Core values undoubtedly determine the path of a brand. Companies that have a clear vision are likely to be more resistant to adversity than those that don’t. Denise Broady, CMO at WorkForce Software, knows plenty about both core values and adversity. Having fled Vietnam as a child, Denise learned to become resilient by sticking to her roots while growing up in Richmond, Virginia. She learned in her post-graduate job quest that a strong foundation should be the backbone of any company.
When Denise arrived at WorkForce Software, she noticed that the core brand values had not be clearly defined. Working with the leadership team, she made this her top priority. Needless to say, changing the heart and soul of the established international company was no easy feat. That didn’t stop Denise from helping to redefine WorkForce’s ideology from the inside out.
On this Renegade Thinkers Unite episode, Denise Broady explains how she managed to help construct WorkForce’s values and drive its future success. You can listen to the episode here. (These show notes were prepared by Jay Tellini.)
Here are some sample questions and answers from RTU host Drew Neisser’s interview with Denise:
Drew: What do you think is the most renegade thing you’ve done at WorkForce so far?
Denise: Coming in, it was tough to even look at the company and say, “Wow, we don’t even have core values.” So how do you go through the process to define core values? Our core values are everything around put customers first, make it happen, celebrate our success. The CEO at WorkForce asked marketing to really have the initiative. Imagine taking these three principles, going out with a small team, getting 25 people to sign off and endorse it, and then roll it out to the entire company. It’s not a brand new company. When you have to come in and actually change people’s perspective on something so fundamental as core values, it’s not an easy task.
How did you go about getting the folks in the organization to embrace WorkForce’s new core values and make them their own?
Denise: We huddled as a management team. We came up with the concept, but not the actual names of the core values. And then we took the 25 folks across the various business. We ran all the workshops. They flushed out the final three core values. And then when we launched it at the company meeting, we ran the communications around it. There was a video, there was a booklet that was handed to everybody. It was put into every headquarter that we had globally. So the most important thing, as you mentioned, it’s not about the words on the pamphlet; it’s about getting people to embrace it.
Drew: In many companies, the process informs the values. In your case, however, the values inform the process. How do you manage to do that?
Denise: Yeah, actually we didn’t roll out the core values until a year after I was at WorkForce Software, so it was really a second year. And as you mentioned, you’ve got to really feel what the company is about because it needs to be authentic and it needs to be adopted by every single employee. And because we’re globally distributed, we also need to make sure everybody in the UK feels the same, that everybody in Australia feels the same, and also Livonia, Michigan, and then all the remote folks. So it’s really critical. I think that you can do the process piece first, but sometimes if you have a key deliverable like the core values, then laying out some of the additional processes will definitely help later on.
Drew: Right now as you look ahead, what are the things that you think you can do as a CMO that will make the biggest difference for the company?
Denise: I always tell our team it’s not about being integrated to sales; it’s about being integrated to the business. We can change and inspire so many. We can be change agents in so many portions of the business. A great partner I is Leslie Ternaki, who leads our H.R. I remember calling her and said, “Leslie, it’s my first year anniversary here and I just got a clock from us” and I said, “first of all, nobody uses clocks anymore. Can we change our employee gift?” And it seems so minor, but these are areas where when you have a great relationship with different areas in the business, we can come in and make these changes very quickly. And doing things like employee advocacy, we just ran this past quarter through our social channels WorkForce around the world and we gave out these water bottles where people would travel all around the world and they’d take a picture of their water bottles. And it’s been one of the best run advocacy programs for us and I really do truly believe employees–if they love their brand, if they are passionate about where they work–it will amplify on the market and what we do.
What You’ll Learn
- How to establish a clear brand purpose, starting internally
- How to become a determined team leader
- How to integrate your team into the business – not into sales
- Where to find brilliant creative marketing resources
Quotes from Denise Broady
- When you have to come in and actually change people’s perspective on something so fundamental as core values, it’s not an easy task.
- You’ve got to really feel what the company is about because it needs to be authentic and it needs to be adopted by every single employee.
- People think marketers all work on brands and logo and do this creative stuff, but without the process and without the KPIs, you can’t measure and you cannot show effectiveness.
- If you fundamentally believe in something, start by taking your proposal.