What’s with the Monkey?

Emma Jekowsky by Emma Jekowsky | April 12, 2016


Curley Co Monkey

‘We never put a monkey on your back’ is one of the core principles of The Curley Promise to our clients.  Below, our President and CEO, Jennifer Curley, shares her insights on how the idea came about and how it shapes the way we differentiate our agency and deliver for our clients.

Q: Where did you get the idea of the monkey?

JC: The idea came from a former client, who sent me the article, “Management Time: Who’s Got the Monkey?” from the Harvard Business Review. She sent me the article five or so years ago and told me, ‘One of the things I really love about [Curley Company] is you never put a monkey on my back.’ In reading the article, the management philosophy really resonated with me and it’s since become a driving force for how I want us to treat our clients and how I want to be treated by my employees.

The monkey concept also reminds us not to take ourselves too seriously. The flipside of monkeys is that they are fun – they’re cute, funny looking and they’ve got a lot of personality. So the idea of monkeys jumping on your back is a fun way to remind everybody that that’s how we roll around here. We are the people who catch the monkey so they don’t jump on your back.

Q: How do you implement this for Curley Company clients?

JC: The concept is simple: we’re not going to create more problems for you – we’re going to hopefully take yours away. This comes to fruition in our Curley Promise, which includes ten things we’ve agreed to do our best to deliver.  They all revolve around the concept of never putting a monkey on the client’s back.

It seems to be working.  Last year, we hired an outside consultant to do some research and talk to our customers as part of our re-branding process, and our clients said that what they really valued were things like our strategic counsel and our loyalty; that we’re resourceful and willing to figure out problems; and that we come with solutions. Not only did clients value those aspects of our work for them, but they also felt like we were delivering on our promises. That’s why we decided to embrace this concept even further and really promote it as a differentiator for our agency.

Q: How does the monkey concept help Curley Company staff do their jobs?

JC: We like monkeys because we’re PR people; we appreciate a strong, simple message. If we focus our work style on the monkeys, it simplifies everything for our staff. It helps boil down the Curley Promise to a simple mantra: don’t forget the monkey.   It has become a memorable visual representation of what we’re trying to do here every day.