“Ultimately, I decided I just wanted to create the kind of place that people want to work on Monday morning – they want to come, there’s no Sunday night dread. And again, it doesn’t mean that it’s perfect. But what it does mean is that we’re focused on the right things.” – Mike Sullivan, CEO of The LOOMIS Agency


A Strong Culture is a Competitive Advantage

Mike Sullivan speaks with experience and authority. As CEO of the LOOMIS agency, he and his team have made it their mission to help challenger brands win more market share. And he has observed that no matter how great the branding is, if the culture stinks, the company will struggle.

LOOMIS boasts half the turnover rate of other agencies. They themselves are a challenger brand that continues to crack the culture nut with multiple, year-over-year wins as a Best Place to Work. And as a result, they produce award-winning creative.

But what is a challenger brand, and why is culture so important? I sit down with Mike and we discuss challenging the status quo, how culture and brand are inextricably linked, and how he and his team keep culture alive at LOOMIS. We also discuss brands that have successfully nurtured culture by including it in their purpose, values, and leadership competencies.

What is a Challenger Brand?

“Really challenger brands are those that are certainly challenged from a resource standpoint, but they’re also oriented towards disruption. They’re oriented towards shaking up the marketplace, changing the rules, in a way that favors them… People within an organization need to think of and understand themselves as challengers.“

Clients Impact Culture, Too

[11:30] “Culture is going to reflect in large part by the company that you keep. If you’ve got difficult, challenging, unreasonable clients, then that’s going to infect your culture. It’s what you tolerate.…

[12:30] “What I always look for is the way they [potential clients] treat [our] people and the way they treat their people – how they interact, how they engage.”

Company Culture – Build an Extended Family

[15:33] “The number-one word people use to describe rich, rewarding, and supportive cultures is family…they do become sort of an extension of your family…

[15:14] “And I always think about that, you know, are these the kind of people that I want to put in relationship with our [team], because I think the world of our folks…who do you want to bring into your family, so to speak?”

For further exploration:


Mike Sullivan: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikesullivanatloomis/

The LOOMIS Agency: https://theloomisagency.com

The Voice of the Underdog: How Challenger Brands Create Distinction by thinking Culture First https://theloomisagency.com/challengerbook


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