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This month, we launched an integrated Blaze Your Trail ad campaign around the world.

It's our mission at Salesforce to empower people to blaze their own trails. This campaign is going everywhere our trailblazers go: airports, TV ads, our World Tour and Dreamforce events, radio, and beyond.

As the images have spread, people have started asking us for the story. Why does the art nod to the U.S. National Parks? What does this Trailblazer theme truly mean to Salesforce? And how has this look and feel evolved over time?

I want to bring you behind the scenes to show you how this campaign came to life.

 

 

The Trailblazer Story: Who is a Trailblazer? And Why the U.S. National Parks?

 

One thing you’ll notice in every touchpoint of this campaign is the unique National Parks-meets-Salesforce look, with a Blaze Your Trail message. That trailblazer message is core to our mission. For more than 18 years, we’ve focused on one simple, important thing: customer success. Because we know that when our customers grow and prosper, we do, too.

To succeed, you can't follow. You have to lead. You need to be a trailblazer. So we want to empower everyone to blaze new trails in their own companies and to be their best. Everyone can be a trailblazer, whether they’re an admin or a CEO. Trailblazers are people who:

  • Grow their careers with Trailhead.

  • Transform their sales, service, and marketing.

  • Innovate with Salesforce.

  • Improve their communities.

  • Work to be their best selves.

And in keeping with that trailblazing theme, we embraced the U.S. National Parks system to help tell our brand’s story.

Our Chairman and CEO, Marc Benioff, has a National Park near his home in Hawaii. And he’s drawn many parallels between the allure of the National Parks and the Salesforce community.

For example, when the Salesforce Ohana gets together, it’s like a family reunion with everyone celebrating community, engagement, and customer success. It’s a fun adventure — part camping trip, part jamboree, part re-connection with the things that matter. That’s one reason we connect so closely with the spirit of U.S. National Parks, and the imagery of exploration: it’s all about the gathering.

Additionally, the park system's mission has always been to provide equal access for all people to our spectacular resources and to use these resources to educate and inspire. It's a mission that has been shared and emulated around the world. And it's a mission that we share at Salesforce: to help people blaze their own trails, be part of something greater, and enable them to change the trajectory of their lives.

So when we wanted to create a new, creative campaign to inspire our audience and tell some amazing customer stories, we knew these two themes — Trailblazers and National Parks — had to be the foundation.

 

Bringing the Story to Life

 

Anyone who attended Dreamforce last year might have noticed that our signage, event design, and in-person experiences were different from any other year. If you made it to the Trailhead area, you felt like you physically stepped into a forest. And all our presentations and keynotes featured new Salesforce characters (and plenty of mountains).

From there, we’ve continued to evolve the Trailblazer design. In fact, it’s something that our CEO himself has spent a lot of time developing and refining.

Marc felt so passionate about the potential for this campaign that he personally reached out to the award-winning advertising agency Citron Haligman. Kirk Citron and Matt Haligman have created campaigns for the world’s most compelling brands and figures.

Marc worked directly with Kirk and Matt to develop the ideas behind Blaze Your Trail and arrive at our eventual creative. Overall, the effort took ten months, with the team presenting nearly a dozen different campaign approaches before Marc felt they had “nailed it.”

And when it came to searching for illustrators, not just any artist was right for the job. We looked at some of the top illustrators around the world to make the Blaze Your Trail vision come to life, and Marc was drawn to one illustrator in particular: Paul Rogers. Paul has created meaningful images for United States Postage Stamps, logos, magazines, and even a children’s book with Bob Dylan. His style aligned perfectly with the goal for this campaign.

Along the way, it was clear that as our brand evolved, any new campaigns needed to focus on that one goal we’ve been focused on for 18 years: customer success.

So even though this campaign is the newest iteration of our brand, this is really an 18-year-old campaign. At the heart of all our marketing is the goal of making our customers successful.

We knew this new creative had to feature our customers, front and center. Once we discovered that, everything else fell into place.

Some say this campaign doesn’t look like an enterprise software company, to which we say: good! We’re a different type of organization, grounded in our core values of trust, innovation, growth and equality. We’re also firmly grounded in the success of our customers — and we have fun while we’re doing it.

You’ll see this campaign everywhere you interact with Salesforce over the coming months. For example, you’ll encounter it at our World Tours.

But no matter where you see this creative look unfold, it’ll have these four elements that make it unique:

  1. Fun. Whether it’s cupcakes floating in the sky or Mt. Rushmore featuring our mascots, you’ll find whimsy.

  2. Irreverence. We’re seeking to incorporate an almost magical-realism style of alternate reality and irreverence. For example, in the poster for Design Within Reach, living room furniture takes the place of traditional camping chairs.

  3. Journeys. This campaign always includes movement: a waterfall, people walking or hiking, and a goal of pursuing adventure.

  4. U.S. National Parks. Because the park system's mission is so closely aligned with ours, we want to inspire our customers with this distinctive imagery.

I’m inspired by all the trailblazers I get to work with every day as our Chief Marketing Officer at Salesforce, and I can’t wait to see the next chapter of innovation unfold from our community.

See the latest from this campaign — and meet the companies who are blazing new trails.