#5QsForCMOs: Jo Ann Herold – CMO of Interface

In our #5QsForCMOs blog series, AgencySparks conducts short, informative interviews with CMOs and senior-level marketers to uncover insights about their brand, and to help us better understand their thought process as a marketing leader.

Interface, Inc. is the world's largest manufacturer of modular carpet, which it markets under the InterfaceFLOR and FLOR brands. Interface’s dedication to sustainability has evolved into the company’s Mission Zero commitment — their promise to eliminate any negative impact Interface has on the environment by 2020.

1. What career experience has best prepared you for your role at Interface? 

That's a great question, and I've had a lot of roles within marketing – working for big brands like Arby's, and smaller brands like HoneyBaked Ham. In doing so, I've learned so much about the importance of being able to execute marketing programs through others. We had to think through the marketing ideas and execution with tremendous rigor to ensure that any marketing program could be launched through a complicated supply chain and franchise system – and then delivered by front-line associates. In these situations, you learn that no detail is too small and communication is key.

I've owned my own consulting company and worked with a lot of B2B and global customers, and I've also been a marketing professor and had the opportunity to learn from so many. Interface is a company filled with purpose, and I believe that corporations have a higher calling and should be giving and generous. I was very intentional about going to work for Interface – I'd been following the company for 20 years. I love the company, its beautiful products, its people, and what the company stands for.

2. Given some of the challenges that Interface is facing today, what’s your number one marketing priority? 

The good news is that Interface has so many wonderful things to talk about. We are very focused on leadership in innovation, design, and sustainability with our global audience, and we work hard every day to maintain our leadership position in those areas. We share our "One Interface" voice with messages to design, inspire, and delight our global customer base. 

3. What areas of marketing for Interface do you feel strongly need to be in-house, and what areas do you think should/could be outsourced to an agency?

I believe business strategy is an internal competency and should always be maintained in house. That said, I love working with external agencies to bring those strategies to life through beautiful design, creative thinking, and execution. The best agency/client partnerships are when marketing and creative work together to design and produce amazing results.

4. What’s a quirky thing or funny story that not even your marketing team knows about you?

I've had some crazy jobs, and believe in not taking myself too seriously. My first job was at McDonald's when I was 16. I was the girl who gave the birthday parties (sometimes dressed up as the Hamburglar,) and sampled Chicken McNuggets at the drive-through window. I learned so many great things from my time at McDonald's.

I also worked as the PR Director for a Zoo after I graduated college, and we did all kinds of wacky marketing things. We even marketed "Zoo Doo" (use your imagination) and we made international news for it. And this was before the Internet! It was old-fashioned marketing that generated buzz. Obviously, I love humor and wit, and doing a good job, and I'm up for anything that will break through and WOW the customer.