Workshops & Seminar Case Studies

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Toyota – Marketing Team Dynamics and Communication

Breaking Down Silos, Creating Collaboration and Working More Effectively with Marketing Providers


After over 50 years in Australia, Toyota has grown to be one of Australia’s leading automotive companies. In the 2014 calendar year, Toyota was the top selling brand for the twelfth year in a row with a market share of 18.2 per cent. With a marketing budget of $150M, the marketing team was responsible for an operation the size of a medium sized company.

The marketing team was structured along product lines with a marketing manager accountable for each product line such as 4WD and Commercial vehicles. Each marketing manager ran their marketing activities independently and sourced their own providers (advertising agencies, point of sale, online agencies etc.)

Case for Action

White Toyota 2020 4Runner Driving in DesertAdrian Weimers, Corporate Manager Marketing and a Toyota veteran of over 20 years, was accountable for a highly capable and successful team. However, he knew that their performance could be elevated if they shared their knowledge, looked for opportunities to collaborate and supported each other in dealing with the challenges each person faced.

One ongoing challenge that all the marketing managers faced was the communication between Toyota and their marketing providers, especially their advertising agencies. Confrontation over ideas and approaches was a regular occurrence that led to cost blow outs, frustration on both sides and potential breakdown in a critical relationship for Toyota’s success. This was also against a background of increasing competition that challenged their market share.

Adrian had been working with Joe Watkins, a partner at Hewsons for several years, and asked Joe to work with his team to cause a breakthrough in how they worked together and with the advertising agencies.

Engagement Coaching Workshop

img-3This workshop is designed to both develop the leadership skills of managers and improve team dynamics through introducing them to a common view and language of leadership that facilitates conversations that elevate performance.

The workshop consists of a two-day workshop and four, one hour coaching sessions for each participant. The first session of the coaching prepares the participant to get the most value from the workshop and discusses personal development objectives that are of sufficient importance to motivate them to participate effectively. The following three sessions follow the two-day workshop to support the participants in implementing the learnings from the workshop.

The purpose of the Toyota workshop was to provide the team with a foundation of simple but powerful concepts that would leave them engaged with operating responsibly and with integrity, sharing their knowledge and experience, communicating effectively with each other and their agencies and supporting each other in dealing with the challenges they faced day by day.

In this workshop, the individuals had an opportunity to raise their awareness of what drives their behaviour and the behaviour of others by:

  • Exploring how their view of the world impacts their ability to lead effectively.
  • Understanding the constraint their existing comfort zone imposes on their leadership and how to expand their comfort zone.
  • Gaining a deeper understanding of accountability, responsibility and integrity at a personal and team level.

"Joe has helped build an even more effective team with authentic communication between our internal departments and a number of our agencies."

Organisational Results

In a follow-up session with the team three months after the workshop and coaching, the team members reported that:

  • The team were reliably meeting once a month in an informal setting to just ‘hang out’ and get to know each other better. This created a safe environment where team members could ask each other for help and advice as well as use the depth of experience that was available in the team.
  • If any team member was showing signs of stress and frustration, other team members would drop into their office and have a chat to demonstrate that they were not alone in dealing with their problems.
  • Managers took responsibility for how they had contributed to any breakdown in their relationship with the advertising agencies and shared this with the account directors in the agencies. This led to the account directors also taking responsibility for how they had not been providing Toyota with a service that met Toyota’s needs.

Evaluation Scores

The percentages below represent the average of the 10 people who participated in the workshop in Sydney. The rating scale below was Excellent, Good, Neutral, Poor, Very Poor. 

Relevance of the Workshop to Your Job and Life
  • 100% of participants rated this as Excellent.

"This reduced lead times between briefing and final submissions, agency proposals hitting the mark with what we were looking for and a reduction in production costs for advertising by reducing the number of photo shoots that would normally need to be redone."

Facilitators Skills
  • 90% of participants rated this as Excellent and 10% of participants rated this as Good.
Participants were also asked to rate the workshop out of 10 for the value they received from the workshop, with 10 being the highest rating.
  • Overall average score was 7.9 out of 10.

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