A case study outlining the journey to building and maintaining a successful creative team that contributes to brand growth and demonstrates meaningful business impact.
Since 2017 I’ve been leading and building distributed design teams at KAR Global. KAR is a company name you may not recognize, but you would recognize all of its top customers. From dealer groups like Carmax and Carvana to the world’s most recognized automotive manufacturers like Ford and GM, KAR Global works with some of the world’s most influential automotive brands to buy and sell used vehicles online.
KAR Global grew very rapidly through acquisition in the previous 10 years before I joined. As a result of this growth, there were creative technologists, multi-disciplinary designers, developers, and copywriters on business unit teams all over the organization working in silohs. The teams had overlapping functions, request duplication, disjointed processes, and outdated or non-existent design systems.
KAR companies like ADESA and OPENLANE are some of the most established and trusted players in the automotive wholesale space. Because of this, the company’s B2B go-to-market strategy did not prioritize brand efforts, and in-house creative services operated as a production shop for the physical auto auctions instead of a strategic brand partner.
However, as scrappy digital automotive start-ups began to disrupt the wholesale space and win over customer market share, company leadership became motivated to invest in more meaningful brand strategy and creative support.
My directive when I joined the organization was to:
A creative team with clear roles, processes and organization-level brand systems that are sustainable and scalable as business needs change and grow. A team that supports each other, can work faster without unnecessary barriers and understands how their individual work contributes to department and company success.