Ken Garff Honored as Business Model in Pandemic, Wins Gold Addy

April 1st, 2021 by

SALT LAKE CITY (Mar. 31, 2021) – Cited as a model for businesses to emerge from a pandemic, Ken Garff Automotive Group has earned a gold ADDY award at American Advertising Federation of Utah for the best integrated campaign in Utah.

AAF-Utah hosts an annual competition that honors the best in advertising, marketing and brand building, and judges hundreds of entries from companies and organizations throughout the area.

“We are honored to receive a gold award for our yearlong campaign. It was instantly clear that the pandemic would bring challenges never faced before by Ken Garff Auto or by anyone anywhere in the communities where we do business,” said Matt Jensen, VP of marketing, Ken Garff Automotive Group. “We knew if we did it right, we could survive and help others in our communities.”

The campaign message for the entire organization of well over 4,000 employees was straightforward: “Treat people right. Repeat.” Images:

Garff implemented the integrated internal campaign with a focus on a different theme for each of the final three quarters in 2020: greatness, respect, and teamwork.

“We first identified what we could control: ourselves,” said Jensen. “Then we centered on rallying concepts that went beyond taglines. To make a difference, we had to own and live these principles. From that, each quarter, we focused on a theme that built on the previous one.”

With a five-part training video series, Garff partnered with American professional endurance athlete and adventurer Colin O’Brady to share experiences on greatness, a growth mindset and overcoming obstacles.

“Instinctively, we knew we had to be unified with courage to push forward and excel in ways we had not experienced,” he said. “Through his experiences, Colin shared powerful steps to grow out of our comfort zones.”

The tagline for the greatness theme was, “The best view comes after the hardest climb.”

“Tapping into your own greatness is key to activating a growth mindset, overcoming obstacles, and implementing the power of optimism,” Jensen said.

Top Garff leadership emphasized the Q3 theme of teamwork, sharing examples of how the company navigated through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Simply put, without a unified team, we knew we could never get through a pandemic,” he said. “Pulling together, we saw amazing things happen when a group of individuals, each with unique talents, came together under a common goal. Videos were produced and shared company-wide, highlighting the teamwork that had taken place throughout the pandemic.

“Our commonalities unite our purpose, and our differences make us stronger.”

To drive home the theme of respect, Garff employees saw posters with, “Each star makes the sky more brilliant.”

“Our Q4 brand training focused on the value of respect by treating people right,” Jensen said. “Respect requires continuous action, and we committed to be educated on what life is like for others we work with and engage with daily.”

Diversity was an ongoing theme where the company interviewed 50 employees from marginalized communities to learn what it’s like to work at Ken Garff.

“Perspective and understanding occur when we learn what it’s like to be someone else; it’s trying to learn what it’s like walking in someone else’s shoes,” he said. “Our differences are what make us stronger and help us solve issues.

“Celebrating our differences, as well as our common interests, helps unite and educate us. To understand other’s perspectives, to broaden our own, and to fully experience and educate ourselves is when the real magic happens.”

Employees watched videos of fellow associates and guest speakers to learn how we can grow in diversity.

“Because our founder, Ken Garff, believed business is about people, his first dealership in 1932 quickly became a thriving company that embodied his trademark work ethic and values. With lessons learned from the pandemic, we will continue that tradition to achieve higher levels of service.”

Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Garff Enterprises, parent company of Ken Garff Automotive Group, employs over 4,000 professionals across all of its locations, with 48 companies in the Garff Enterprises, Inc. corporate family.

AAF-Utah is Utah’s official advertising trade association, which works to advance the industry in Utah and recognize noteworthy ad campaigns and achievements. District ADDY winners are forwarded to the national level of the American Advertising Awards competition, which recognizes and reward the creative spirit of excellence in the art of advertising.


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