This episode of Dreams With Deadlines features a seasoned marketing pro who heart-centered approach has special resonance as employees adapt to evolving hybrid conditions.
Host Jenny Herald talks with Gideon Pridor, CMO and Chief Storyteller at the internal enterprise communications platform Workvivo, who explains why emotional connection and community are more important than ever in a post-pandemic world. Leadership teams that embrace storytelling and value personal engagement do better with all-important employee retention and commitment to the work.
Learn why customer experience and bottom-line revenue are also directly impacted by personal, well-researched, mindful marketing campaigns.
Key things discussed
- The need for deeper, more authentic connection within distributed workplaces.
- Workvivo’s highly interactive approach to intranet communications based in collaboration, posting and sharing – not top-down C-Suite communiques.
- The strategy behind story-driven marketing – a transparent, human-centered approach that inspires customer loyalty and engagement.
- Case studies and some of the specific tools Gidi and his team use to generate compelling content that in turn drives revenue – a correlation too often overlooked by bottom line-driven leadership teams.
- The blended approach Workvivo takes to incorporating OKRs that are both transactional and inspirational – a nimble combo when it comes to maintaining employee commitment and achieving objectives in the midst of rapid growth.
- And finally … Speaking of scaling, Gidi explain how knitting our company cultures together through shared stories not only supports the Holy Grail of employee retention and motivation. It also sends a resonant message out into the marketplace – one that pays real dividends in sales and brand loyalty.
What you will learn in this episode
- [00:03:53] Before and After: A look at the transformative effects of pandemic on the workplace and the way in which employees value their time.
- [00:04:35] Gidi views “The Great Resignation” as a binary way of looking at a much bigger issue: Working from home has unleashed a new sensibility. Workers at all levels of the enterprise are no longer willing to place hours on the job above quality of life.
- [00:06:44] Employers have had to look for ways to connect teams and build community internally to keep staff engaged even in heavily distributed environments.
- [00:09:11] There is opportunity to be found in adapting to remote work — especially for smaller, agile organizations that can offer workers (particularly younger workers) a sense of meaningful human connection and belonging.
- [00:10:18] Absent a traditional water cooler environment, the chief task for leadership teams today is to build bridges among remote workers.
- [00:10:41] Because 70 percent of employees are frontlines workers not connected via internet or social media channels, Gidi believes there’s an historic opportunity to fill that gap, digitally enfranchising and motivating them.
- [00:11:28] If Gtmhub is the nervous system, Workvivo is the heart and arteries that bind company cultures in hybrid conditions that require new ways of collaboration.
- [00:12:18] Gidi explains how Workvivo acts as an internal communications platform – but without the cumbersome, clunky interface associated with traditional intranets.
- [00:13:18] Workvivo is a community-led platform that transcends one-way corporate communications to empower employee interaction similar to that on social media. Likes, comments, analytics, peer-to-peer posting of content, podcasts, livestreams. It’s an entirely different user experience.
- [00:14:18] Corporate values, positive reinforcement and community building are central to Workvivo’s rich ecosystem.
- [00:18:28] All about Gideon – and the passion for storytelling that has been a driver throughout a purpose-driven marketing career that has emphasized connection.
- [00:20:03] Gideon shares some of the tools and rules he has developed around story-led marketing, including:
- Evoking feeling is critical to winning over consumers.
- B2B also revolves around story – not just the features a product offers but how it will improve the company’s culture or earnings potential.
- It’s critical to invest the time to talk to/understand the customers you’re targeting now – and in the future.
- PR, advertising and marketing are fueled by different business requirements.
- [00:22:28] An example of a story-led Workvivo initiative that garnered 200+ media mentions globally. It was an investment in research that paid off in a big way.
- [00:24:32] Gidi shares thoughts on the evolving mandate for executives: Retention. The key management strategy for keeping employees engaged and productive post-pandemic emphasizes mentorship and emotional connection – not keeping tabs.
- [00:26:00] Younger generations are demanding more nurturing, more independence and the help of enlightened management in building/navigating meaningful careers.
- [00:29:34] Gidi reflects on the place of OKRs and measurable results. Do they align with the emotion-based mandates of story-led marketing and employee experience? Initially Workvivo’s singular focus on core values didn’t require OKRs, but scaling demands clear objective measures to keep the growing enterprise on track.
- [00:31:27] The aspects of OKRs that Gidi particularly appreciates:
- It’s not a binary system that forces over-planning or paralysis.
- The guardrails foster experimentation without fear of catastrophic failure.
- There’s room to balance “fluffy” initiatives with quantifiable measures.
- OKRs act as beacon – enabling teams to map to an objective vision.
- [00:33:34] About the adjustments Workvivo has made to their OKRs to accommodate fast growth and evolving objectives:
- Designating an owner to provide operational support to leadership teams in the execution of OKRs, thus preventing bottlenecks.
- Creating an interplay between OKRs that allows for both Transactional and Inspirational measures; a deliberate balance of realism and vision.
- Mapping short-term goals (i.e. quarterly) to big-picture, longer-term objectives based on interim key results.
- [00:37:28] Jenny shares thoughts and an example of how rigid, fixed OKR measures (in some cases not fully relevant) can produce unintended patterns and misleading data.
- [00:38:57] Gidi spells out four levels of alignment necessary to achieve objectives:
- Process and safety.
- Functional systems.
- Relational values and approaches.
- Inspirational vision and clearly articulated mission.
- [00:40:23] Why objectives are so important – and so hard to nail. In the vast majority of cases, clearly defined desired outcomes drive successful OKR execution.
- [00:40:59] Jenny shares info from a Stanford Project study that diagrams four elements of means and control coordination that set organizations up for success:
- Direct Monitoring (such as call centers, customer experience follow-up).
- Peer and Cultural Control: Building an environment in which teams feel committed to showing up for and problem-solving with each other.
- Clearly established professional standards and protocols.
- Formal processes and procedures.
- [00:42:12] The startups that tended to fare best, according to Stanford, placed a heavy emphasis on Peer and Cultural Control – cultivating environments in which performance metrics reflect employee engagement and commitment.
- [00:42:55] Quick-Fire Questions for Gidi:
- What’s your dream with a deadline? To travel around the world for a year with his wife and two kids sometime within the next six years.
- What do you appreciate about Workvivo and the team you lead? They are the best in the business – fierce, focused and mighty. There is a culture of “extreme ownership” that looks like a startup within a start-up.
- What’s the biggest strategic challenge for CMOs, especially in a B2B environment? Securing respect and buy-in from executive teams who tend not to understand the sales that smart, story-driven marketing can drive.
- [00:46:28] Gidi highly recommends that marketing professionals seek out companies (like Workvivo) that “get,” acknowledge and are willing to let marketing inform internal strategy beyond the transactional.