The Brand Strategy Experience Department at a major Academic Health Center developed a strategic plan to become a leader in health and science innovation by ensuring a sustainable infrastructure and creating a diverse and inclusive environment for improving health equity, transforming learning, and partnering with the community. Within the first year of activation, it became abundantly clear that significant changes would have to be made within the organization to realize their long-term goals. Organizational silos, outdated tools, and a lack of audience-centricity led the university to partner with CMG to implement a new way of working.
Over the course of a year, CMG partnered with the brand experience team to plan, pilot, and scale the adoption of agile mindset and practices. The approach included implementation of practices and deep coaching focused on driving effectiveness and efficiency.
Mindset and Leadership Coaching and Development - The CMG agile coaching team partnered with the leadership team to coach and help them become coaches of an agile marketing mindset. This was done by establishing cross-functional teams, implementing new ways of working, and daily coaching. Coaching focused on challenging the University’s current beliefs on how work should be done and prioritizing outcomes over outputs, putting the audience at the center of all work products. CMG supported leadership development for all teams, elevating existing capabilities to be more strategic, rather than just task takers. The development of a Navigators team, supported by intense executive coaching, broke down silos and created space for intentional cross-functional collaboration.
Improved Intake - In the spirit of putting individuals over processes and tools, intake was optimized through the department’s existing Work Management Solution to meet the unique needs of newly developed teams. This included Workfront trainings, the development of an intake process for marketing requests, and the automation of task tracking. Such efforts gave the brand strategy team members a streamlined way to process external requests, the confidence to utilize their work management software, and the ability to strategically prioritize tasks and be more predictable.
Governance and Strategic Repositioning – In coaching teams, we strongly believe that transparency is one of the primary values of Agile. As such, CMG worked to restructure teams based on audience outcomes rather than business lines. This strategic realignment allowed each functional role to be elevated in serving as voice of the customer. Specifically, marketing managers were positioned to serve as leaders of functional practices rather than serving as an unnecessary layer of project management.These functional practice areas resulted in a feedback loop of learning and professional development. In addition, a cross-functional leadership team of Navigators was established to ensure the work being done by all teams was aligned with the long-term strategic goals of the organization.
Brand strategy began to see a demonstrable impact on effectiveness, an ability to do more with less, and an increased level of flexibility throughout teams within the first year. Here’s a few quotes from team members one year into their journey:
“Before, when a new piece of data came in, it would derail the whole project, and now we can be more nimble and shift.” – Content Strategist
“You don’t have to be churning every day - it’s okay to not have an update every day at standup… it’s about outcomes over outputs.” – Program Manager
“There’s no "right" way of doing something. Experiment and learn.” – Patient Experience
“We are expanding what we do so that our results and impact are in service of the audience’s brand experience.” – Brand Strategy Director