HOLLYWOOD, FL: ADT, the security company, fully discovered its marketing "swagger" by thoroughly re-examining its current structures and procedures, as well as learning to take educated risks.

Jerri DeVard, the firm's SVP/CMO, spoke about this subject at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2016 Brand Masters Conference in Hollywood, Florida.

And she discussed how ADT's marketing team implemented a wide-ranging assessment of its existing structures and processes as it set about promoting new products for the connected home – an activity placing it up against new rivals like Google, Apple and Lowe's.

"The first thing I had to do was inspire the marketing team to find its swagger. We faced risk and opportunity in equal parts," she said. (For more, including further details of how the company enhanced its in-house processes, read Warc's exclusive report: How to rebuild, retool and re-swagger a marketing department.)

"We had to develop new chops to capitalise on that. We really had to learn to be fearless and nimble in the face of change and that took honest self-reflection."

This effort began with the apparently simple – but fundamental – task of updating job descriptions, which often had informally evolved in line with new technologies, capabilities and strategies.

Among the slate of other activities led by DeVard were reassessing the résumés of current employees to identify untapped skills, conducting anonymous "engagement" surveys asking how the firm might improve, holding town-hall meetings and producing a marketing "yearbook".

In combination, she reported, such "small steps" had "a disproportionately big impact on our team cohesion and sense of family."

And this greater sense of security as a team helped ADT's marketers grow more comfortable with taking risks in their communications.

"We had to learn to take educated risks with our 'true confessions.' We're a security company. Risk-taking has not historically been a part of our DNA. We're all about making sure that you're protected when you need to be and we don't want to mess around with that," said DeVard.

"The marketing team really was the heart and soul of our organisation. We embraced the fact that we were the engine that would drive ADT growth, not just support it, full stop."

Data sourced from Warc