How a program tagline became the voice of an organization.
As the parent company of Philip Morris USA, U.S. Smokeless Tobacco, John Middleton and Chateau Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Altria is one of the largest tobacco corporations in the world. Altria is also one of the most highly regulated companies in the United States. Intimidating? No. As it turns out they are also one of the best companies we’ve ever had the opportunity to work with, and one of the most unique cultures we’ve ever experienced. Working with the FDA, Altria supports regulations and provides leadership in helping resolve issues related to the industry. In this capacity it is vital that the family of companies and their employees actions are above reproach. In 2011 Altria launched a refreshed Code of Conduct to all of its operating companies. A lot of companies might have stopped there – and compliance would remain a ‘check-the-box’ proposition. Altria wanted to set the bar higher. After our initial scope meeting it was clear that delivering compliance training with an integrated communications campaign would go beyond simple ethics and compliance awareness and had the potential to positively modify employee as well as organizational behaviors. Working closely with k-nekt and Altria’s Compliance department we helped launch the project with organizational and employee research into the company’s culture and Code of Conduct. Our data showed that employees were very emotionally connected to the company and its legacy, but were fearful of the new regulatory landscape. It was only through our investigation that we discovered that for any communications program to take root and grow it must to be in the voice of the people – Altria’s employees.
Founded in the company’s values all of our campaign collateral design was centered on this singular idea – a code of conduct, of the people, for the people, by the people. So, not only did we help launch a compliance training program for all of Altria’s companies, we also delivered a tagline which became the voice of the one of the world’s largest tobacco corporations.