In business today, it isn't enough to have a talented team - you have to have a passionate group of brand champions dedicated to a common goal. That's why I hire for culture and passion, in addition to domain expertise and state-of-the-art skills.
We are at a pivotal time in business where marketing is on a new quest: it’s moving from being a service provider to the business to being the growth engine of the business. It’s a growth engine that directly drives revenue and firmly plants our brands in the customer’s consideration set. And, while the fundamentals of marketing haven’t changed, the way customers research, evaluate, and make purchase decisions certainly HAS.
Today’s marketing teams need to build different muscles and competencies - in other words, different superpowers - to create magic within our brands and capture the hearts, minds and wallets of our customers. And the foundation for any great team is a strong team culture.
When a marketer is brought in to drive change, it is understandable that everyone expects them to start with the "What." What should the marketing strategies be to drive revenue? What products should we build demand for and for which audiences? What tactics do we need to support the strategies? But the “How” is as important as the “What.” How do we operate together as a team to accomplish our goals? How can we amplify the superpowers we already have and build the ones we still need? How do we ensure we are all working with shared values and purpose? And how do we show up as a team?
Brocade has a strong fabric of trust and collaboration in its culture, building on its essence of co-creation. Therefore, working together as a team isn’t just a bonus, it is absolutely fundamental to growing our business and our bottom line. In order to reflect our brand DNA, we needed to create everyday superheroes within our marketing team who are living examples of what we stand for. We began by defining our current and aspirational team values, which we describe as Trust, Results, Innovation, Best Self and Enthusiasm. We are a TRIBE of passionate, empowered individuals.
Creating a truly authentic culture means building a platform where each team member of our marketing TRIBE can thrive and be his and her best self at work and beyond. But this can’t just be an elusive idea or a mantra that you put on the wall in the office – everyone in your team (and perhaps beyond it) must feel as if they are an active part of the TRIBE. That means celebrating each other and highlighting achievements.
Start by creating a value system in everything you do, from providing feedback as a leader to championing a peer’s innovation on a project. For example, we love to highlight our TRIBE heroes. These are the people that consistently embody our values. Marketing staff encourages our team members to submit an email that highlights someone else. These emails are then sent to our CMO and leadership team. In some cases, she will respond directly to the individuals - both the hero and the person that takes the time to send the email - with thanks and acknowledgment. In other cases, she will share the email with the entire global team. In this way, hidden heroes around the world are appreciated for their work and contributions.
It doesn’t have to always be project-related but it does need to be specific, sharing what they did and why it was important to the team, company or customer.
This not only recognizes your team members for their contribution, it helps everyone understand how best to tap into each person’s skills for maximum results. It illuminates the superpowers of the team, which is valuable insight when working to keep your team inspired and enthusiastic!
Culture is critical for business and for customers as well. We are in a networking age where your reach as an individual can be exponential. Your team members are the entry point into your company. With the ability to reach and impact customers like never before, having a passionate team of superheroes who are living your brand values is more important than ever. It shows the humans behind the brand; It shows your value in the lives of everyday people; It helps deliver amazing customer experiences at every touchpoint; And it helps a company show its authenticity.
Tomorrow's leaders are the companies that best unlock the passion and superpowers of their employees and customers today. Every day when I wake up, I think about how we are driving revenue for our company. I keep my finger on the pulse of the industry and look for ways to inspire innovation within my team, knowing that success starts with our marketing TRIBE.
That is the true superpower of any leader – the ability to inspire others to be their best selves.
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