Building a Great Brand Through People
Digital Advertising 06.07.2022

Building a Great Brand Through People

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In today’s episode, Mindi Cox, discusses the importance of a deep relationship in business and how companies need to be aligned with their customers’ goals if they want to be successful. When companies are not aligned, it is doomed from the start. Taking a closer look at the people involved–the employees (internally) and the customers (externally)–and focusing on their experience to allow impact is the way.

About the Guest

Mindi Cox works to connect people with purpose to deliver human-centered business results. As O.C. Tanner’s Chief Marketing & People Officer, she believes an organization’s potential is tied to its sense of humanity. After 24 years in Sales, Marketing, and as a Human Resource Executive, she is more committed than ever to cultivating workplace cultures where individuals experience personal and professional progress. Professionally, Mindi is most proud of her role in influencing the ever-evolving workplace goodness that the people of O.C. Tanner and their clients experience every day. O.C. Tanner is a three-time Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For honoree.

Connect with Mindy Cox

Key Takeaways

  • Mindy Cox is the Chief Marketing and People Officer at OC Tanner, where she believes an organization’s potential is tied to its sense of humanity.
  • HR should be focused on solving problems for clients and helping to drive revenue and innovation. To do this, HR must have a holistic view of the organization, which is why sales must also be considered when developing strategies.
  • Just because someone is in a customer marketer role does not mean that they need to be good at math and statistics.
  • Embrace positions that encompass multiple skills and perspectives to create a more effective team.
  • Companies should be aligned with what they are trying to accomplish to have a successful relationship.
  • Effective employee recognition should be based on behaviors that lead to business outcomes, and it should be done in a way that is meaningful to employees.


“Marketing is a fascinating discipline, but it has to be performed or enabled in a way that has a very directed outcome, a very clear outcome.” – Mindi Cox

Highlights from the Episode

Tell us about your journey from Chief People Officer to Chief Marketing Officer and your career path in general.

I certainly have been given some great opportunities throughout my career, which did start in sales. I started as an RFP writer, somebody that was responding to the deals that were coming into our company, and what a wonderful way to learn an organization to work with sales. And specifically with bid responses, I would challenge anyone who’s trying to learn what their company does, the difference it makes, and how it makes money to go study an RFP response, because that’s all that those companies are asking us and how we’re going to deliver value in exchange for the value that they’re going to provide to us. I wanted to understand the problems that they were solving, which led me to market. I made a move from sales to marketing a few years into my career where I got to get up close with clients. I fell in love with the difference that HR leaders were making in their companies. I came in with more of having an eye toward developing employee experience as part of the HR team and then learned practical and operational HR by osmosis by amazing team members, and eventually grew into leading that team. I’m energized by having a team that is focused on solving my problems as a CPO. 

What kind of a marketing role did you go to?

I went into a marketing communications role. My discipline was in writing for our sales team and telling our story, so it was a pretty natural move. For me, I knew the problem that our clients were trying to solve because they were asking it in very clear ways during the RFP process and our follow-up interviews and selling conversations. I was picking the salient points up because I knew what would help other clients by telling the stories of our current clients. Marketing is a fascinating discipline, but it has to be performed or enabled in a way that has a very directed outcome, a very clear outcome.

Tell us about your guiding principles and your leadership style.

“Who you are is how you lead” by Brené Brown — I keep this on the wall in my office because I think it’s true. It’s about the superpower of empathy. No matter what discipline you work in with, no matter what type of team you lead, when you can see something through to the end, people will experience a decision you’re making, a change that you’re championing. What matters is who’s on the phone with you, when they talk about a solution that’s deeply personal to them at that moment, they have to feel that we already have solved that problem for ourselves. We don’t want to paint a vision for a journey that we haven’t already been on.

What have you noticed about how the CFOs of today are a lot more involved in the business?

I think it has a lot to do with an executive team mentality. We’re stewards of investment. In the company, being the CFO is the specialty brought to the group, but this certainly entails calling on the specialties within the executive team very liberally, because these professionals know what they don’t know. We have great finance partners that will say, “What does success look like for your team? Let’s set you up with a budget that’s going to be aligned with the outcomes that you’re looking for this year.” They are great partners and I think that they think about the business in a more holistic way than perhaps they ever have.

Is there a book, blog, newsletter, website, or video that you would recommend to our listeners?


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