The Genesis Project Episode Twenty-Nine

When Shirley and Jim approached their next interview, they were surprised to find that it was with Shawnda Maston, the VP of Marketing. She was the only executive that Grace had asked them to interview. She began by asking her to describe her job.

“This is a competitive business segment we are in. I must tell you there were times when I felt that my job was one of manipulation and fear. Our marketing campaigns were built around gimmicks. I think you interviewed one of our staff earlier who deals with one of those gimmicks: we will take back your out-of-date product. That’s an effective marketing tool, but it’s a gimmick. We sell our reliability by instilling fear in what might happen if they buy our rival’s product.”

“I can tell you as a neuroscientist that manipulation and fear do work”, said Jim. “But I sense that neither of these make you comfortable.”

“That’s true. I feel like I’m selling some type of diet wonder drug. I honestly hated my job. But now that’s changed.”

“Please go on”, said Shirley. “We can’t wait to hear what you’ve done.”

“I asked Grace why. I wanted to know why she had taken a different path than other entrepreneurs. We had a series of why discussions that lasted for weeks.”

“That’s great, but how did it make you like your job?” asked Jim.

“It’s changed our marketing approach. We are now focused on why we do what we do. Our focus is on our corporate values and beliefs. Every ad has a quote from my meetings with Grace. Sure we feature our products, but the focus is on the core values that led to the product.”

“That’s refreshing”, said Shirley. “I’m sure it makes you stand out from your competitors. But has it led to sales?”

“We just had the best two quarters in our company’s history. I don’t want to claim that the change in marketing was the entire reason for our success. The why culture that’s been created in our company has also been a big contributor, but I do believe the change in marketing has been a success.”

After several more questions, Shirley and Jim left to meet up with Grace. They had enough information from the interviews to wrap up their efforts. But they wanted to share with Grace their plans for going forward.

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True success is reaching our potential without compromising our values.” – Muhammad Ali

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