Char-Broil, LLC

How Char-Broil, LLC Uses Illustrations to Align Employees Around New Vision

The Context

Char-Broil, LLC has been America’s favorite grill brand since 1948. It’s also a revered workplace thanks to its incredibly transparent approach to employee communication. So when the company developed a new strategic plan to keep it sizzling for the next 75 years, it wanted to find a meaningful way to introduce it to employees.


The Challenge

The Char-Broil HR team was planning a series of large-group employee training sessions to introduce the company’s Building for the Future vision and plan.

“We needed a way to convey our message to employees, many of whom were not involved in the development of the new plan,” said Jacqueline Watley-Love, Senior Director of Human Resources at Char-Broil.

It was a big task. Employees needed to see and feel why the plan mattered and embrace their role in it.

“We wanted to create an experience that every person in the company could participate in–to fully understand what is changing and why,” said Thomas Penner, President and CEO at Char-Broil.

Char-Broil knew visualizing their story could make it more digestible and set out to find the right visual communication partner.


Working With Ink Factory

Char-Broil’s search for someone to turn their story into visuals returned multiple options, but only Ink Factory met their need: custom illustrations created in advance that would serve as a conversation guide during the training sessions.

Char-Broil shared initial design ideas with the Ink Factory team. We embraced their concept of rebuilding a home after a storm, visualizing each step in Char-Broil’s journey to build an even stronger brand. “The Ink Factory team was very accommodating and readily available to make changes,” said Jacqueline.


The Results

During the training sessions, a printed version of the Building for the Future illustration was placed on tables where small-group conversations were held. Similar to a gameboard, the illustration focused the group’s discussion and encouraged engagement.

“The team members were very engaged. They asked a lot of questions. The way we took them through the sessions was very powerful.”

Jacqueline Watley-Love, Char-Broil


In a post-event survey, participant responses were overwhelmingly positive. Many shared how the illustration made the training more interactive and entertaining than looking at slides.

“We intentionally created what we hoped would be an emotional experience. And it worked. We surveyed participants and the comments blew us away. People said things like, ‘I learned more in those 2 hours than I have in all of my years at Char-Broil.’”

Thomas Penner, President and CEO at Char-Broil


After the event, Char-Broil printed and hung the illustration in its Columbus, Ga., headquarters, providing a positive reminder of the brand’s journey and vision.


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