Every business has ambitions to grow and to attract and convert new customers. But scaling has its challenges. Figuring out how to reach new buyers and understand what they want and need from you takes time. Using those personas to create content for every stage of the buyer journey is no small feat. Then there’s personalization, identifying and monitoring the metrics that matter and more…
Making the right technology investments can really ease the journey, as long as you choose products that will benefit rather than burden your teams. Plus, if you put systems and processes in place that promote collaboration between Marketing, Creative, Product and Sales you should certainly grease those demand generation wheels.
At Bynder we love to learn from the voices of experience so we invited Danielle Giroux, Creative Director at Clio for her take on managing a business as it scales. As an award-winning creative director, Danielle Giroux knows the importance of setting up the right processes and adhering to brand guidelines, while also being open to exploring new creative pathways.
We were delighted to be able to chat with Danielle as part of our Talking Tech series and get her valuable and illuminating insights on brand and digital marketing today. Read on to discover how Danielle and her team ensure their brand stands out from 7 billion Google searches.
How to manage a brand as it scales
Standing out from the crowd takes a lot of hard work, especially when the size of that crowd is increasing. But, as Danielle knows well, it is far from impossible. She tells us, “It's about having those guidelines in place so people in the business know how to use the brand as a launchpad but it is also being able to be flexible”. This means identifying new opportunities for evolving the brand’s personality and uncovering ways to optimize the tone and presence across every channel as the campaigns and knowledge of the customer mature.
What is the role of technology when scaling the brand?
Danielle acknowledges that brand management software and technology in general can only help grow the brand when it is introduced at the right pace and at the right time. “You don’t want it to become a burden,” she says. “We want to look at ways where we can remove inefficiencies so we can go to market faster”.
Scaling the brand means being agile and able to create and deliver campaigns quickly. A big part of this is being able to find assets easily so Clio and her team are using Bynder’s digital asset management system to help them scale their brand activities. Clio also uses project management software to coordinate workloads and responsibilities and to request, share and distribute assets efficiently. Less time spent on project admin means more time to devote to serving the customer and devising new tactics for growing the business.
What do you see as the role of the brand as you scale?
“The brand is the number one differentiator.” says Danielle, “If you look at what you buy in your personal life, such as choosing running shoes when you have an affinity to Adidas. We don’t even bother looking at other brands because we know our brand”. This kind of loyalty is the same as when you are buying from a business.
No matter what marketing activities you undertake, your aim isn’t for your lead to type in the keywords associated with your business, it is for them to search for your brand name.
Danielle and Clio know that branded search means you aren’t contending with the thousands of other companies out there that are providing the same services. “It’s not always about looking at the data and how your ads are performing. It’s not always about looking at the exact content that will meet your prospects' needs. It’s about making those emotional connections and your brand showing up organically across all these different channels.”
Creating and distributing content plays a vital role in this strategy. “Being able to deliver value to potential customers before they even know they need you. They’ll feel like they learned something from you, so when they are ready to buy you are at the top of their mind.”
How do you measure the success of your brand?
Aside from MQLs and SQLs Clio measures organic branded search and how many people come directly to Clio from Google. However, Danielle believes that brands shouldn’t limit themselves to these kinds of measurements. At Clio, they understand the importance of measuring these metrics but they also monitor the long-term growth of the brand through brand recognition and brand recall over time; bi-annually and annually for example. Buying decisions and the buyer journey can take a number of months, especially in B2B.
“When you look at when they are ready to buy you can measure and track all the touchpoints with the customer and really start to see the value in the brand.”
How do you ensure your brand turns up on different social media channels?
Creating a coherent and cohesive social media presence is a challenge. Too often brands wind up with a page that doesn’t join-up the branded content with the promotional content. This is usually a result of being too close to the sales funnel metrics. Danielle tells us it is about focusing on the behavioral aspects of the data such as the time of day that prospects convert and what they are likely to have gained from the specific platform at that time. The content should reflect their needs at that moment.
