Bold and catchy, the slogan “Embrace Volatility” was recently launched by Crowe, a leading accounting, consulting and technology firm in the United States with offices around the world. The powerful brand idea, broadcast in television commercials and digital billboards, is a clear call for our times.
“You can be overwhelmed by volatility Where seek to understand, navigate, manage and ultimately identify ways to capitalize on uncertainty,” says Chris Goodman, Crowe’s chief marketing officer who developed this idea with Crowe’s management, in partnership with my motion marketing agency , StrawberryFrog.
Crowe is a goal driven company, and Chris is very goal driven. He grew up as an avid baseball player and tried out with the New York Yankees. Following this, he began a career in marketing, with CMO roles at KPMG, Accenture and now Crowe. We sat down with Chris to understand this idea and its resonance.
What is the biggest business challenge for you in 2022?
As 2022 began, it looked like some of the uncertainty we saw in 2020 and 2021 was finally starting to calm down. Then 2022 quickly got mired in inflation, stock market volatility, a looming recession and war in Ukraine. What a good reminder that navigating and finding value in uncertainty is always our greatest challenge and our greatest opportunity.
How does Crowe overcome this challenge?
We help our key stakeholders (our employees, our recruits, our customers and our communities) navigate through uncertain times to create value – and we define value through each of their lenses. Our people and our recruits are looking for rich and rewarding careers. Our clients are looking to drive growth, increase efficiency or mitigate risk. To help them, we unleash the power of our people across our audit, tax, advisory and consulting services to apply their deep expertise and functional knowledge. Our communities are looking for active participants to help shape a better tomorrow.
What does “embracing volatility” mean?
It is rooted in the reality that volatility (personal and professional) is a perennial notion. It’s finding the spark of excitement in the unknown. Some of the greatest innovations and collaborations were born out of accident or chaos. One can be overwhelmed by volatility or seek to understand, navigate, manage and ultimately identify ways to take advantage of uncertainty. At Crowe, we work with our stakeholders to embrace volatility and, in doing so, find ways to create value and positive results.
How does being a leading, goal-driven professional services firm change the way you go to market?
It not only guides how we go to market, it guides us in everything we do. As a member of Crowe’s Executive Committee, I see firsthand how our decisions, large and small, are weighed and evaluated against our company’s vision, purpose, values and strategy. Whether it’s targeting an acquisition target, evaluating a new benefit for our employees or even deploying our first national branding campaign, our purpose drives us and our values guide us.
How does economic volatility change the Crowe customer?
CEOs, CFOs, and business leaders have always had a lot of responsibility, but historically that responsibility has focused on the growth, sustainability, and longevity of the business itself. In recent years, that has changed dramatically – the world now expects business leaders to account for how their companies act as global citizens, deliver meaningful experiences to their employees and communities, and act with integrity – while keeping the business running smoothly. That’s a big ask and can be quite intimidating! But that’s what excites us at Crowe. We help our clients examine the VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) world we live in, navigate and find opportunities in these complex times.
How does it feel to be the challenger brand in the world of professional services?
There is a disconnect between how Crowe is perceived today and how we aspire to be perceived. To be a catalyst for value creation through volatility, we must think differently, act differently and invest differently. It’s a fun place to be as a CMO. It’s allowed me to hire smart, creative teams and agencies that don’t just sell us the same cookie-cutter approach, but look for powerful ways to break through the ocean of sameness. This allowed us to be thoughtful and provocative while staying true to our core values. Although we won’t outspend the competition, we can try to outsmart them with what we say, how we say it and where we say it – to differentiate ourselves in the market and leave a lasting impression.
How does this affect your expectations of your business partners such as advertising and media agencies?
We seek partners with deep functional/subject expertise and, most importantly, similar culture, purpose and values. They must not only excel at their craft, but be prepared to resist the usual and shake things up. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to partner with powerhouse agencies such as StrawberryFrog (strategy and creative) and VMLY&R (media planning and buying) to share Crowe’s story.
What has been your greatest achievement in the past 12 months?
Making the decision to join Crowe at a critical inflection point in its 80-year history. With our people, customers and communities at the center of everything we do and guided by a compass of purpose and values, it is personally and professionally rewarding to be part of a leadership team that is focused on our employees, our customers and our communities.
What are your expectations for 2023 and beyond?
Embrace a mindset that embraces volatility (sorry, couldn’t help myself) as we continue to build our brand and fuel our market growth for years to come! And yes, have a little fun along the way.