand positioning.
Up next: Learn how Patagonia and Southwest Airlines use their heritage to build confidence with all types of audiences.