“Product promotions have their time and place, but how can we deliver them to make that emotional connection?”. Naturally, the approach needs to be adapted to suit the different platforms. The message for LinkedIn, for example, should have a more professional tone than the conversational messaging on Instagram. The important thing is to meet the customer when they are ready to make the buying decision, with the messaging that is most likely to make a connection.
How do you maintain a healthy relationship between Demand, Content and Creative?
Before Clio adopted Bynder, the team operated on a ‘request and execution’ relationship. The various departments now work collaboratively using Bynder’s templates which are completely customizable, help streamline production processes and enable different team members to self-serve.
This approach also allowed Content to experiment with different headlines or messaging which Demand can test to discover what type of language worked on a particular ad and audience.
”Making sure we had an understanding of what the different internal teams are trying to achieve, and enabling them to self-serve was something I held close and accountable as Creative Director. Bynder’s DAM solves that for us tenfold.”
Bynder’s solution also meant Clio’s team could work on templates across a range of platforms including Figma and Adobe, making collaboration even easier.
Which brand do you think provides the best customer experience?
Despite its monolithic size, Danielle believes that Amazon provides the best customer service. It may have 310m customers worldwide but it always keeps its customers at the heart of everything it does. The service levels are exceptional; one-hour deliveries, no questions asked returns and so forth. Naturally, Amazon doesn’t get everything right but they ensure the customer feels valued which naturally boosts long-term loyalty and retention.
How do you keep yourself informed and inspired?
Zendesk is another brand that inspires Danielle so she always seeks them out on social media for inspiration. “They scale across every touchpoint but still ensure that people engage with the brand.” Danielle also keeps up to date on industry trends by reading publications like Ad Week where she can get strategic and creative insights to share with her team. As a marketer, this means that you maintain an outward view and “see how other people are engaging with their customers across all the different touchpoints”.
What piece of work are you really proud of?
Danielle and her team wanted to convey the challenges for lawyers contending with their daily responsibilities and growing the business. They set out to create a piece of content that played with the idea of keeping afloat, that pushed creative boundaries while resonating with the target audience.
“In our most recent campaign, we made a whole law firm float in a pool with floating desks and people in suits treading water. I am really proud about how that insight came to life.” Clio was delighted that it connected emotionally with the target audience; “We had so many organic comments and so much organic reach; people saying this is exactly how it feels to work in a law firm.”
What would be your super-power as a marketer
Danielle’s superpower is one that most marketers would identify with - the ability to see into the future. This means she’d be able to “stay ahead of the competition and come up with the most groundbreaking ideas, based on what is actually going to happen.”
Where do you see the future of creative teams within organizations?
“When I first joined Clio, the Creative team lived under Product, almost in service to Marketing. Now we live and breathe within the Marketing team.”
In the future, Danielle predicts that Creative will become its own stand-alone department. To ensure that the customer has a consistent brand experience throughout the customer journey, Creative needs to be involved at every touchpoint, right from the first point of contact to the moment the contract is signed; throughout onboarding and managing the ongoing customer relationship. Every brand asset and every piece of content is part of the experience.
“This is so important as the company scales because you do tend to get people across the company interpreting the brand differently to serve their channels. You can manage this within a Marketing team if you can work cross-functionally but there is real value in being able to touch the whole organization with the brand and not just focus on marketing.”
Scaling your brand in 2023 and beyond
Whatever your marketing goals are for the future, we’re willing to bet they involve growth. Taking time to set up the foundations is well worth the effort and will provide a framework for your team to work from as your business and market evolve. As Danielle says, “You have to be able to continue to scale your processes to enable your teams”.
Think carefully about what is and isn’t working about your current strategy and tactics and identify ways you can introduce efficiencies and coordinate your activities more effectively. Challenge the way you perceive your brand and take a fresh look at your presence across all your marketing channels. Make sure your team is ready and you have a clear roadmap towards sustainable growth and you shouldn’t go far wrong.